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Local authors continue to be inventive and prolific - and local subject matter continues to inspire - as this episode of Book Beat demonstrates. Following are recently published efforts ranging from novels and memoirs to naval histories, photo monographs, and metaphysical and spiritual studies.
It being the season - well, Halloween decorations have been for sale since June - it's probably a fine time to learn about "New England Ghosts" (Aurora Publications, 387 pages). Historian and paranormal investigator David J. Pitkin has assembled and researched 135 ghost stories indigenous to our part of the world - including photographs and a handy index of sites for those wishing to put together a spectral tour. You can, for example, seek out such things in Norwich, Preston, Haddam, Groton and Block Island.
"Scroll of Naska" (Create Space, 244 pages) is by Norwich's Martin Shapiro. The novel taking place in Biblical times imagines the full story of Joseph, the former slave chosen by God to save his people - as narrated by Joseph's friend Naska in scrolls unearthed during Desert Storm.
Norwich native Bill Diodato, a world-renowned fashion photographer, has a decidedly more serious side. "C/O Ward 81" (Golden Section Publishing, 64 pages, 46 color and black & white illustrations) is a monograph providing photographic resolution after the demise of the Oregon State Mental Asylum's Ward 81. The facility, opened in the late 19th century to provide help for women with psychiatric needs, was the setting for the film "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."
"The Last Hero Left" (Xlibris, 118 pages) is a novella out from Niantic's Trent Gerbers. A series of arsons are happening in a small town. The inexperienced criminals are caught and begin to commit suicide in their cells. When one of the fires kills the wife of a cop, a local fireman goes on the warpath - and the dynamic between personal heroism and a community's reaction comes into play.
"Wednesday's Cop - Streets of Woe" (iUniverse, 114 pages) is a memoir by Joesph B. Gerachi, a former police officer who lives in New London. The book is based on Gerachi's own diary and details a variety of police experiences through the prism of evolving court decisions and societal movements.
I feel horrible. I've had Chris Morey's novel "Right as Reign" (PublishAmerica, 198 pages) for a while now and somehow missed including it in previous Book Beats. Starting in the '50s and extending through the Vietnam War and into the '70s, "Reign" details complex relationships between four characters - resulting in an amped-up story of vengeance and murder. Morey lives in Groton.
"The Men: American Enlisted Submariners in World War II; Why They Joined, Why They Fought, and Why They Won" (Dog Ear Publishing, 196 pages) is by submarine veteran Stephen Jackson of East Lyme. Jackson, relying on his own experience and interviews he conducted with submariners from World War II, details why their duty was as statistically deadly, physically demanding, and emotionally challenging as any assignment in the war.
Old Lyme author I.A. Mallone's new book is called "Satan's Looming Identity Crisis! The Final War in the Age of Reason" (Dorrance, 180 pages) and explores the principle of life and the universe through a system that reveals illness, death and troubles are hypnotic illusions that can be overcome.
The late, great Robert B. Parker penned almost 70 novels. Groton's Bernie Boylan is catching up. Boylan, who writes for the sheer enjoyment of it, has penned more than 44 novels, most of which are efforts he Xeroxes and binds and gives to friends or family. He has self-published his latest, though, "The Clam Digger," and is in the process of self-publishing an older memoir, "Six Points to Remember: A Road to Life." Anyone interested in learning more about Boylan's work or securing copies can call him at (860) 908-0011.
Richard Harteis' latest collection of poems is out. It's called "The Revenant" (Little Red Tree Publishing, 112 pages) and contains reflections on life and loss through the friendship between the author, who lives in Uncasville, and his spaniel Daisy.
Uncasville writer Kenneth Passan, a former FBI fingerprint examiner and corrections officer, examines the nature of brutality and solving crimes in "Forensics and the Violent Criminal Mind" (PublishAmerica, 496 pages).
And, for kiddos, don't overlook "The Tale of a Mouse Named Xavier Strauss And Other Poem/Tales" (CreateSpace, 51 pages) by East Lyme writer Billie E. Lieberman with illustrations by Brian Narelle.