A mystery adventure tale penned by a magistrate has attracted rave reviews from readers.
American-born Dana Garrett Nadeau drew inspiration from a life that has taken him to live on three continents and embraces an interest in both sci-fi and the supernatural.
His first book, “The Cloven Pine”, owes much to the influence of Mark Twain, particularly in Tom Sawyer, given a modern, readable twist for today’s market.
Mr Nadeau’s early life was spent in America and originally studied maths. A chance encounter introduced him to the world of literature and after graduating he taught English in Africa before moving to England to read for a Masters in English and American literature, and developed a love of Twain’s work.
An academic post in Switzerland was followed by a varied career in commerce in Lancashire and becoming a part-time lecturer of English literature at Lancaster University and radio presenter. He and his wife, Ann, live in Accrington and he is now a member of the Bench at Reedley Magistrates’ Family Court.
“The Cloven Pine” is the first of three stories told by a mixed race boy, Conrad James Hardy, living in 1960s Idaho with an eccentric family, and although the protagonist is a child, the page-turning book has adult themes. “Themes are about what make us laugh or cry, what we enjoy and what annoys us, what we live to achieve and often what we die for,” said Mr Nadeau.
The story takes the reader from the time Conrad turns 10 and discovers a long-buried secret before encountering a strange being whose life intertwines with his own over the next few years.
He is forced to grow up fast when his family attracts the derision of many neighbours, and as a young teenager suffers a terrible tragedy that leads him no option but to turn detective, because the community in which he lives is not anxious to help.
The author is currently working on the completion of “Vulture Soup”, a sequel set in Africa, while “One of our Aliens is Missing”, the proposed third book in the Conrad J Hardy series, is to be set in Lancashire, drawing more on his experience as a magistrate.
Independently published, it is on Amazon as a paperback and an ebook.