A tale taken from tabloid headlines

N.H. Writer’s Project
Published: 4/2/2021 8:27:58 PM

Who hasn’t eyed the sensational headlines of the tabloids while waiting in the grocery store line? That’s exactly what first-time novelist David Gardner did and he took away inspiration for a book.

“I picked up a tabloid at a grocery store counter and saw an article about ghosts and another about a secret government prison,” said Gardner.  “I immediately made the connection — put the ghosts into the prison and make one of them the ancestor of a tabloid journalist (the protagonist of my novel).  All that in a few seconds.”

That was the beginning of his debut novel The Journalist: A Paranormal Thriller, Encircle Publications.

The book tells the unlikely story of Jeff Beekle who writes for a tabloid, much like the one Gardner saw in the supermarket. In his quest for increased sales, Jeff fabricates a storyline about a mob-built CIA prison for ghosts. The complication — it turns out to be factual.  The mob and the CIA now have Jeff in their sights, and the fun begins.

Along the way, Jeff discovers his great-grandmother is an inmate at the facility. She, like her ghostly peers, is being groomed by the CIA as a spy. It’s an ingenious idea; ghosts are invisible and don’t require salaries or pensions.

However, among the many problems, ancestors imprisoned too long vanish as if they had never been born, erasing the existence of all their descendants in the process, which includes Jeff.

This sets the stage for Jeff’s attempt to outwit the mob and the CIA; free his ghostly ancestors, destroy the prison, and save himself.

Gardner’s goal for readers of the book is to laugh and find an escape for a while. The book delivers. Gardner’s humor is spot-on as the caper unfolds. It is quick and entertaining reading.

Gardner served in Army Special Forces, earned a Ph.D. in French and made a career of writing.  His previous work has been rather dry in comparison to this novel.

“I’ve written too many mind-numbing computer manuals, a few dozen travel articles, and I’ve co-authored three programming books for Prentice Hall,” said Gardner.  He has also worked as a reporter.  The Journalist: A Paranormal Thriller is his first work of published fiction.

“It was the most fun I’ve had writing.  But it was harder than I thought it would be,” he said.

He wrote the book in two years. “I write in the morning every day of the week.  I’ve built a standing desk next to a window looking out on my backyard.”

Gardner’s next novel, The Last Speaker of Skalwegian will be published in September, 2021, by Encircle Publications.  “Both works of fiction are whimsical, character-driven thrillers,” he said.

When not writing, Gardner enjoys being outdoors hiking or biking. He plays the keyboard with “no discernible talent whatsoever.”

He also likes “messing around with astrophotography,” which may explain his fascination with otherworldly beings.

Gardner grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin, and has lived in a number of places over the years including Nashua. He currently resides in Lexington, Mass., with his wife who is also an author.

“She understands the madness of writing fiction. She’s a great support, and I hope I am for her, said Gardner.  He added “I have a son and a daughter who don’t call nearly as often as they should.”

The Journalist: A Paranormal Thriller is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  Gardner is a member of the New Hampshire Writers’ Project.

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