Saturday, May 26, 2012

Evil Town by J. David Bethel

Evil Town

About the Book:

The wife of popular Florida Congressman (and prospective Senatorial candidate) Clegg Caffery is murdered. FBI Special Agent Matt Thurston begins an investigation that leads him from the Pentagon to the small town of Clewiston, Florida in search of a photographer responsible for the photo found in the murdered woman's hand. He arrives too late. The man has committed suicide. Although Thurston uncovers a strange and suspicious story about the dead photographer that he believes is worthy of continued investigation, he is abruptly steered away from the case by his superiors.

Angered by this turn of events, Thurston enlists the assistance of two reporters. With their involvement, he begins to peel away layers of lies and deceit hiding the truth about the murder. Along the way, Thurston slowly unravels a complex weave of story lines that includes a sex for hire plot involving the President's wife; an attempt by computer magnate Norman Bremen to subvert the workings of Congress to ensure the survival of his sugar interests in Florida; and the revelation of a cover-up of a war crime in Vietnam that threatens the Presidency.

Although Evil Town is a work of fiction, it is based on historical and current events. The Vietnam element of the plot delves into the massacre of Vietnamese villagers at Co Luy. This occurred on the same day as the My Lai killings and happened as described in the novel. The military and political cover-up of the incident detailed in Evil Town is an interpretation of actual events that relegated Co Luy to the back pages of history.

The description of the political maneuvering related to the restoration of the Everglades, and to the "sugar wars" in Florida, is a dramatization of the intrigue currently being played out by power brokers, the media and Congress on this issue.

While it should come as no surprise that the drug war can be managed and waged for political purposes – a subplot in Evil Town – it is the subtleties of international politics that often allow this to happen. The novel provides insight on how this is possible.

Through it all, Matt Thurston and his allies match wits with the most powerful in Washington putting themselves in harm's way. Truth, honor and justice are slippery concepts in this story of politics and fragile human relationships.

About the Author:

J. David Bethel is a writer of fiction and non-fiction. He has been published in popular consumer magazines and respected political journals. For a selection of his current e-publications. please visit, Amazon Kindle or Barnes & Noble Nook. He is the author of Evil Town, a novel of political intrigue that is receiving praise from a number of Washington opinion leaders:

Most novels about Washington frustrate those of us who live and work in the Capital City. Not so with David Bethel's novel. He knows Washington. He knows politics and the personalities. To anyone curious about what really happens behind the scenes in our nation's Capital, this is a MUST READ. Bethel brings us a beautifully written inside Washington page-turner. A true joy to read.
Michelle Laxalt
Contributor, Fox News, MSNBC, CNN
Former Director of Legislation, U.S. Agency for International Development
Former Senior Legislative Liaison Officer, U.S. Department of State

Having worked on Capitol Hill and in the Executive Branch, this book rings very true. This book provides a gripping insider's take and should be on the must read list for anyone who wants to understand the real Washington.
W. Bruce Weinrod
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense
Former Legislative Director, Office of U.S. Senator John Heinz 

Guest Blog by J. David Bethel

Keith Richards, the mumbling singer/songwriter/guitarist with the Rolling Stones, who along with Mick Jagger, has written some of the most memorable music in rock and roll history, once said he begins with a “riff” – or refrain – and builds his songs around a simple riff.  Anyone who has ever heard “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”, no doubt understands what he means.

That’s how I write.

I never approach the computer intending to write a novel.  I have a “riff,” or slip of a story in mind, and I spill that onto the page.  In the case of Evil Town, for years I had this image in my mind of a congressman coming home to find his wife dead.  Murdered.  I don’t know why this haunted me, or where it came from, other than I had worked on Capitol Hill among 535 members of congress. It must have just occurred to me one day that all hell would break loose if the wife of one of the members was killed.  There was no other reason for this bud of a story to be itching to be told.

After I had about three or four pages of the story, I went to motive for the murder because that was the most logical path to follow.  From there, the characters took shape and the story – to be really trite – “told itself.”

From the story as a riff, I go to the novel as “method writing.”  From what little I know of acting, I’m given to understand that method actors create their portrayals by getting inside the head of their characters.

Once there is a rhyme and reason for the story, I use the way the actions play on my characters to take me from one page to the next.  I essentially get into each character’s head and create the events of the story by following their reactions. Method writing. 

I close myself in a dark room, away from any stimulation, and channel the various characters in my novel.  My wife tells me that I “zone out” and stay that way for hours after I’ve shut down for the day and emerge from my cage.

And there you have it.  How this writer gets from the first to the last word in a novel.  Start with a riff, go into “zone out” mode and let it flow.      

Check back for my review and a give away!

Evil Town can be purchased on Amazon:

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1 comment:

  1. great job! Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop Big Hugs xo


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