Trio of Lost Souls ($13.95, 242 pp, 6×9 Trade Paperback ISBN: 978-1-60381-188-0), by Jack Remick, is a work of literary/noir fiction about a journalist turned outlaw who helps a Central Valley farmer stage a risky political campaign against a corrupt incumbent.
Trio of Lost Souls is Book Four of The California Quartet, a series of standalone novels about young men coming of age and bucking the establishment in California during the ’60s and ’70s. The other books in the series are The Deification, Valley Boy, and The Book of Changes.
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Remick’s novel, Gabriela and the Widow, was a finalist for the Montaigne Medal and a finalist for ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Award.
“Trio of Lost Souls, a masterwork of the literary genre, makes a rousing final movement to Jack Remick’s California Quartet. This latest novel sings with precision description and uncompromising dialogue. As relentless as the California sun on high desert landscape, Remick’s writing grabs the reader by the throat and refuses to let go until long after the final notes fade. Vincent, part Clint Eastwood, part Sun Tzu, storms through the dusty fields of migrant workers and the half-empty streets of failing towns, chasing other people’s demons, one step ahead of his own. Seeking redemption for his sins and compelled to save others from theirs, Vincent navigates a rocky terrain filled with characters living in the grey area between damnation and the sublime. From damaged women to political hopefuls, Vincent pulls some from the embers and stands back and watches others burn.”
—Elena Hartwell, playwright and author of the Eddie Shoes mystery series
“Remick knows California, its people and landscapes…. Like all good road novels, there is a very strong sense of place, and as I turned pages, I came to know California, began to experience it through the eyes of Bill Vincent…. Bottom line, the still waters of Trio of Lost Souls run deep. If you’re a fan of Jim Harrison, Ron Rash, or even Cormac McCarthy this book is definitely worth a read. Recommended.” —Max Everhart, author of the Eli Sharpe Mystery series
“Trio of Lost Souls unfolds like the melodic, broad vibrato strains of a Sidney Bechet noir cinema score…. But just as Bechet’s improvisational voice is uniquely his, so too are Remick’s pronounced rhythmic textures, his mastery of a theme, recasting it, then luring it back into itself, or onto a dream sequence where the identities unexpectedly shift … yet the storyline is ever present, refrain-like and beguiling.”
—Dennis Must, author of the novels, Hush Now, Don’t Explain and The World’s Smallest Bible and the short story collections, Oh, Don’t Ask Why and Banjo Grease
Bill Vincent is a killer, but in the name of justice. Not that the law would see it that way. With one murderous act of retribution for terrible violence inflicted on his wife, he leaves behind a respectable calling as a prize-winning investigative journalist and hits the road. On the run he ekes out a living in California’s Central Valley as a box-maker, a turkey debeaker, a truck driver’s assistant, and finally a field hand. In this last job he meets Jim Garret, a like-minded spirit whose thirst for justice equals his own. They join together to beat the corrupt bossmen at their own political game.
Says Remick: “Trio of Lost Souls is the most political of the California Quartet. Unlike the other books, which are coming of age stories, Trio of Lost Souls features grown men. Men who grew up poor but learned to love literature and came to champion those who didn’t escape poverty. They are not the same characters who people the other books, but they are brothers and sisters under the skin. They understand life. They know the rules. They become decision makers. They are capable. They are flawed. They have been hurt. Their dreams have cost them. They are on the verge of destruction, but they know they can still do more good than harm.”
Jack Remick is a poet, short story writer, and novelist. He has published six novels with Coffeetown Enterprises’ imprints Coffeetown Press and Camel Press and a poetry collection, Satori. Click here to find Jack online.
Keep reading for an excerpt:
The grapes had been drying for four days and the second picking had stripped the vines when Garret came into the water tower holding a fifth of Glenfiddich and a manila envelope. He set the manila envelope on top of the briefcase and the whiskey on the table. Vincent, sitting on the bed, eyed the envelope. Danger. He knew that. Garret uncorked the fifth and gazed at him. There was something Vincent hadn’t expected—a flicker of flint in ruthless eyes that could cut a man’s throat.
Garret said, “I looked you up, Vincent. You lied to me.”
“I told you I killed three men.”
“You didn’t tell me you wrote about politics.”
“Politics. That’s why I killed three men.”
“You got a degree from Cal. You got a guy elected to Berkeley City Council. You went to Reno, won prizes for political reporting. This man, Aleghiri, you wrote about him. Open the envelope.”
Vincent walked to the table, plucked the manila envelope off the briefcase and flipped back the seal. His hand shook when he read the first article.
Reno authorities today suspended their search for Star reporter Bill Vincent, missing since November amid speculation that he was the victim of the same vicious attack that left his wife, Claire Hanzelli, hospitalized.
Vincent’s motorcycle was found abandoned south of Stateline, but police have no leads into his disappearance. Police are investigating the possibility that Vincent was abducted in retaliation for his investigative reporting into an international “baby for sale” ring which involved local lawmakers and several crime figures who have also vanished.
Vincent was last seen following a visit to his wife, who remains in critical condition in Washoe Medical Center.
More articles from the Reno Star. His articles. His picture. Headlines about the Mexican school girls, about the syndicate. His articles about smart girls from good families turned into baby machines. About babies sold to rich Northerners who couldn’t buy the right color skin at home.
Vincent tucked the articles back in the envelope and set the envelope on top of the briefcase and walked to the door. Garret’s words weighed him down. It was time to push on. He heard a rustle, then something hit his shoulder. The cork from the Glenfiddich. He stopped.
Garret said, “Where are you going?”
“Out of here.”
“Just when I need a killer you walk out on me.”