Sunday, February 16, 2014

A ship captain's sorrow, a sister's threatened future

Novel recounts Key West at its grimy, passionate best
For those of you who read my blog regularly, you know that no subject is beyond my attempts at analysis: UFOs and nuclear weapons; the modern-day hunt for brontosaurs in the Congo; the notorious ride of the first monkey in space, and other unique topics.
This week I want to pass on this review of my first novel--please buy it and read it. I am certain you'll read every word.
From a Key West newspaper: 
"Maddie's Gone," John Guerra's novel that spans generations of Key West history, is now available in paperback.
The novel, which scores a 4.5 out of 5 on Amazon's reader review scale, is rich in detail and characters that include a heroin junkie, a serial killer, and an old fisherman with regrets.
The main tale--the story of a dog's desperate ordeal--wraps around short stories in which the dog, Maddie also appears during her adventure. It all ties together for an ending readers never expect.
In one story, "Dying Declaration," an old man describes the day in 1962 when two men came to stay in his mother's guest house on Whitehead Street. He was just a boy when the men stood at their third-story window watching JFK drive by in a motorcade to the Truman White House. A year later, the men would kill the president from another window in Dallas.
In "Honor Student," a Key West High School senior worries that her boyfriend is trying to sleep with her 14-year-old sister. She decides to handle it Conch-style, which draws hard questions from a homicide detective.
In perhaps the most surprising stories, "Manny's Story," an old shrimp boat captain tells a young man with marital troubles a story to help him see the light. As the young man listens, Manny tells him of how his wife lost her life aboard their shrimp boat during a storm. And she wasn't just washed overboard, either.
Readers have enjoyed the plot and the characters in the novel. Here are some reviews:

--"This is a book that grabs from the start and takes the reader in an ever-expanding vista of Key West at its grimy and passionate best," wrote Daniel Strong.
--"As a Keys-a-phobe, I loved the embedded stories rich with believable characters. I also came to love Maddie. I hope to see more from this author."
--"Knowing Key West, it was great to see it through the dog's eye. Her encounters with so many different 'characters' was just like what we as humans see there. Great storyline."
--"The Key West newspaperman delivers a great first novel built around the tale of a missing Jack Russell terrier. I loved the scenes in the lives of Cuban families ... "

"Maddie's Gone" is available in paperback from,, and as an ebook from

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