In this riveting political conspiracy thriller, investigative blogger Matt Tremain is covering devastating riots in Toronto when he learns of a plot to rid the city of “undesirables.” The operation is called CleanSweep, and appears to be led by billionaire Charles Claussen, who want to sweep Toronto clean of all street people and any citizens who don’t match his restrictive screening matrix. With the help of a high-ranking government official, Claussen plans to incite riots and unrest, conning Torontonians into sacrificing privacy and civil liberties for illusionary security and safety. If Claussen gets his way, Toronto will be reduced to a repressive city-state. Matt questions whether he has the courage, skill, or influence to take on Claussen. The murder of one of his sources convinces the blogger to put his life on the line. To combat Claussen, Matt needs allies—but is anyone immune to Claussen’s toxic message? Matt gambles on the loyalty of a Toronto police detective and a local TV reporter. If his trust is misplaced, Matt will become yet another victim of CleanSweep, and the truth will be buried with him forever.
What do you look for in a character in your favorite book? Jason Bourne is a super hero that leaps from one crisis to the next with hardly a breath in between. Or do you like a character more like you and I, you know regular people? I placed my bet on Matt Tremain being the latter. Matt isn't a hero in the Jason Bourne sense of the word. No, he's a hero because he faces danger the way he faced bullies in school. Even if he was going to lose, he would go down swinging. I would be interested in knowing what you think. send me an email, email@example.com and let me know.
Thanks for stopping by today. One question I'm asked is where the idea for Matt Tremain came from. What's he like? When I went looking for the person who would be the protagonist in my Matt Tremain series, I wasn't looking for a super hero. As much as I admire my readers, I tend to think of them as more like me, someone who faces life's challenges with ordinary skills. It's exciting to read the reviews as both books are on tour until mid-September. All the reviewers like Matt, as do the readers who take the time to email me or comment on my website. I hope you enjoy The Cleansweep Conspiracy. If you are, you're in for an international journey with the sequel, The Cleansweep Counterstrike.
I sometimes wonder, who in their right mind would try and write a conspiracy thriller in today's chaotic news environment. How can a writer compete with special investigations, congressional hearings, and other conspiracies hinted at in the news? Read about the conspiracy Matt was about to face head-on. When you finish book one, the follow up thriller is waiting; The Cleansweep Counterstrike, available now.
How many novels and films have some basis in fact? Nothing like the CleanSweep Conspiracy ever happened, but we are bombarded almost daily with stories about government and corporate surveillance. We've happily given away our privacy on social media in exchange for cute cat and dog videos. Will something like the CleanSweep Conspiracy ever happen? I only offer it as a cautionary tale of freedom and privacy hanging in the balance.
The CleanSweep Conspiracy was a story four years in the making. The plot finally crystallized into an ominous, sinister and creepy story. A cautionary tale, reading today’s news. It’s a conspiracy page-turner, touching on lack of privacy, intrusive surveillance, with mysterious figures behind the scenes. What thriller fan does not want a story like that, eh? Some of the details have been lifted from the media reports on the 2010 World Economic Summit in Toronto. It made for an interesting what if. Unfortunately, as we will soon have 2017 in the rearview, there are some unnerving events that gives a conspiracy story even more interest.
A conspiracy is almost too easy to write about in 2017. People wearing tin-foil hats imagine conspiracies everywhere from Area 51 to FEMA trailers. Even relatively sane people sometimes wonder what mysterious forces are working behind the scrim. I chose Charles Claussen as my conspirator because he looked and sounded normal, a solid businessman. What we didn't realize, he was what might be called . . . a wolf in sheep's clothing.
