Charlie Sweetwater returns to his hometown to visit his brother but arrives to find he is a no-show: The Coast Guard has discovered Johnny’s shrimp boat drifting abandoned in the Gulf. Is it “death by misadventure” as the authorities presume, or something more sinister?
Meanwhile, Fulton Harbor, where Charlie’s family have docked their shrimp boats for generations, has changed—and not for the better. Hard-working Vietnamese fishermen are under the thumb of Col. Nguyen Ngoc Bao, a ruthless exiled gangster who aims to recreate his criminal enterprise in a New World setting.
Confronting Bao and his thugs are Charlie and a mismatched group of good guys (and gals): a fast-and-loose Cajun hustler, a salty cast of “Third Coast” barroom regulars, a handful of courageous Vietnamese émigrés, a menacing ex-convict, and a misplaced Texas Ranger who discovers a slice of the Lone Star State that the cowboy movies of his boyhood never prepared him for.
Along the way Charlie finds himself falling for his brother’s girlfriend, whose zealous desire to see justice served tests his own limits for loyalty and commitment. Unlikely heroes arise from improbable circumstances, and the denizens of the small seaside community find their fortunes and fates ebbing and flowing like the tidal flux of the ocean itself.
Title: Thin Slice of Life
Author: Brent Douglass ‘82 and two of his friends, John Davis and James Dennis, co-wrote the book under the storytelling alter ego Miles Arceneaux. What began as a literary lark—a daisy-chain novel with chapters written by friends in turn—evolved into a dedicated project spearheaded by these three.
Brent’s inspiration for the story comes from his family’s deep Coastal roots and the stories, characters and experiences he absorbed there as a youth. Brent is an international businessman who writes in airports, hotel rooms and drinking establishments around the world. At present he is a principal owner of KBC Networks and peddles data transmission equipment in Latin America and the Caribbean. He is the cultured, cosmopolitan writer of the Miles Arceneaux trio.
John T. Davis’s three decades of writing about Texas and Texans helps breathe life and authenticity into the book’s characters. James R. Dennis’s intimate knowledge of the law—both sides of it—and of Texas Ranger history and culture enriches the novel and helps keep its characters on the side of the angels.
Publisher: Stephen F. Austin University Press (September 25, 2012)
Price: Paperback: $18.95
Description: Paperback, 300pages
Author’s Site: www.milesarceneaux.com