Look for Something Good, a new novel by Carson City-based author Robert Drews, is a tale of changes, journeys and discovery.
Protagonist J.J. Werth has lived for his work, allowing career to replace the need for a family or outside interests. So when his company decides to lay him off in favor of someone younger and cheaper, 61-year-old J.J. is at a crossroad and decides to look for answers. After bonding with Father Thomas, a former Marine and very unlikely priest dealing with his own past, the two men embark on separate treks from Los Angeles to points east, south, and then back west to find their place in the world. They wind up finding a great deal more.
Formal reviews are in progress, but Amazon readers have had high praise for the novel.
“J. J. and Fr. Thomas must take their own separate journeys to find what seems to be lost in their lives,” wrote Caroline. “It’s a beautiful tale with characters anyone would want to travel with or meet along the way.”
Amazon reader Judy Johnson wrote: “This book quickly pulls the reader into the lives of the two central characters, and you become more invested in their lives and their journeys even as you, the reader, reflect on your own journey through life. The characters’ travels, really pilgrimages, are rooted in Christian faith (specifically Catholic) but the messages are universal.”
Audrina Williams wrote that the characters compelling and the narrative “takes us into the hearts and minds of the two men on their journeys. It’s thought-provoking, soulful, and at every turn makes you think about your own life and your own decisions.”
Author Robert Drews was born and raised in Sheboygan, Wis., on the shores of Lake Michigan. From there he went on to college and then to work at news organizations around the U,S. for the next four decades. Drews and his wife, Lisa, moved to northern Nevada in 2015 where he reads, writes, and works part-time as a writing coach at Western Nevada College.
Here’s an excerpt:
J.J. waited in line at a concession stand. It was still an hour until game time, but he always endeavored to be at his seat when the National Anthem played before the first pitch. In all his years attending baseball, he never once missed standing at attention and singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” in memory and honor of his brother.
“Beautiful night for a ballgame, isn’t it, my brother?”
He turned to the words from behind him and was momentarily speechless. A man about J.J.’s age stood ramrod straight, a shade under six-foot-five, a shade over 260 pounds, head of black hair accented by a ponytail that stretched three inches below his neckline and touched off with a neatly trimmed goatee. In the heart of Dodgers Country, he wore a weather-beaten Cubs cap. The black shirt and trousers, white collar, and plain wooden cross hanging at his chest from a silver chain quickly identified him as a man of the cloth.
His brown eyes blazed.
“That it is, Father. That it is,” J.J. answered amiably.
After a pause, he added, “Let’s play two.”
“I see you followed the Cubs back in the day,” the priest said and laughed heartily. “Ernie Banks, my man.” His was a happy laugh, the laugh of a man at peace with who he was and where he was. He extended a hand.
“I am Father Thomas Kearns.”
“I’m happy to meet you. People call me J.J.”
Father Thomas squinched his eyes. “Hm. J.J. I don’t recall that name anywhere in the Bible.”
“It stands for James Joseph, but I have gone by J.J. for many years.”
“If I may, I would prefer to call you James,” Father Thomas answered. “A good biblical name. His little book has some of the most instructive readings in Scripture.”
J.J. liked the sound of it. No one had ever called him that, not even his mom when he acted up as a boy. And, J.J. figured, who was he to argue with this mountain of humanity, let alone a priest, let alone a man with a voice so melodious, indeed almost angelic, that it seemed to come from the Holy Spirit itself? He surveyed Father Thomas, certain it would be wrong to call him Father Tom.
His intuition was spot on.
Awaiting their turn to be served, they discussed the merits of Dodger Dogs as opposed to the Chicago Vienna, Costco Special, and New York street vendor franks.
Not only did they agree on the superb delicacy of the wieners in question, but they also found themselves in lockstep at the condiments table. Both smiled good-naturedly while slathering their dogs with deli mustard and drowning them in onions and relish.
“Would you like to join me in my suite?” Father Thomas offered.
J.J. saw no harm in it. “Why not?”
Neither J.J. nor Father Thomas had any problem being alone; in fact, they enjoyed it. Yet, when good company presented itself, they were not ones to turn it down, and both quickly sensed a compatibility with the other.
J.J. did a double-take when he arrived at the suite.
“Father Thomas, you have the best seat in the house.”
“I’m glad you agree, James. I wouldn’t sit anywhere else.”
They took their place in the left field bleachers. The wide expanse of gorgeous green opened in front of them. Beauty aside, the seats offered many other pluses. They afforded a bird’s-eye view of the action, the possibility of catching a home run ball, joining with brethren who knew and appreciated the nuances of the game, and a good chance for moving somewhere else should an obnoxious lout sit nearby.
The two made a curious pair. If Father Thomas’ stature and spirituality could fill a room, J.J.’s blended in like tasteful wallpaper in a finely appointed study. Smoothly dressed as usual, his blue jeans were ironed to a crease. A blue Polo shirt matched his bright LA baseball cap. A touch over six feet and a touch under 180 pounds, he kept his light brown hair cut stylishly short. His face was smooth, hazel eyes gentle.
The Anthem played. The two stood and sang along, J.J. with his right hand over heart, Father Thomas in a crisp salute.