When my magical realism novel Garden of Heaven: an Odyssey (Vanilla Heart, 2010) began going through the editing process prior to publication, I started a separate web site for the book. I appreciate all of you who stopped by that site to learn more about protagonist David Ward and his attempts to sort out who betrayed him and why.
Now you can find the book along with my other three novels on my primary author’s site at malcolmrcampbell.com. The story begins in the high country of Montana and sweeps through Chicago, north Florida and the South China Sea before reaching its unexpected conclusion on a small college campus in central Illinois.
I had the luxury of seeing my location settings first hand. I grew up in north Florida, served aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ranger (which made stops at at the former Subic Bay Naval Base, Republic of the Philippines), worked as a seasonal employee in Montana’s Glacier National Park, and had family in central Illinois.
Excerpt from the Novel – Sailor Town Liberty
Night was settling down over the hazy first lights of the bars and hourly rate hotels along Magsaysay Drive and the razor-sharp edges of Kalaklan Ridge like an old whore.
David dropped several 25-centavo coins over the railing, heard an explosion of whitewater, heard the laughter and the shouting, ‘Salamat, Joe, Salamat.’
He crossed Perimeter Road, ignored the hopeful greetings of the money changers behind their well-caged windows, then dodged a badly mixed throng of sailors, girls and honking multi-coloured jeepneys that swelled out into the Gordon Avenue intersection. He cut across the street, smiling, waving at imagined friends in the distance, and moved with the deliberate intent of a man who had crossed this street hundreds of times.
Casual alertness, that’s the key to surviving Olongapo’s jungle of thieves, gangs, girls, high-strung Marines, bored Shore Patrol and Hard Hats, and drunk boatswain’s mates and snipes, Lowell had said.
“Hey Joe, cold beer cold beer cold beer, nice girls.”