Of all my characters who play minor roles, Mattie - the Dancing Lady - is by far my fav. She's the one who gives a name to the nameless. Matt Tremain meets her early in The CleanSweep Conspiracy. Riding the streetcar, he observes her dance-like movements as he passes, just another homeless person acting strange. Later, he discovers there's a lot more to Mattie's story. Her English "ain't" so good, but a whip-smart intelligence hides in her background. Meet Mattie, the Dancing Lady
In the middle of an interview about this novel I was asked if I believe in conspiracy theories. "If the answer is aliens from another planet held captive in Area 51, no. Do I believe in the rumor that FEMA has trailers stored around the country to create instant concentration camps, the answer is no. I do believe in the possibility of person of power to conspire to force their views on others." This excerpt gives you a glimpse of four suce men gathered to put their brand of conspiracy into action.
This excerpt depicts Matt talking about demagoguery, and the ugliness it exploits. Matt was attempting to explain to his friend that prejudice was alive and well. Rereading something that began as a first draft almost four years back, it’s shocking that I can write the same today in real time. Am I implying a vast conspiracy today? No! But, what about facts, truth, and civility. Television talk shows, exhibit one, evidence of opposing points of view degenerating into shouting. Letters to the editor? The first sentence often reveals opinion without fact and worse, ugly name-calling. Do we give in to despair? Matt, an ordinary man, confronted evil. Will we do the same? In memory of Dietrich Bonhoeffer who died in Flossenburg concentration camp Finally, the words of Martin Niemoller, “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Do we now live in a surveillance state? Are we experiencing an Orwellian Future? Matt Tremain, in The CleanSweep Conspiracy, wondered the same thing. Recently, someone repeated the old nothing to hide argument. "surveillance programs aren't a threat. If you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear.” But . . . what special about privacy? How much thought do you give to the ubiquitous cameras in the ceiling of your favorite shopping destination? How often do you succumb to the invitation to join a loyal shoppers club, willingly entering details into a data base somewhere in the clouds? So, what if the government is reading my emails, you might ask yourself? Matt Tremain and his friends faced the dangers of that information out of control. Sometimes the only way to confront the newest technology may be to go “old school.” In Oz, Dorothy, finally seeing behind the scrim, found a benevolent character at the end of her dream. I fear the characters behind the scrim today may be the beginning of a nightmare. What do you think?
Shameless alliteration, I know. Those aren’t words often associated with the setting for The CleanSweep Conspiracy I could never wish harm to the city, but my devious side led me to write a story where Toronto felt terror, trepidation, turmoil, and turbulence. Bombs explode. Rioting becomes commonplace, and something like martial law is implemented. It gets worse when a ruthless billionaire intends to shape a city to his viewpoint. In my story, ordinary people try to make things right again. Matt Tremain is a blogger wondering if anyone even notices. Carling is a career cop who avoids headlines. A reporter is well-respected, but facing a conspiracy? Those ordinary people finally decide to act, knowing consequence may be deadly. I don’t apologize for the destruction of Toronto. It’s only a story, right? This can’t happen in a city like Toronto. Indeed, no billionaires are plotting to erode our society in Toronto, Canada or the United States. Privacy? The next time you’re shopping look up for any dark glass camera pods. Confidentiality? The next time you do an online search. Smartphone? What about information our sim cards are transmitting? Government listening in? The CleanSweep Conspiracy is just a story. Nothing like that can ever happen. Sleep well, my friends.
Angela Vaughn never gave that question much thought, until now. A former police officer, she believed in the opinion that you don't have to worry about surveillance if you've never done anything wrong. Still, she did have a way of communicating that avoided the terms of her contract, "no unapproved communications devices."
