Sunday, July 5, 2009

Paper Puzzle: A Novel Synopsis

By: Harold Michael Harvey

Newspaper editor Clay Moore, a bachelor, lives in an upscale golf and tennis community. He cannot afford such luxury on his salary as a newspaperman. The gated community is protected in the medieval sense by a modern day moat and drawbridge nestled in the middle of Georgia.

He is plagued by recurring nightmares where he's stalked by a sniper. Clay wakes up most mornings in a bed surrounded by faded newspaper clippings that mysteriously appear during the night. Clay is befuddled when the news clippings point him back to the biggest news story of his career.

Clay walks into the Macon Tribune & Journal newsroom fresh from College in 1974. He has no idea he holds the key to unraveling the circumstances behind a moonshiner found frozen to death in 1946. The moonshiner, a returning veteran from World War II, ran a successful trade in untaxed whiskey which threatens similar businesses operated by the sheriffs in three adjoining counties.

According to the sheriffs, the moonshiner's death was caused by a bad batch of his own brew. This account of the moonshiner's death goes undisturbed until the red haired stranger appears in 1975 leaving a farmer and his wife dead in his wake. Through some fancy footwork the sheriffs and their financial backers are able to draw the darts away from the moonshiner's death.

While learning the ropes of the newspaper business Clay covers the case of the Red Haired Stranger. The case was abruptly closed after 30 torrid days of news coverage. Clay tucked his notes away thinking that there was more to the story than what appeared at first blush.

A decade later, Clay is the managing editor at the MTJ, living in River North and is finding news clipping from the 1975 double murder in his bed each morning. His security is compromised.

Clay searches for answers.

When the Florida lawyer who represented the red haired stranger in the Georgia court proceedings is appointed to the bench in Florida, he needs to clear a Bar Disciplinary matter from his file. He asks the Court to unseal the records of the 1975 case. The federal courthouse in middle Georgia is frantic.

While interpreting his dreams and making a cork board puzzle of the newspaper clippings, a young Atlanta socialite is murdered gangland style in Atlanta. The young socialite and her husband, a liquor distributor, were the first to live in Clay's house.

Realizing he is in deep danger when he is arrested and ordered to turn over his notes of the red headed stranger's case, Clay turns to someone he has not spoken to in years. He turns to the black editor of a local paper.

Clay's white heritage and the social mores of the time have kept them from professional or personal associations, but now that must change. Against harsh social pressure, both men work together to save Clay's career and to solve the mysterious paper puzzle lying in Clay's bed.

(c) July 5, 2009


TenFeet2Hands said...

Interesting story, it is definitely 'out of the South' in story and style. I think most will search for the romantic twist and not so much the legal jargon. Law based stories are sellers yet, every human looks for what makes us human in a story--that means some inclusion of a relationship, steamy and personal or tense on the job affairs.

I would like to know more before I commit to any positives.

Harold Michael Harvey said...

TenFeet2Hands,I am a southern writer and proud of it. That puts be in the same class as William Faulkner, Robert Penn Warren, Mark Twain, Egar Allan Poe, Frederick Douglass, Williams Wells Brown, Sidney Lanier, Margaret Mitchell, Zora Neale Hurston, Eudora Welty, Flannery O'Connor, Harper Lee, Nicholas Sparks, Barbara Kingsolver, Tom Robbins, Tom Wolf, Pat Conroy, John Grisham Erskine Caldwell, Ralph Ellison and my high school classmate Tina McElroy Anser. I write from my experience, which is a southern experience. Thus the style of this epic story can only be southern. As "Papa" (Ernest Hemingway) once said, "every good work of fiction has its origins in Mark Twain's "Adventures of Huckaberry Finn."

This tale will captivate the attention of sundry readers for many different reasons. It has a strong story line and ends with a swift right cross.

It is not a law based story, but is a tale told through the eyes of a journalist.

You will have to wait until publication of "Paper Puzzle" to know more. When it is released I am sure it will stand the test of time and comments, both the negatives and the positives.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing, I am very excited to find out more about your book and I like the name I read the comment and I think that yes some will look for the girl or guy in the story. Just thinking about the name of the book tells me there is more depth than that. Please let me know when it is released I would like to be one of the first to buy it.

Deborah Funches

Richard said...


Harold Michael Harvey said...

Deborah Funches, thanks for your observations. It will be my pleasure to have in as one of the first to purchase "Paper Puzzle."

Harold Michael Harvey said...

Richard, thanks for the kind word on my work.

georgiapeach said...

Your synopsis is interesting. Being from Georgia, I remember the storylines even though the names have changed. I want to find out more.

Harold Michael Harvey said...

Georgiapeach,I'm glad you find the synopsis interesting. You want believe the twists and turns this tale will take before its conclusion. More to come with the publication of "Paper Puzzle" in the Fall.

Anonymous said...

Your work is similar to Grisham, but reads like Patterson. I love the mix, especially coming from an African American....

Brad Bechlher
When Will the Sky Fall?

Anonymous said...

due to the content-driven nostalgic nature of your writing. Again, I was blown away at your synopsis.

Brad Bechler
"When Will the Sky Fall?"

jacqueline said...

Great! I love the southern style since I'm from the South. Very interesting. I'd love to know more about the storyline which forces him to work with the editor of the local newspaper.

Paper Puzzle