Reader Reviews on Amazon and Goodreads for Behind The Locked Door by David Herstle Jones

Behind the Locked Door is an homage to Mr. Jones’s childhood brother and the culture he lived through in the 50’s and 60’s when we were on the verge of moving from killing those bodies inhabited by cancer to finding palatable ways to salvage lives diseased with cancer and lives also ravaged by divorce.  Two brothers learned to survive with each other and their blended families in triumph rather than amputation.  Mr. Jones is a  poetic and lyrical writer and  a keen observer of human nature and the soulless life of the ruthless medical profession that pervaded at that time. He has created a fantasy out of ruins. a believable fantasy.  I could not put this book down.    Amazon Review by Katherine Moore

The author weaves a true story of his brother’s death and imagination/mysticism. Fascinating book. Amazon Review by Terry Johnson

In his life, David Herstle Jones has been an economist, the owner of a storied restaurant(Mendocino’s The Seagull), and a knowledgeable financial planner. Now he has boldly moved into a new sphere as a novelist. Jones uses all his life experience and imagines much more in giving us “Behind the Locked Door”, the story of a man trying to overcome a terminal cancer diagnosis. “Eric Martin” works to heal himself on a trip to Mexico and in the process meets a series of characters he could never have imagined. As someone who has known DH Jones for years, I was fascinated both by Eric Martin’s character journey and by the trek DH Jones himself has made to imagine a world of characters beyond even his vast experience. A truly great book building upon a huge treasure chest of a life.   Amazon Review by Doug Nunn

Part magical realism and part hard-boiled political/criminal/medical intrigue, this lush novel is dedicated to the author’s older brother, who died of fast-moving cancer as a young man. This tale is like an elaborate Dia de Muertos offering, where the living strive to breach the gates of the world beyond the veil with enticements for the dead. Here, the offering is the life the author’s brother never had, richly imagined and detailed. The reader ponders the age-old philosophical question: Do we dream that we are awake, or are we awake when we are dreaming? And is there a difference?   Amazon Review by Eleanor Cooney

“What if?” What if you called off sick, instead of showing up to work in the ER last Saturday? What would the impact of that decision be What if you had a slim chance of being cured of a devastating illness, but had to go against traditional medicine and well meaning family and friends to do so? The author explores this very question. It is one man’s journey down the rabbit hole of cancer treatment and his own answer to the question of “what if”. A highly recommended read!   Amazon Review by Sandra Sheller

David Jones’ mind is incredible. I was so surprised because living in the same town as he and sort of knowing him for a long time, I never knew he could write such a spellbinding book. I puzzled over and loved the “inserts, footnotes” and the characters of Nelson and Marcos. Naughty Marcos……. that was unexpected. I guess the ending had to be what it was. An interesting look at Laetrile, which most of us remember. Thank you David for this excellent book.   Amazon Review by Jim Swallow

I’ve known David Jones for 45 years, as the owner of the Seagull and then later as a trusted financial advisor. I had no idea that he was a writer too! This book has a little bit of everything; intrigue, romance, politics, magical realism, and a big dose of information about the time in our history when laetrile was being considered as a cure for cancer. Above all, it’s a testament to David’s wonderful imagination and his admiration for his older brother. To me, a book is good if it touches me emotionally. This one did. I enjoyed it!  Amazon Review by Judy Stavely

After almost 50 years following the death of his big brother, David Jones has written a beautiful story of possibility.  He offers us a journey that  his brother might have traveled, inspired by an actual letter his brother wrote to a friend.  In this book, David gives us a remembered life.  The book is well researched and gives us a glimpse of the political and social times in the US in the early 70s, especially that cancer research and Laetrile.  Eric’s story takes place primarily in Tijuana where we are introduced to Laetrile and also to gentle native healers who have gathered their medicinal herbs and plants for centuries.  It is also about those who traffic and leave broken lives in their path.  It is above all, a story of cancer and how it changes people; those who have it; those who are close to it; those who try to heal it; and those who try to take advantage.  Its a book rich in characters, location and possibility.  Goodreads Review by Nancy

What a work of fiction does best delightfully transports you to a different world. How wonderful to take the power of art to do what can seem impossible a chance to commune and be with his brother in this enjoyable book . I as a reader enjoy being a part of what art can do at times by making the impossible possible . I enjoyed the story and concept a delight.  Amazon Review by Stanley L. Singleton

