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Cover Graphic by Permission- c.2006 Kevin Venator,America'swonderlands.com

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THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE

 

It is a cold, ominous night when Jack Hall's car breaks down on a lonely stretch of I-70 in Kansas nicknamed the "Kansas Triangle," a short stretch where unexplained things happen much like in The Bermuda Triangle. Here in the middle of nowhere he meets Frank Hammond. Frank rescues Jack and back at Hammond Farm, at the woodstove, over hot coffee and at breakfast, through clever and humorous bantering, each reveals his own losses and how he was running with no destination or purpose, eventually coming to a stop on the same lonesome stretch of highway.

 Frank Hammond is interestingly strange, but not in a scary, threatening way. His wife , Meredith, had been everything a man could want: beautiful, charming, smart, and sexy. She lived for Frank, but Frank, obsessed with his work, always had one more project, one more deadline.  Meredith dies when a car set in motion by a toddler, rolls down the hill, jumps the curb, and shoots into Frank and Meredith's driveway. Meredith is at the rear of her car unloading groceries and is crushed.

Frank is distraught and only now with Meredith gone, recognizes all she had been. He struggles with work eventually selling everything and heading out on the highway. When Frank's car breaks down heading east on I-70, he is towed off the highway by Ray Hopper. Ray and his wife, getting along in years, are struggling with their small tow and repair business. Frank stays while Ray works on his car and with nowhere and no reason to go, stays on and eventually buys the old farm and the tow and repair business freeing Ray and Agnes to pack up and head for Arizona.

Jack Hall is heading west on I-70. With no destination in mind, it is nonetheless a trip well planned. A trip he and Shelly planned year after year, but never took, one of so many roads not taken. Everything waited, put off until another tomorrow. The arguments fed on themselves birthing new ones daily. It was the only thing ever birthed - even that was an argument. One day he quit trying and she turned one way, Jack the other. When another man came into the picture it didn't matter anymore. Jack let her go there was nothing holding him back.

Daily, Jack discovers that his middle of nowhere is very much the middle of somewhere. Characters, rich in charm and integrity, emerge to become   building blocks of the new normal that is to become Frank's life.

Two men, certain they need nothing and no one, catapulted into each other's lives, embrace the need they develop for each other. 

 

Reader Comments
 

The Middle of Nowhere is a heartwarming story with likable characters and believable situations. The author's descriptions and dialogue, along with reflections on life and a sense of community in the rural Western setting make for a very enjoyable read. In this day and age, it's refreshing to be a literary witness to the main character's caring and compassionate nature. It has mystery, drama, humor and a little romance. This book has a broad appeal to both men and women of all ages.

C. Breen

Ogunquit, Maine / North Andover, MA 
 
 
This book was an enjoyable read that gently led me through a world I was unfamiliar with on a couple of levels. Having never been to America's heartland, I found myself embarked on a trip through small towns surrounded by miles and miles of waving grains and filled with simple, hardworking and compassionate people. The other world I entered which was very foreign to me was the fascinating relationship between two men who were complete strangers and who became forever connected physically and emotionally as a result of circumstances beyond their control. Due to the author's way with words and his skillful descriptive style, I felt strongly connected to this charming rural community and these likable authentic, emotionally vulnerable and compassionate characters. This was a delightful journey well worth taking.  

 

Ginny from Maine 

 

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