‘Loss of Innocence’ tells story

of drama, politics in late 1960s

Richard North Patterson’s best-selling novels usually include controversial topics like capital punishment, gun violence and terrorism, as in 2011’s The Devil’s Light, about an al-Qaida provocateur’s attempt to steal a nuclear bomb from Pakistan. His current trilogy, while set as a family drama, qualifies, especially Loss of Innocence, the second book in the series.

Book Two is a prequel to Fall from Grace, which was set in the present day, when famous writer Ben Blaine has fallen to his death from a cliff, and his son Adam is the executor of the will. This is troublesome because Ben recently disinherited his wife, leaving most of his estate to his pregnant mistress.

Loss of Innocence returns us to 1968, and follows debutante Whitney Dane, who meets Ben on Martha’s Vineyard as she is happily preparing for her wedding to Peter Brooks, a match approved by her father — so much so that he finds a job for Peter at his investment banking firm and trades favors to keep his future son-in-law from the draft.

The presidential conventions are impending, and Charles Dane expects a cabinet position in the hoped-for Nixon administration. Whitney is impressed by Bobby Kennedy and his passion for justice, and is devastated when Kennedy is assassinated; meeting Ben, a former Kennedy aide with a deprived background, brings her to question her values.

While much of the story goes along predictable lines, there are a couple of surprises at the end, and the portrayal of ’60s privileged angst is effective. The final book in the trilogy, Eden in Winter, will be published in 2014.

Loss of Innocence (368 pages, hardcover) costs $26.95 from Quercus. Richard North Patterson is an alumnus of Case Western Reserve Law School and former assistant attorney general for Ohio, and won an Edgar Award for his first novel, The Lasko Tangent, in 1979.

‘Truths of the Heart’

Truths of the Heart, a novel by Sagamore Hills resident Gary L. Rockey, is the story of a progressive Michigan professor and her relationships with two men, the brutal, loutish ex-football player she marries and the intriguing student who changes her life.

Rachelle Zannes, who teaches communications and writing classes at Michigan State University, is the daughter of an artist and a librarian, and shows the sensibilities of both. It’s a wonder why she agrees to marry Carl on the 50-yard line of a Detroit Lions game, but he needs the publicity to launch his broadcasting career after an injury ended his career as a Lions quarterback. She writes in her journal, “His overprotectiveness is his way of showing his love.”

That “love” reveals that anger management is the least of Carl’s problems. Student Seth enrolls in Rachelle’s new class, which she has had difficulty explaining to the curriculum committee: “A passage to the imagination, a journey of ideas, not to what is, but to what might be. Art that inspires the moral imagination.” As Rachelle’s life with Carl worsens, she becomes closer to Seth.

Truths of the Heart (322 pages, softcover) costs $25 from Anaphora Literary Press. Gary Rockey also wrote From the Back of the House, the story of the landmark Jim’s Steak House in Cleveland, which Rockey’s father, Ray, managed for 49 years. Like Truths of the Heart, it would have benefited from an editor.

Events

Akron-Summit County Public Library (Fairlawn-Bath branch, 3101 Smith Road) — Linda Lonsdorf of Green discusses and signs her suspense novels, including her latest, A Deadly Ruse, 6:30 p.m. Monday.

Cuyahoga County Public Library (North Royalton branch, 14600 State Road) — North Royalton resident Mary Ann Winkowski, whose paranormal investigations inspired the TV series The Ghost Whisperer, signs The Ghost Whisperer’s Cookbook, 7 to 8 p.m. Monday. Registration required; call 440-237-3800.

Cuyahoga County Public Library (Independence branch, 6361 Selig Drive) — Elizabeth Manuel, who works as a barber in Parma and Independence, discusses and signs Beautiful, Beautiful, The Haircut’s Not Bad Either, 7 to 8:30 p.m. Monday.

Stow-Munroe Falls Library (3512 Darrow Road, Stow) — Children’s author Dianne Ochiltree (It’s a Firefly Night) leads a free writer’s workshop, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Register at 330-688-3295.

Dover Public Library (525 N. Walnut St.) — James A. Fussell signs his book (with Jeff Matovic) Ticked: A Medical Miracle, a Friendship and the Weird World of Tourette Syndrome, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Registration suggested; call 330-343-6123.

Medina County District Library (210 S. Broadway St.) — Robert Grau talks about and signs Five Million Steps on a Journey of Hope: Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail, 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Sparrow Christian Bookshop (14962 S. State Ave., Middle­field) — Donald Kraybill, a professor at the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College, speaks about and signs his book (with Karen Johnson-Weiner and Steven Nolt) The Amish, 9:30 to 11 a.m. Thursday.

Cuyahoga County Public Library (Olmsted Falls branch, 7850 Main St.) — Fox 8 director Vicki Stracensky talks about her children’s book Wise on Weather, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday. Register at 440-235-1150.

Mac’s Backs (1820 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights) — Oregon historian Alan Wieder signs Ruth First and Joe Slovo in the War Against Apartheid, about husband-and-wife South African activists, 7 to 8 p.m. Thursday.

Cuyahoga County Public Library (Brooklyn branch, 4480 Ridge Road) — University of Akron associate professor of marketing Andrew Thomas talks about The Final Journey of the Saturn V, his book with Paul N. Thomarios about the restoration of the Saturn V SA-514 rocket, 7 to 8 p.m. Thursday.

Acme No. 1 (1835 W. Market St, Akron) — Jerry McNamee signs The Irish Scam, based on growing up in Akron in the 1940s and 1950s, and 2 to 4 p.m. Friday.

Visible Voice (1023 Kenilworth Ave., Cleveland) — Brunswick author Ryan Ruiz signs The Black Cadillac, 7 to 9 p.m. Friday.

Cuyahoga County Public Library (Mayfield branch, 500 SOM Center Road) — A local author fair will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Cleveland Public Library (325 Superior Ave.) — Award-winning cartoonist Chris Ware appears as part of the Writers & Readers series, discussing his Acme Comedy Library series and characters like Quimby the Mouse, 2 p.m. Saturday.

Cuyahoga County Public Library (Fairview Park branch, 21255 Lorain Road) — Mickie Matheis reads from and signs her picture book Bedtime for Boo, 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday. Registration required; call 440-333-4700.

Apple Creek Historical Society (185 Church St.) — Ann Freedlander Hunt, great-granddaughter of the founder of Wooster’s former Freedlander’s Department Store, signs Gone But Not Forgotten: A Freedlander Legacy at the Apple Creek Pioneer Fest, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Learned Owl Book Shop (204 N. Main St., Hudson) — Sign up now for the Oct. 13 short-story writing workshop sponsored by the Learned Owl Book Shop and led by award-winning author Josh Rolnick (Pulp & Paper). $45. Call 330-653-2252.

— Barbara McIntyre

Special to the Beacon Journal

Send information about books of local interest to Lynne Sherwin, Features Department, Akron Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309 or lsherwin@thebeaconjournal.com. Event notices should be sent at least two weeks in advance.