Karl Myers

When one is a gentleman writer (analogous to a gentleman farmer) as am I, one has the luxury of freedom to do what one wants with hundreds of thousands of written words just for the sheer joy of doing it. Karl Myers, the novel that begins the Myers/Benton Chronicles and is the prequel to Pinctada, is a product of that joy.

Click on the link to purchase Karl Myers in either a Kindle or a trade paperback format.

SYNOPSIS

Karl Myers is a 200,000 word novel set in 1955 in Lewes on the Delaware Bay and in Port Townsend on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. There is a distinct sense of time in Karl Myers in which the 1950s come to life in a profound way.

When the novel begins, Lewes police chief and former Marine, Karl Myers, is one of four principal characters, each of whom hurtle headlong toward personal demolition. The others are Jerry and Vivian Peterman and their 12-year-old son, Greg. Myers’ wife, Laura, had left him without a trace before The War, and the life Myers has endured since then has been lived in the strange world of uniforms where a man, closely surrounded by hundreds of other souls, can find himself sucked into an unyielding vortex of loneliness that threatens to drown his soul.

Jerry’s abuse of Greg and Vivian, and Vivian’s rationalizations for accepting it, have created a dysfunctional family that is on the brink of collapse when Greg’s best friend, Moses, is brutally murdered. Greg, along with the reader, knows what has happened, but because Greg is fearful of his father’s certain retribution for Greg’s involvement, the son hides the truth from his father and from Myers, who fails to solve the mystery, which provides the killer with an opportunity to kill again.

Complicating Myers’ challenges are the attitudes of many White residents in Sussex County toward their Black neighbors like Moses’ African American mother, attitudes that reflect the Confederacy’s enduring White Supremacist beliefs in and around Lewes, a place where schools and many public venues—including hotel accommodations and beaches—are still segregated in 1955.

In 1955, another war continues to impact the people of Lewes and the Nation. The crucible of World War II forged a generation of heroes who understood manhood as a stoic duty that demanded complete intolerance of weakness. Many veterans returned from battle believing their sons would benefit from the same demanding discipline that they had followed.

Unyielding expectations communicated through clenched teeth or china-rattling shouts, often reinforced with untempered smacks from calloused hands, or worse, a father’s disdain applied to the soft underbelly of a child’s’ ego, spawned a cadre of boys in the 1950s who craved the approval of their fathers while being simultaneously terrified of them.

The first half of Karl Myers is a police drama that is less about “who done it” than it is about exploring the trauma of individuals living in a world still reeling from the fallout of World War II, in an American town that has yet to resolve the fallout of the Civil War. Karl Myers, embroiled in personal and professional turmoil, decides to leave Lewes. The second half of Karl Myers deals with Myers’ trek west in search of his wife, who was last reported to be living in Port Townsend.

During the trip west, Myers captures a prison escapee named Mato-sa, and fate reunites Myers with Reginald Rhodes. In 1943, when Myers was a Marine DI, he was selected to train the first African Americans recruited into the Marines in World War II. Rhodes, a Howard University graduate, had been in Myers’ first platoon, and five years later they served together in Korea. Rhodes joins Myers on the trek to PT, and in the days that follow, the two Marine brothers begin to grow roots in their new town.

Myers discovers the US Marshal’s Service has placed Mato-sa in a witness protection situation in PT, and Myers ends up investigating murders that have connections to Mato-Sa, Laura, and to Mirabelle Charles, a Native American woman with whom Rhodes falls in love.

Myers’ greatest personal challenges involve reconciling his enduring love for Laura with her bigamy—she had not heard from Myers (through no fault of his own) for 15 years when she married a wealthy Seattle Surgeon despite knowing that her marriage to Myers had not ended—and in dealing with his discovery that he and Laura have a seventeen-year-old son: Bill Benton.

BLOGGER’S NOTES:

Click on the link to purchase Karl Myers in either a Kindle or a trade paperback format.

The featured image is the cover of Karl Myers. The image of the fictional Karl Myers is a copyright free image from Pixabay. All other images are the property of the author.