Spotting bullies can be easy. They bluster slogans, talk over anyone disagreeing with them, are pushy...hard to ignore. I can't help but think about that, watch the daily campaign news. I cringe for civility as I look at the scab picked away, letting loose ideas spewing from the sewer of racism and hate. That may be alarming, but it's a wrong that we can see in front of us. In the CleanSweep Conspiracy, Charles Claussen is a character that embodies real evil. On the outside, he looks - well, perfect. He's successful, highly educated, good looking, and self-assured. Claussen hides his evil well. Looking at him, one might even open the door, and invite him in with the sweep of the hand. But what thriller novel doesn’t have an evil antagonist? And I’ve heard from other writers that dipping the pen into the ink of malevolent and wickedness is almost fun. How can that be? I’m nothing like the nasty and mean-spirited villains in my novels. Yet, there the words are, dredged from somewhere in my imagination. I hope you enjoy the evil in the story. It is, after all, just a story. It’s nothing like reality…is it?
I gave it 5 Stars! Jessica Cassidy says, “This book is so good. It got your heart pump from the very first chapter. It will astound and will keep you breathless until the very last chapter.” This is the opening that so intrigued Jessica.
Matt has to be my favorite character in The CleanSweep Conspiracy. After all, he was appointed "teller of the story." But a close second for favorite character is the dancing lady. She was Matt's favorite as well. Here's a short excerpt
"The CleanSweep Conspiracy was difficult to put down. This book grabbed my interest on the very first page. There was just the right level of mystery and suspense surrounding the characters and their motives." That made me think of Tanner. He plays a major role, someone who knows his part in the story may end badly. He is committed to a better life for his children, a life free of conspiracy and surveillance.
There's no such motel by that name in Toronto. My apologies to motels by that name in Sarajevo and Swanton, Vermont. I've never stayed at those establishments and assume they are nothing like the one in my imagination. My short stint as a night manager at a less than two star motel may have provided some influence. I hope I'm nothing like the night clerk at this particular motel
I adopted Toronto, and the city embraced me. I worked most of my professional career in TO. I remember riding the streetcar home, stepping off at my corner, and shopping at the corner green grocer. One of my pastimes was riding the subway, but I especially loved hopping on the trolleys. Sometimes with a destination in mind, sometimes just to ride and watch. I never stopped appreciating the incredible diversity. It was like having a passport to visit the world without having to leave Toronto. It's not surprising my character liked to ride the streetcars. I used to watch the many characters, to imagine a story about them. I now know it was a part of my journey to becoming an author. Was there a character like the dancing lady? Absolutely. Thirty-six years later I can still recall her. I hope you enjoy The CleanSweep Conspiracy. It’s a cautionary tale that, given today’s discourse in America, is rapidly turning out to be. Perhaps, not just a tale.
Was the character influenced by movie and TV stereotypes? It was tempting to write about Detective Carling as a hard drinking, rough, divorced (multiple times), cop. The character in my imagination had some of those qualities, but was far more nuanced. He's laconic by nature, not a result of years of cop speak. Best of all, he's a character who truly knows the difference between right and wrong, determined to stay on the right side.
Matt Tremain publishes Verité, a modest blog dedicated to writing about the truth and exposing scams. Currently, he’s following up on rumors concerning something called CleanSweep, a mysterious project in Toronto, Canada. Matt gets his break when a whistleblower connects CleanSweep to billionaire Charles Claussen. Claussen plans to rid Toronto of undesirables, beginning with street people and extending to any citizens who don’t match Claussen’s restrictive screening matrix. With the help of a high-ranking government official, Claussen plans to incite riots and violent unrest, conning Torontonians into sacrificing privacy and civil liberties for illusionary security and safety. Toronto will be reduced to a repressive city-state. The information overwhelms Matt, who doubts he has the courage, skill, or readership to take on CleanSweep. But the murder of his source convinces the blogger to take a stand—although he’s too late to prevent chaos from gripping Toronto’s streets. To get the word out, Matt’s going to need allies. He may have found some in a Toronto police detective and a local TV reporter pursuing the same story—presuming they aren’t allied with Claussen. If they are, Matt’s going to become yet another victim of CleanSweep, and the truth will be buried forever.
