26 March, 2020

#Spotlight :: The Very Least by @kenkuhlken

About the Book:
Check out the Book on Amazon

(San Diego, Tijuana, Lake Tahoe):

A dear friend of Clifford Hickey’s cousin Bo crosses the border on the run from a charge of molesting children in a church nursery school. Because Bo believes him innocent, journalist Clifford agrees to investigate. Soon he has made enemies of gangsters, politicians, and tycoons on both sides of the border. That’s the bad news. The good news: he meets Jodi McGee who helps him discover his purpose and write this story. 

Ken on the Web:

Read an Excerpt from The Very Least

MY cousin Bo had a summer cold and decongestants went straight to her bladder. 
She was on stage with the rest of the choir, performing a new arrangement of “There Is A Fountain” when an undeniable urge struck. 
At least she was in the back row. She slipped away and out the stage exit to the foyer across from the nursery for ages four to six. In the nursery, she would find the closest restroom. 
Her friends Dolores and Archie were in the nursery showing twins where to place the angels on an Easter flannel-graph. Bo tiptoed through the maze of children and toys, to the washroom. 
The knob turned. She opened the door and screamed.

REDEEMER’S Grace Church welcomed the lost, which included ex-cons, the penniless, the homeless, and Bo, who landed there following her mom’s death. Right away, she felt wanted. She made new friends of all sorts, including Archie Akin, a shy and homely fellow Bo considered funny and sweet.
A year ago, Archie proposed marriage. Bo attempted to decline gently. When Archie recovered, he turned his affections to Dolores.
Now he stood accused of molesting kids in the church’s nursery. And though the DA hadn’t yet filed charges, The Sentinel, San Diego’s daily, was reporting ever more sinister accusations. 

THE Saturday Archie’s photo ran on “City” page one, I was on the beach behind our family’s bayside bungalow when Bo came running. I looked up from reading a J.D. Salinger collection I thought might work into the syllabus of the community college class I would teach next fall. Bo thrust The Sentinel, open to Archie’s portrait, between me and the book. 
The photo showed his bent nose, lipless mouth, and offset chin as though his lower face had gotten knocked sideways. A cameo scar crossed his cheek from the corner of his mouth to the right earlobe. His eyes were inset an inch or more, black dots imbedded in flesh, beneath a forehead swollen and creased like an old fellow’s. He was twenty-seven, six years younger than Bo.
Looking flushed as if she had sprinted the half-mile from the bus stop, Bo shifted her weight back and forth and lifted her feet as if the warm sand burned through the soles of her budget running shoes. As always, she carried a tote bag large enough to hold a cart of groceries. It hung in front of her. Both her hands squeezed the strap.
“Sit down,” I said. “Rest a minute. Watch the sailboats and skiers.”
She let the bag drop to the sand and knelt beside it. “It’s my fault,” she moaned. 
“Bo, all you did was scream.”
“No, I told the police what I saw. Should I have lied?”
“You don’t lie.”
Since the scandal broke, she had written letters to editors and phoned radio talk shows, overcoming her timidity and proclaiming Archie’s innocence. 
I reached for Bo’s hand. “Cuz, there’s more evidence than just what you saw.”
She yanked her hand away from mine and covered her eyes as if she’d just entered the sunlight. After a minute, she folded her hands and pressed them against her chin. “Archie loves kids. He would never hurt them.” She wheeled toward the bay where an armada of Hobie cats with matching crimson sails appeared to bear down on a fallen water skier. A speedboat came leaping to the rescue. Bo scooped a fistful of sand and pitched it hard at the bay. The breeze threw half of it back at her face.

About the Author:
Author's Amazon Page

Some of Ken’s favorites are early mornings, the desert in spring, kind and honest people, baseball and other sports played by those who don’t take themselves too seriously, most kids, and films he and his Zoe can enjoy together.

He reads a lot. He has long been the author of novels, stories, articles, poems, and essays. Lots of honors have come his way, including a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship; Poets, Essayists and Novelist’s Ernest Hemingway Award; Private Eye Writers of America Best First Novel and Shamus Best Novel; and several San Diego and Los Angeles Book Awards.Though he advocates beer in a video, he actually prefers Scotch.He also blogs more or less regularly here and for Perelandra College where he teaches writing and literature.