Valerie is beautiful, she's tough and she just may be the
most outrageous misfit Gladburg, Pennsylvania has ever seen. Architect Ray Brauner is an outsider there too - a circumstance that draws them into an unlikely alliance.
When his life is turned upside down at first Ray blames his friendship with Valerie. But after a display of uncommon courage, and through a series of catastrophic events, Val gradually becomes Ray's companion on a rocky path to higher awareness.
This is an emotionally intense, complex story that leads to death's door in the eastern Kentucky mountains and back again. By the end it's an authentic hero's quest—complete with epic road trip, an old Airstream trailer and a dose of magic realism.
What people who've read it say:
An astonishing Appalachian tale.
Edwin Albaugh, writer USNWR, retired
The story is mesmerizing and mythic and twists and turns masterfully. It faces the horror of mountaintop removal mining, a practice that plagues Appalachian communities. It's not a proselytizing book; there are several stories intertwining. This would make a good movie (Hollywood are you listening?) I am not saying this lightly. A memorable story and beautiful writing - GREAT novel!
Cathy Ponton King, musician
Flush with rich and complex characters, the kind of folks you'd love to have a beer with and find out what make them all tick. A thoroughly enjoyable read, one of those rare finds you really don't want to put down. For a first novel - wow!"
Chaz Brown, artist, teacher, writer, musician
I read an early manuscript of this novel. Dennis is a masterful storyteller. The story resonates with emotional depth,
multi-layered plot and character development and provides thought-provoking insight on the travesty of coal mining both environmentally and spiritually. The quest for both individual authenticity and meaningful connection to others and the universe is explored in a voice that is empathetic without sacrificing veracity. Passages in this novel deserve to be savored as lyrical adventures, invoking a keen sense of time and place.
Teresa Burns Weber, AVP International Banking, retired
I thoroughly enjoyed the story; the characters are completely believable and relatable. And I like the way it was written. There is adventure and intrigue, I learned a bit about faith, architecture, coal mining, car stuff (!), and fine cognac. Well done!
Tracy Boyd, artist
"Valerie" provides a perspective of human nature with no sugar-coating. The places, faces and suspense keep pages turning through a unique, American journey.
Buzz Lerch, musician, electronics engineer