A deadly web of deceit and intrigue lies hidden behind the collapse of Operation CleanSweep. It’s time for revenge. Matt Tremain’s back in the sequel, facing an even deadlier threat. The investigative blogger is the primary target of revenge. Instrumental in exposing the evil and moral corruption behind Operation CleanSweep — a diabolical plan created by billionaire Charles Claussen — Tremain now faces the man’s craving for vengeance. His plan collapsing and faced with arrest, Claussen staged his suicide, eluding capture. Consumed with rage, Claussen intends to settle the score personally, luring Matt into a deadly trap. Claussen, on the run for three years, is close to exhausting his resources. A shadowy group of four, the Brotherhood, secretly financed a major part of Operation CleanSweep. They want the reason his plan to rid Toronto of undesirables collapsed. Instead, Carling is in hiding. Angry, the Brotherhood calls in their IOU, sending a team of operatives to capture him. Can he pull off a second escape, this time from the Brotherhood? If they catch him, he knows their retribution will not be pretty. There’s a saying, “when you embark on a journey of revenge, first dig two graves. Claussen ignores that advice and doubles down on revenge, risking it all to target Matt and his friends. For Claussen, a clock is ticking a deadly chime as the final confrontation nears, perhaps one of those graves is waiting?
I remember writing this part. I was having a hard time concentrating on my writing. Sometimes life just gets in the way. Still, I forced myself to sit in front of the computer and stare at a blank screen. Part of me said to head to a pub and have a drink instead of writing. I did the next best thing, I wrote about a bar. The rest of the chapter came easily and I was back on track with the story. I think I'll pour a glass of wine to celebrate.
This story puts Matt Tremain into harm's way once more. Both book one, The Cleansweep Conspiracy and this book featuring Matt are one tour with bloggers this month. This is what one review said. "The CleanSweep Counterstrike is one of those books that is difficult to put down right from the first page. Claussen tries to trap Matt and Carling so he can kill them but at the same time, Claussen is on the run from The Brotherhood. They are a group that he borrowed a lot of money from and when everything went south, he was sure they’d kill him since he couldn’t pay them back. I was on the edge of my seat throughout most of the book. I had to remind myself occasionally that I wanted Claussen to be caught when he was on the run. One of my favorite things about Chuck Waldron’s writing is his characters. Many of them are unique and add a lot to the story." I look forward to adding you as a new reader/
Did I imagine Matt Tremain as a hero when I developed his character? Hardly. He didn't fit into anyone's definition of a hero, unless that definition included an ordinary person rising to meet an extraordinary threat. I like reading about characters who have an everyman who readers can identify with, the kind of people we pass in the mall or on the streets. Yet, faced with the need to take a stand, that character rises to the occasion. Let me know if you agree with the readers who tell me they like his character and want to see more.
Detective Wallace, no-middle-initial, Carling turned out to be that friend in need. When I started writing the Matt Tremain series, I knew he needed a character like Carling for support. I wanted the detective to be what might be called "old school," but he was more complicated than first glance. After all, he even knew how to use a smartphone. In spite of his initial reservations when he was asked to investigate Matt Tremain in book one, The Cleansweep Conspiracy, Carling came to respect the courage Matt had. Surly, crusty, whatever the description, Carling was a friend indeed.
On my first visit to the town I saw a sign advertising AYCE. What did that mean, I wondered. This part of the story is set in the small town of Wewahitchka in Florida. The locals make it easy and just call it Wewa. Spending five winters nearby, I loved to explore the area, known for Tupelo Honey,one of the most prized honey varieties in America. What does AYCE mean? All you can eat. Why didn't I see that? Enjoy Matt Tremain's adventures in Wewa when you read The Cleansweep Counterstrike
Just back from four days in Havana, I thought about this part of the story and my villains stopover on the eastern tip of Cuba. In the next book in the series I really need to include more of that wonderful island and the people I've met there. Enjoy the excerpt.
