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‘Twas the Night After Turkey

Lubben Brothers

The evening air under clear skies had just enough of a nip to be bracing, and the mix of folk, light rock and hints of jazz music by the Lubben Brothers drew sidewalk strollers to the stage for the talented duo’s takes on Christmas favorites and other delights, waxing inventive on guitar, violin and bass violin, harmonica and, of course, vocals.

Though a plentiful array of arts and crafts vendors set up on the main street in the Northwood section of West Palm Beach for the monthly event, pedestrian traffic was light as folks likely were having left-overs from Thanksgiving feasts of the day before, and stayed away from restaurants.

But a fair number of people stopped by my table where I hawked my three novels: Blood on Their Hands, Murder in Palm Beach, and Breaking Out. One was a middle-aged man who showed keen interest in Blood (with a capital B; he displayed no vampire characteristics). In fact, he was thoroughly engaging. He leaned into the light

He stood, and said quietly, “I grew up in South Florida. I was told this bigoted stuff about blacks, and I believed it. But as I grew older, I began to realize it wasn’t true, and these attitudes were all wrong.”

Indeed, the lawyer portrayed in the novel grew up with these same hateful biases, holding them close to the vest in public, but spewing them with venom in private. The book’s sales have been light, compared to Murder in Palm Beach, which has 158 Amazon reviews and was an Amazon Kindle best seller for 15 straight weeks. One reason is that people like to read about real crime, and Murder, though a novel, deals with the assassination of a prominent Palm Beach man in 1976. But I believe there is another, even more important, reason.

That belief, which developed over a period of months, was confirmed by another person who stopped to inspect Blood. After reading the blurb, the middle-aged woman hastily put the book down, mumbling, “I’m not into that,” and hurried away.

I’m convinced that few whites, indeed, are “into that.” All we need to reach that conclusion is to consider the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. The white vote for Donald Trump, a racist to the core, was 53%. That figure is even more dramatic considering how reprehensible the man was, and is, in every other respect, an abject failure as a person and a leader, not to mention a businessman. All of this was not sufficient to sway their votes: His racism overcame the objections.

The publisher of Blood allowed me out of our contract, and I am putting out a Second Edition shortly. The blurb

Scene from My Cousin Vinny

In conceiving the novel, I combined themes from two of my favorite movies: My Cousin Vinny, after whom I patterned the comic attorney, and Gran Torino. Clint Eastwood’s character was a Vietnam War veteran who was biased against Asians, but came to love the Asian family next door. In Blood on Their Hands, a similar transformation occurs.

Scene from Gran Torino

Speaking of bias, I am totally objective (ahem) in opining that the book has everything: suspense, twists and turns, danger, comedy, a tragic love story, and a theme taken straight from the headlines of today’s newspapers (what’s left of them). It also has a darned good cover, which I am reluctantly shelving for a new cover on a Second Edition. But it will be good, I promise.

*hesh = he or she; herm = him or her; hiser = his or her; hisers = his or hers.

#PalmBeach #LubbenBrothers #ClintEastwood #BreakingOut #GranTorino #DonaldTrump #MyCousinVinny #MurderinPalmBeach #bloodontheirhands #NorthwoodWestPalmBeach #VietnamWar #AmazonKindle

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