A deeply satisfying tale…  Dedicated to his older brother, who died of a fast-moving cancer as a young man, David’s magical and sweeping tale focuses on a young attorney’s remarkable journey of fulfillment as he gains insights into the true way of living and places his faith in the immortality of true love. It’s 1970. Eric Martin, a young attorney, opts to get a holistic treatment combined with Laetrile in Mexico after being diagnosed with terminal cancer instead of staying in America where the drug is illegal. Getting the highly aggressive, ineffective chemotherapy, which at most can give him a couple more years to live, is not in Eric’s immediate plans. In Mexico, he finds fulfillment and learns to embrace life with an open heart. David’s superb novel is crowded with the strange and fantastical, the ordinary and extraordinary and explores the thin line that separates dreams from reality. The narrative goes far beyond the recounting of Eric’s remarkable journey of finding fulfillment: in telling the story of Eric, David not only captures the bigger meaning of life but also its succinct wisdom: there’s a difference between being alive and living life to its fullest. He deftly blends magical realism with elements of a crime drama and political intrigue. The book’s pacing is relatively smooth despite its length, and David does justice to his vast array of characters, bringing the most minor characters vividly to life: Eric’s underlying vulnerability is on full display but he never comes out as melancholic or hopeless. David not only captures Eric’s fortitude and determination but also the astounding way he stays grounded in reality despite the circumstances. A gallery of secondary characters, pivotal to the plot, is infused into the narrative simultaneously: Itandehui, Frieze, Nelson, Penalt, Ana Luisa, Father Jordan are among many others who will stay at readers’ minds long after they finish the book. The spirit world adds to the intrigue of the story, and despite its heavy presence in the narrative, the novel comes out as more of a tale of literary fiction than a hard-boiled magical realism story. The denouement is shocking — something that readers wouldn’t see coming and wish for it to be different, but it doesn’t take away the profound effect the novel makes as a tightly focused yet equally satisfying tale of love and intrigue. Lovers of literary fiction and magical realism will be equally rewarded.  Goodreads Review by Booksiren  [ Also posted online BY THEPRAIRIESBOOKREVIEW ON FEBRUARY 4, 2020 ] 

 

Praise For The Book:

“From a dying brother’s letter of despair and hope, David Jones creates a harrowing mix of humanity and inhumanity; love and terror; medical madness and mirages of miracles. The searing journey the author imagines for his brother compels readers to confront profound questions of how life is best lived and death best met.

—Jeffrey Amestoy, Former Chief Justice, Vermont Supreme Court and author, Slavish Shore: The Odyssey of Richard Henry Dana Jr.

 

“It requires exceptional skill to twist a thought to express a sensation, a tender emotion. David has that skill… to create a mood, a reality, a truth made from illusions.”

—James Maxwell, artist, author of My Ghosts 

 

“Jones has delighted us for years with his blog www.thinkinthemorning.com. Now, in his engaging first work of fiction, he takes readers to Mexico as a young man searches for the gift of healing.”

—Katy M. Tahja, author of An Eclectic History of Mendocino County, 1852–2002 

 

“What a treat! I’ve followed David’s blog and travels, and now am delighted to be able to fully immerse myself in the richness of his imagination, truth telling, and talent. Hurray—and more, please!”

—Susan B. Wood, artist and “teller” of the secrets of an amazing, aging, single, woman artist

 

“David Jones is one of the great thinkers and writers of northern California. He pours his intellect and life experience into Behind the Locked Door. Run, don’t walk, to devour it, and be ready to be consumed.”

—Gary Evans, former World Bank economist and financial advisor to the Republic of Poland

 

 “David Jones has chosen a difficult subject: the story of a desperate ‘everyman’ grasping at any straw (Laetrile, in this case) in hopes of surviving his incurable cancer. Set in Mexico, the novel is liberally sprinkled with indigenous mysticism and surreal interludes, enhancing the story and helping make Behind the Locked Door a wonderful read.”

—Gil Gevins, author of 1967: The Autumn of Post-Coital Despair 

 

“In this genre-bending ode to his much-loved older brother, who died of cancer at a young age, David Jones has imagined an inner and outer life for a dying man. Imagine a gritty tale of intrigue, international crime and corruption and the harshest, cruelest, most savage details of high-tech medical reality merged with the slippery, elusive, shimmering world of shamans, visions, totems, and magical realism, a tale populated with a full cast of characters, some of whom—gangsters, hucksters, crooked politicians—resemble walking, talking cancer cells, while others—a native healer, an obsessively principled eccentric scientist, a sweet, beautiful love interest, an enlightened Catholic priest—put us in mind of powerful immune cells channeling the primal forces of life. The reader ponders the age-old philosophical question: Do we dream that we are awake, or are we awake when we are dreaming? And is there a difference?”

—Eleanor Cooney, author of Death in Slow Motion and Midnight in Samarra

 

Behind the Locked Door 

by David Herstle Jones

Buy now:  Behind The Locked Door is available in Mendocino from Gallery Books, Moore Books, and the Mendocino Public Library; in Fort Bragg from The Bookstore and the Fort Bragg Public Library; from my Think in the Morning website or my Mendocino office (above Mendocino Market) and from most online sites (Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble).

Think in the Morning

Pub date December 31, 2019

ISBN 9780578589558

Price $18.95 (USD) Paperback, $9.99 Kindle edition