My latest novel is equal parts coming of age story and mystery. It is fraught with controversies — some earned and others the product of gossip — and its main characters are not immune to any of it. In fact, the lynch pin that holds the entire book together is the frailty of everyone who inhabits it. With that being said, though, it is a quiet strength that keeps things from falling off the rails in the end.
Welcome to Arcadia, gateway to the Midwest, the “Town that God Forgot,”or if he didn’t forget it then perhaps Santa Claus did on his way back from the North Pole. Whatever the excuse, the town is bereft of both a true heritage and a viable future. As for its present, well, that’s up in the air too, dependent as it is on a shaky infrastructure and poor management of town funds.
Life is a boring experience for nine-year old Jeremy Renton, a stranger in his own house, so he’s learned to head into the far reaches of his family farm, where excitement waits in the form of his bountiful imagination. But something happens out on that land that imagination can’t control, that shapes his life, and the town’s very nature, in ways that he never could have fathomed. In the course of a year things change immeasurably, causing Jeremy to doubt everything he’s ever known, as summer turns to fall, and winter looms on the horizon.
For Kimberly Jones, her entire life has been an exercise in futility. Her father is the town big shot, but his reign hasn’t extended to her, and she’s struggling to make ends meet on a teacher’s salary in a small town. When a juicy piece of gossip shakes Arcadia, though, she can’t help but get swept up in it, and in its possible implications. As she begins to put the pieces together, with a help of a few others, a picture begins to form that leads her in directions she hoped she would never go.
With this small town backdrop, where everyone knows everyone else, and where all secrets come out in the end, Leaves in Fall comes alive, keeping you on edge throughout in a race to know everything before the thrilling conclusion.