The Simplest Explanation

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Word continues to spread about San Franciscan P.I. Manny Kant: his so-called Will to Truth compels him to mercilessly pursue his prey, to turn his relentless eye of reason on everything in his path.  But can reason really explain everything?

The first rule in Manny Kant’s dynamic case-closing operation is that all things, even the most bizarre of occurrences, has a simpler rational explanation, no matter how far outside of the law he has to go to find it.  However, a bank robbery—kept tightly under wraps by the bank’s management—has been committed by a thief who may be using supernatural forces to control his victims, who is known only as “the Hypnotist.”  Manny has committed himself to finding the Hypnotist before word gets out that the bank has been robbed, and before the Hypnotist strikes again, or—worse—disappears for good.

In tracking down this elusive thief, Manny Kant will be forced to confront the question of whether his rule is still a foolproof case-closer—or whether the simplest explanation is, sometimes, not enough…

Electronic:  Amazon

Print:  Coming soon!

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Kirkus: “If it’s possible to create a genre called ‘pulp philosophy,’ Montag…has done it.”

McDougal Cover“A young man reluctantly takes over his father’s mission against the embodiment of chaos.

“If it’s possible to create a genre called ‘pulp philosophy,’ Montag (The Dichotomy, 2015, etc.) has done it. The plot of the author’s latest novel hews to the conventions of pulp fiction, with tough-guy dialogue; bruising, exquisitely detailed fights; world-weary men beaten down by fate; and world-weary women worn down by loving them.”

Kirkus Reviews

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The Wind Cries Mary

You’ve got something to say. Never stop writing.

Within the Attic

We all stood in silence around her bed. She didn’t look real to me; her skin was a gray-ish yellow and leathery to the touch. Thick hollow tubes were taped to her mouth, and ran down her throat. The machines behind her bed were a collage of electrical lights — greens, reds, blues, and they all hummed from the electricity flowing through them. Her chest moved up and down with contractions shadowing some of the beeps that were inaudible to her. None of us looked at the other, at least right away. Our focus was on her and the moment we now found ourselves in.

I always knew my mother was going to die someday, but when I was seventeen and still in high school, and a mere six months after my youngest brother took his own life — was certainly shocking to say the least. But not unexpected. You…

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The Lives and Death of Alexander McDougal


Alec McDougal—named for his father, Alexander— has traveled thousands of miles to escape his father’s legacy. Even though Alec grew up under his father’s roof, Alec never really knew him. But when Alexander died, he left Alec a journal explaining why. Alec learns for the first time the great secret his father uncovered—magic—and the terrible secrets behind his father’s discovery: McDougal the elder had come face to face with an evil he couldn’t understand and which he didn’t know how to fight; and so he did questionable things, dark things, in the name of good. And, still, he failed. Now, the father’s burden has become the son’s.


Available Now!

Electronic: Amazon

Print: Amazon  Barnes and Noble


 

McDougal Cover

Alec,

My son.  Forgive me.

I wanted those to be the first words exchanged between us.  I have so much to be sorry for …I wanted to protect everything I held dear.  I tried lying.  I tried killing.  But I should have tried trusting.  I should have trusted you.  I should have trusted your mother.

There’s magic in this world, Alec.  And I’m not talking about some metaphorical garbage.  Leave the metaphors to the poets, Alec.  You and me, we’re not poets.  We’re fighters…

I’m trusting you now.  It’s the only way I can save you.  I’m saving you now by trusting you, by giving you the tools you need to save yourself.  To save this world. To avenge the lives the old man has stolen or ruined otherwise…

I’m defeated.  But you shall be my redemption.

Trust me.  And forgive me.

Forever your father, whose love for you is everlasting,

Alexander McDougal

McDougal Press Release – Copy


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Lon K. Montag Says: An Update, Plus Something for the Artist to Remember Now and Forever

I recently had occasion to re-read parts of John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction, and it reminded me that though the world moves ever onward, some things don’t change.  That’s especially so for the artist.  And that’s something to keep in mind as time continues its inexorable march forward.

John Gardner“To write with taste, in the highest sense, is to write with the assumption that one out of a hundred people who read one’s work may be dying, or have some loved one dying; to write so that no one commits suicide, no one despairs…so that people understand, sympathize, see the universality of pain, and feel strengthened, if not directly encouraged to live on…every writer should be aware that he might be read by the desperate, by the people who might be persuaded toward life or death…

“It does not mean…that writers should lie.  It means only that they should think, always, of what harm they might inadvertently do and not do it.  If there is good to be said, the writer should remember to say it.  If there is bad to be said, he should say it in a way that reflects the truth that, though we see the evil, we choose to continue among the living…The true artist chooses never to be a bad physician.  He gets his sense of worth and honor from his conviction that art is powerful–even bad art.”

John Gardner, The Art of Fiction

Though we lost Gardner before my time, his words ring through my mind with every word I write. (I’ve had occasion to write about Gardner’s fiction before–I’m hoping, this year, to write more on his philosophy of art, possibly as a sequel to a prior article I wrote a while back.)

And on that note, it’s time to reveal some details about my book McDougal; here’s the blurb:

McDougal CoverAlec,

My son.  Forgive me.

I wanted those to be the first words exchanged between us.  I have so much to be sorry for …I wanted to protect everything I held dear.  I tried lying.  I tried killing.  But I should have tried trusting.  I should have trusted you.  I should have trusted your mother.

There’s magic in this world, Alec.  And I’m not talking about some metaphorical garbage.  Leave the metaphors to the poets, Alec.  You and me, we’re not poets.  We’re fighters…

I’m trusting you now.  It’s the only way I can save you.  I’m saving you now by trusting you, by giving you the tools you need to save yourself.  To save this world. To avenge the lives the old man has stolen or ruined otherwise…

I’m defeated.  But you shall be my redemption.

Trust me.  And forgive me.

Forever your father, whose love for you is everlasting,

Alexander McDougal

Winter 2014

Stay tuned for more details about McDougal.  And Happy New Year.

— LKM

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