Jonathan Swift said it was a bold man that first ate an oyster. In today's life, where many places that look like they've been made from the same pattern, Apalachicola stands out as unique. Oysters abound in nearby waters. There are many brave men, and women, eating oysters at raw bars in Apalach.
There are four ways to die, natural causes, accident. suicide or homicide Charles Claussen is out for revenge and has Matt Tremain in the crosshairs. Claussen clearly has homicide in mind.
I've always thought curiosity can be as addictive as crack. Isn't that why we slow down to look at an accident scene? Sometimes our nosiness can have consequences. In this young man's case, more than he expected. If only.
I thought about this opening to chapter 19 as I read a news report on facial recognition. I love conspiracy theories and stories...in fiction, that is. It was only natural to use conspiracy in my writing. But I have to ask, who in their right mind would try and write a conspiracy thriller today...and have to compete with the news. If you like this nibble from the Cleansweep Counterstrike, check out the entire story. Get your thrill on.
Get your thrill on. The Cleansweep Counterstrike is now on the market. In the previous story Matt led the charge to bring down Operation Cleansweep. The the man who organized the conspiracy is seriously mad, determined to get even. Now Matt and his friends are targets. Matt Tremain thought his life was in danger before. It just got worse.
Matt Tremain realized his personal safety limitations. He wasn't on friendly terms with guns, his protection was a laptop. Tap, tapping the truth was his way to expose corruption, misinformation and fog of political rhetoric. Sitting with his friend, police detective Carling, Matt secretly wished he too had a gun for protection . . . or, did he?
One of the treasures of a small town is discovering a place to eat that's not part of a chain. Then, finding out the food and drink is very good indeed. In this episode, Matt and Carling are about to find out about AYCA frog legs and shrimp. Enjoy
We've all had one of those mornings. You know, when the day just isn't going the way it should. Matt Tremain is about to have one of bad-to-worse days. It was bad-to-worse on steroids.
The echo of Operation Cleansweep from the CleanSweep Conspiracy is still heard in this sequel. Charles Claussen may have been able to embarrass the government into covering up his failed operation, he faces a much larger challenge in "The Brotherhood."
Sure, Matt Tremain is my main character. But sometimes those minor actors, the ones lurking on the edge of a story, can be special. I have no idea if I've ever met someone like "The Ghost" or read about someone line him. But he seemed to be in the right place at the right time for this story. Rereading that first paragraph, I can say that I've never been deep in a jungle, but I have stood on the icecap in Greenland and have a special place in my memory for Apalachicola -- Apalach, y'all.
Matt hoped life would return to normal after exposing a conspiracy. Still he was haunted by night terrors. With the mastermind - Charles Claussen - still in the wind, what if those nightmares came true? Take the plunge. Enjoy this sequel. Confucius had this to say about revenge. "Before embarking on a journey of revenge, first dig two graves."
I have a soft spot for minor characters in my writing, longing to give them a larger role than the story needs. That’s why I have a soft spot for Tommy, the Ghost. Trained in the art of reconnaissance, he walks through crowds, unnoticed. Tommy has some of the traits of a man I met while I was in the Army, a man who celebrated his 16th birthday serving as an infantryman on Guadalcanal. That’s a name from history’s dustbin. However, the present will never allow the past to catch up. Tommy still has skills leftover from his military training. Except he’s now an old man, invisible to younger people, the hustle of youth. Nobody takes note of the old man, thinking he’s a dinosaur. In this story, that’s strength. In real life the invisibility of age is poignant.
Four ways to die? 1) Natural causes: healthy choices 2) Accident: stay safe 3) Suicide: get help, it’s not too late 4) Homicide: bang, your dead Natural causes. Smart choices about diet, exercise, and avoiding things we know are harmful to our health is one way to put off death by natural causes as long as possible. Accidents. We can avoid an accident: careful using ladders, watch our step to prevent a fall and practice safe driving. Suicide. Detecting the signs of depression and other factors leading to suicide may save a life. If you’ve had thoughts of harming yourself, reach out to someone now. Charles Claussen chose homicide. With the promise of a big payday, his victim thought he’d won a lottery. Instead, Claussen committed homicide, staging it to look like a suicide. It worked. Or did it? Of course, there are more than four ways to die. War, earthquakes, tidal waves, tornadoes, and other disasters come to mind. But homicide, for Claussen, it was up close and impersonal. For him, it was a matter of expedience. He did regret what it did to his suit, though. He’s a mean one, he is.
