Rejoice for the Dead: Some Thoughts On My New Release

My latest novel Rejoice for the Dead is now available at Amazon and online retailers.

A little about this novel:

Synopsis:

A few months after Bobby O’Malley joins the army to pay for his college education, he learns that his father is dying. O’Malley returns home to see his father one last time and bury him. Afterward, he is forced to put off his mourning, so he can continue his new role as an infantry soldier. In 1985, during a decade of excess, that role means mostly falling in with the wrong people and drinking to dull the pain of loss. Along the way, O’Malley makes some friends, falls in love with a married woman, and learns a secret about his father that changes his life.

A review excerpt:

“…well-written, semi-autographical book by Richard J. O’Brien, Rejoice for the Dead leads you to places that a non-military person may not know or understand. The loneliness, depression, and less than ideal training conditions described are an interesting look into a soldier’s life…” Green Gables Book Reviews

About the book:

Rejoice for the Dead was born decades ago under a different title with an integral part missing. I was twenty-three years old, maybe twenty-four, when I wrote the draft that would eventually become lost (read: thrown out by someone). Despite whatever may have passed between the purging party and me, it was, in retrospect, the best thing that happened to that version since I was not removed long enough from the events that shaped it.

What’s a writer to do when a manuscript is lost? I don’t know about anyone else, but I rewrote much of it from memory. Rejoice for the Dead turned out to be semi-autobiographical. About the only similar traits I hold in common with the protagonist Bobby O’Malley are these: I had to join the army to pay for college, my father died about six months after I enlisted, and I actually worked at Joe’s News Shop in Runnemede, NJ. One of the regular customers Bobby meets in the novel is nicknamed The Countess Vampirella. She, like her real-life inspiration, regularly purchases Penthouse Letters and other assorted porn mags, which, in 1980s suburbia, was not something any other woman did while I worked at the shop. Read my book to find out more about The Countess Vampirella and other assorted characters…

As far as other similarities go with my protagonist, they no doubt exist, to be sure, much in the same Bukowski was forever linked to Henry Chinaski and Salinger Holden Caulfield. I wouldn’t go so far as to call Bobby my alter ego, but I am quite fond of him.

Where Bobby’s story is concerned, I struggled for years with whether or not a story that takes place in Camden County New Jersey was even worth telling. As I got older I learned through reading and writing that every place is just as peculiar, odd, and heartbreaking as the next. Every place can be just as rewarding too. A story shines not on its location but in its telling. But now I digress.

As I finished writing Rejoice for the Dead I realized that Bobby’s story had more to it. One book spawned a prequel and that prequel begat another. When I finished, It became apparent that rather than a trilogy I had written one large novel that cashed in for a total of 320,000 words…and it isn’t over. Look for The Last Days of Iggy Scanlon (my Fairview section of Camden novel that covers one fateful summer when Bobby was just out of the fourth grade) and Dark Accidents of Strange Identity (which tells of Bobby and his family’s move to the suburbs…extra karmic points if you tell me where the title of this one came from). Awhile back I signed a contract with Between the Lines Publishing to publish all three.

For me, writing semi-autobiographical fiction proved harder than anything I’ve done so far. It’s also been cathartic.

Rejoice for the Dead will be available for sale at Amazon on November 16 (other online retailers soon to follow). You can preorder today. I would be forever grateful. And my indie publisher would be too.

New Books to Come in 2021

Hello.

Yes, it’s been quite some time. The reason is because I’ve been hard at work on new fiction. But there’s good news.

I have a couple of books coming out soon.

One of the novels is a semi-autobiographical one entitled Rejoice for the Dead (Between the Lines Publishing, release date tba). Here’s a summary:

A few months after Bobby O’Malley joins the army to pay for his college education, he learns that his father is dying. O’Malley returns home to see his father one last time and bury him. Afterward, he is forced to put off his mourning, so he can continue his new role as an infantry soldier. In 1985, during a decade of excess, that role means mostly falling in with the wrong people and drinking to dull the pain of loss. Along the way, O’Malley makes some friends, falls in love with a married woman, and learns a secret about his father that changes his life.

Here’s a peek at the cover:

The other novel, The People’s Republic of New Arkaim (Red Grit Books*), is a sci-fi dramedy which will be released in mid-September. The details are as follows:

Fifty-four-year-old army veteran and heart attack survivor Cal Paladin believes his life cannot get any worse, especially ever since his wife left him to join a desert-dwelling cult. Enter the United States Army. Cal, despite his poor health, gets called back to active duty service, along with his old army cohorts, to take part in a secret expedition to a parallel world.

After things go horribly wrong, Cal and the remaining members of his unit are rescued by Russian commandos and taken to the city of New Arkaim, a Soviet colony established back in the 1950s. The inhabitants of the socialist colonial city possess no knowledge of the USSR’s collapse back on Earth decades ago. And Alexei Podrovsky, head of New Arkaim’s secret police, intends to keep it that way.

Before long, Cal falls in love with Sofia Dashkova, a cultural hero of the colonial city whose star power is on the wane. Alexei Podrovsky thinks Sofia has outlived her usefulness. He wants her dead. Cal devises a way to save Sofia and himself, but Sofia is about to unleash a scheme of her own, one that will change the lives of everyone in New Arkaim.

Here’s a peek at the cover of The People’s Republic of New Arkaim:

I’ll post more when dates are solid for both books. I’ll probably preview a little something I’m currently getting to ready to share, too. Stay tuned…

(*You won’t find Red Grit Books online just yet as its still in its infancy stages…More news on this to follow in the new year…)

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