King of the Hobos
Novel - Mainstream Suspense
Nightbird Publishing 2012
Hardcover /w dust jacket, 298 pages
The Story . . .
America has plunged into a second Great Depression. The unemployment rate hovers near 40%. Hundreds of thousands are homeless, roaming the country in search of food and work and two pennies to rub together. Just as with the original Depression of 1929, people hop freight trains to get from one location to another. Hobo camps have sprung up everywhere. The American landscape is dangerous and teeming with violent predators. Only the strongest and most fearless survive in this Mad Max milieu where everything, including human life, is up for grabs.
Masquerading as a hobo, Derek Parnell—newly wealthy thanks to an anonymous benefactor—rides the rails through the vast Southwest, searching for the killers of his wife and daughter. He's also looking for his mysterious financier—a man known to him only as Croesus—and the reasons behind his inexplicable financial gift. Parnell's journey takes him and his love, Elaine, from Flagstaff to Sedona, where they meet with a gypsy fortuneteller. Madame Crystal instructs them to go to Colorado and the Mesa Verde Ancestral Pueblo cliff dwellings to meet with an operative who goes by the code name Thor. Thor suggests to Parnell that his daughter is still alive. Further clues lead Parnell and Elaine to a connected high roller in Las Vegas and a fringe anti-government paramilitary group, The Liberty Dogs, in the remote wilderness of the Rocky Mountains.
Within the hobo community, Derek Parnell is known as “King Midas,” the legend with the golden touch, a man most generous with his money. But to his enemies Parnell is “The Man with Tombstone Eyes,” a ruthless vigilante. Judge, jury, and executioner. Parnell's mindset? “Karma determines who lives or dies, and sometimes karma has to be helped along a little.”
On his search for elusive truths, Derek Parnell leaves a path of death and destruction in his wake. And what he discovers along the way is startling and life-changing.
Cover art by Ira Dennis & Cheryl Dennis
Heywood Gould, N.Y. Times bestselling author of Fort Apache the Bronx, Cocktail, and The Serial Killer's Daughter
“A millionaire superhero. Derek Parnell can outfight you and out-think you. He's equally at home in a boardroom or a hobo camp. And he's on our side! A fun read about a fantasy crusader in a very real world. Great character for a series: a millionaire riding the rails, paying cash to stay anonymous, spouting libertarian ideals and hunting criminals . . . it's a great hook.”
Jack Massa, fantasy author of the Abby Renshaw Supernatural Mysteries, the Glimnodd Cycle, and the Conjurer of Rhodes book series.
“Excellent dystopian thriller set in a post-economic-collapse United States. Masterfully researched and plotted. Leavened with vivid detail, violent action, and dashes of political philosophy. Skillfully developed characters, including a memorable protagonist who is complex, wounded, but ultimately sympathetic. Exceptionally good writing.”