Best of Texas Book Award: just good clean fun by Michael Hawron
May 4, 2018
A good, clean, fun read for all people who love adventure, life, family, history, travel or political intrigues.
Just good clean fun by Michael Hawron has received the Best in Texas Book Award for Historical Spy Novel. The award is presented by the Texas Association of Authors.
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International spy thriller, set in the three decades starting with the Cold War. Young adults from a small town are recruited for a top secret new CIA program, called Yin / Yang, designed to destabilize foreign governments. The story is inspired by real events and real individuals.
Follow the progress of these agents as they travel to many countries on four continents. See the personal and sometimes humorous side of being a spy. Get inside looks at how governments function and are altered or brought down — in Australia, Hong Kong, and Poland.
This is a work of historical fiction, with many fascinating facts and trivia sprinkled throughout. Heart-touching lessons are learned by the books’ characters. These folks bump into some of the most unusual and colorful characters, and sometimes in the process, through serendipity, they end up changing the course of history.
In the end, seven people receive special messages with vital information, penned by a dying woman.
The book has colorful travel details about the people, places and foods of exotic locations. Amazing historical buildings and exciting real-world events are intertwined with witty conversations and clever tactics. A good, clean, fun read for all people who love adventure, life, family, history, travel or political intrigues.
Even sleepy little towns get caught up in the spotlight once in a while. The person responsible for bringing national notoriety to our neck of the woods a couple decades ago was Bernie Tiede. The account of these events sounds more bizarre than a sitcom plot, or one of the tales from my previous book, Entertaining Detours, but indeed they are true. In fact, they are part of official court records.
Bernie was a gentle soul: kind, outgoing, generous, civic-minded and caring. He was a mortician in a neighboring city and had a lovely singing voice. He had one major fault: he shot his 81-year-old widowed boss and placed her dead body into a deep freeze where she remained nicely intact for nine months until authorities discovered her under the frozen vegetables and such. He claimed he preserved her body thusly until he could arrange a proper funeral. Now, I realize that is quite a mouthful to swallow…
However, you don’t have to take my word for all this, since there is a delightful 2011 movie which colorfully documents these events: “Bernie”—starring Jack Black as Bernie and Shirley MacLaine as the deceased. Most of the supporting cast members are genuine locals and the script gives a rather accurate depiction of life in Carthage, Texas.
Even more amazing was the fact that the venue for the trial needed to be moved, as the town folks were so sympathetic towards Bernie that the prosecution feared they could not get a conviction, in spite of overwhelming evidence, including Bernie’s written confession. Bernie had apparently done so many nice things for so many folks and for the community that he approached sainthood. By contrast, his wealthy victim, Miss Marjorie, was reportedly mean and unlikeable, to the point where her own family avoided her.
Now Carthage is almost 100 miles south of New Boston, as the crow flies, but this story has a local connection of sorts, which is why I am relating it to you. In these parts, there is always someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows something. In this case, my wife had a co-worker, whose daughter was the local television reporter who interviewed Bernie not long ago. You see, Bernie has been a New Boston resident for these past twenty years, as he has been incarcerated at the nearby prison. We can see the bright lights of the prison grounds at night from our backyard, which I guess makes us neighbors of Bernie.
Readers might wonder if we are nervous having a cold-hearted killer such as Bernie so close by, but we are not worried. We have it on good authority—from that reporter—that he is every bit as nice as he is portrayed in his movie. Bernie has spent his prison days teaching, mentoring and sharing the Gospel with his fellow inmates, and in general being a blessing to those in his life.
Bernie was released from prison in 2014 after twenty years of confinement, into the custody of the film maker of “Bernie.” There he lived free for two years in Mr. Linklater’s garage apartment in Austin. That was until Miss Marjorie’s family petitioned for a retrial and had him locked away once more, this time for good, they hope!
Folks I’ve talked to seem to be of the opinion that Miss Marjorie’s family was sore, not so much from the loss of their estranged relative, as from the loss of the $5,000,000 that Marjorie left to Bernie, after cutting her own family out of the will completely. Bernie had cared for Marjorie full-time and traveled constantly with her for the last three years of her life. Some have said the fact that her body remained undiscovered for nearly a year is perhaps valid testimony to the scant care and attention her own flesh and blood paid to her. However, I shall not cast any stones in this book.
On a lighter note, I have it on good authority that someone has taken steps to ensure the local community remains safe, should there ever be a prison break from the Telford Unit by someone much more malevolent than old Bernie. This fortress is quite terrifying to behold, with its massive gray walls and miles of sharp barbed wire. Nevertheless, folks kept against their will are wont to attempt an escape.
Mr. Sonny Day (truth is always so much more fun than fiction) lives very close to the above-mentioned prison. Should some brave—or foolhardy—soul ever temporarily succeed in escaping, Mr. Day keeps a suit of clothes pinned on his clothesline, with the keys to his truck inside the pocket. That way, if there ever is an escapee in the area, he or she can make their clean getaway without having to bother anyone. I suppose there is some wisdom to this precautionary arrangement. However, out of an overabundance of caution, so as not to be guilty of aiding and abetting any future escapee, I will not be selling any copies of my book at that prison.
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