When I first met Matt Tremain, he told me he'd been born in Chicago, and now lives in Toronto. He wasn't prepared for what he considered to be jungle, in fact a lonely site alongside the Apalachicola River in Florida's panhandle. He, like most of us wonder about those things we can't see, but fear they are lurking.
The setting is a tributary of the Apalachicola river, near Wewahitchka, Wewa to the locals. I spent several winters exploring the area around Wewa, Port St. Joe, and Apalachicola (Apalach, locally). I can personally vouch for some very large gator sightings. I've known Matt Tremain for almost ten years now. He's not so much brave, as stubborn. He's not a guy to back down. He doesn't take up Sid's invitation to swim with the gators. He won't back down when the time comes, however.
What part does the setting serve to play in a story? A lot, according to readers. The location of Wewahitchka, Florida—aka, Wewa—plays an important part. I'm betting few of my readers have ever been to Wewa, located in the Florida Panhandle, to the east of Panama City, it’s a place known for honey and fishing. Neither honey nor fishing are part of The CleanSweep Counterstrike, however. The setting was chosen for its access to the Apalachicola River. And what thriller writer wouldn’t rejoice at something called Dead Lake? Having spent winters in the area, Wewa and surrounding area were fun to explore, the people friendly even if they couldn’t understand why I didn’t like to fish. It would have been easy to describe Wewa as a caricature. A Nora Jones ballad playing in the background at a diner? I hope such touches avoided slipping into that trap. Surrounded by vast forests, it’s not like to make a tourist bucket list. Too bad, it’s a nice place to visit. It wasn't on Matt and Carling's bucket list. lured by a text message, they were almost drawn into a deadly trap. Wewa may be an interesting place for tourists and fishermen to visit, but my two friends didn't leave town with good memories.
For Charles Claussen, failure is not a word in his dictionary. He knows who to blame, Matt Tremain. Sitting in the Florida sun, his anger turns to white hot revenge.
Matt Tremain and I have been friends for over two years now. When he first started talking to me, I noticed he was quite shy. It took some time for him to warm up. When he unwrapped his reserve, I saw something underneath that shyness, determination. He told me he thought people smirked at his limp. It was something he was born with. What could he do? In fact, it was hardly noticeable, but it bothered him. He was a national, if not international, celebrity, the one behind exposing a malicious conspiracy. But he hated his celebrity status. On a day like this, he only wanted to enjoy his favorite blend. Then it started, the whispers, spreading around the coffee shop. Someone even pointing and saying, “that’s him, that’s Matt Tremain.” He told me how painful that was. But I encourage you to get to know Matt. He’s one tough hombre, and you will hardly notice his limp.
Working Title: The Assassination of E. Hemingway
This Book Is In Development
E. Hemingway is dead. On July 2, 196, it was reported that Nobel Prize winner Ernest Hemingway took his own life. In search of solitude, he had moved to Ketchum, Idaho. Hemingway had long been hounded by FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover, who tried to convince the US government that the writer was a threat to national security. The director was consumed with loathing, particularly with Hemingway’s relationship with Fidel Castro and secret financial support of the Cuban revolution. Was it as some speculated, that he was despondent over his inability to write, the brain of a literary giant destroyed by a lifetime of heavy drinking? One can only imagine him at two favorite bars in Havana, El Floridita and Dos Hermanos, both frequented by celebrities, Hemingway the center of attention. Perhaps he was a man constantly seeking action, fueled by an adrenaline rush of danger. What if, however, an obsessed Hoover was so preoccupied with rage, he arranged an assassination disguised as a suicide?
I think about Pasha as being part of the double helix, intertwined with Raymond Frederick, weaving around the life of E. Hemingway. What does a man born in a rural part of Russia have to do with another young man born in Iowa in the U.S.? There's is a story that has roots in the Russian revolution, ending with the death of E. Hemingway. As a student of history, I couldn't resist when the plot bunnies urged me to begin the story. Now, to find out how it ends.
I don't know if this will end up in the final version, but here's the first chapter of The Assassination of E. Hemingway. In my imagination I see a double helix, a dance--a tango--between the KGB and FBI, with two partners, Spain in the 1930's and Cuba in the 1950's. It may end up as a novel. I'm also considering serializing it on my blog. Stay tuned. A curious book, purchased in Holguin, Cuba, "The Mafia in Havana," may also influence the story. Stay tuned. While you wait, check out Matt Tremain's adventures in The Cleansweep Conspiracy and The Cleansweep Counterstrike. Good reading
I've always been suspicious of anyone with a spotless desk. People I know are messy, their desks a reflecting that trait. My character leans to the 'up tight' side. He will be faced with a choice. Follow the rules, or break them. Having J. Edgar Hoover as a boss presents another twist to the story.
Remington and the Mysterious Fedora is a quirky fantasy, a story about what happens when a young man sits at the keyboard of a manual typewriter and puts on an old fedora. When the fedora and its mysterious power begins to whisper a story to him, the young man has a strange adventure indeed.
If she escapes, she just may be the link between prehistory and history.
Blaze, the fire-starter, was an indispensable member of her clan. Living a nomadic life, they needed someone who knew the secret of starting and maintaining fire. It was the essential part of everyday life, providing warmth and heat for cooking. When Stargazer, was dying, he passed along the wisdom of navigating by the stars. It was a secret that just might save her life.
A lover is killed, a family is targeted in retaliation, and a bodyguard goes into hiding with a newborn. Served Cold spans decades and stretches from the quiet countryside of rural Ontario to a quiet artist's studio in Arizona, with lots of murder and mayhem in between. It's what happens when a long-standing feud erupts into hot-blooded vengeance.
There is a Sicilian saying that revenge is a dish best served cold, the inspiration for the title of Served Cold. I prefer the thoughts of Confucius on the matter. "Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves." From the Mennonite viewpoint, we must not inflict pain, harm, or sorrow upon any one...we must not harm any one, and, when we are smitten, rather turn the other cheek also, than take revenge or retaliate. Served Cold is a story about the urge for revenge, a tale twisting it's way between all three of the above.
Tears in the Dust is a mystery set against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War in 1937. When Alestair Ferguson volunteers to fight in the International Brigade he doesn't realize the true price he will have to pay. When he returns from Spain to Vermont, seeking healing, what he finds causes him to flee. No matter how far he goes, Alex cannot outrun his adversary, who pursues him through the years and countries, only to catch up with him in a stunning conclusion.
Men and women from all over the world made the journey to Spain in those days. They saw the evil of Fascism and were prepared to lay down their lives to fight it. This is the story of one man's journey and the outcome of that fateful decision on an early morning in February, 1937.
The Spanish civil war was like a giant gristmill of the gods, grinding slow and exceedingly fine. Volunteers from all over the globe joined in the fight against the fascists, while a bitter and deadly ideological battle split parties on the left. Amid the horror, two people found love. Alec and Marah were about to find out the dangers of keeping their love and lives intact.
Alec wanted to believe he could make a difference. If not, what was life's purpose? There was a single, critical point in his life where his journey would intersect with evil. What happened after might argue on the side of chance, or fate. Draw your conclusion as you read. Alec's journey takes him from Vermont, through Canada, the United States, to Spain and back.
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