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Strange days in St. Baarlam, Illinois: Routine Dept. of Transportation excavation has uncovered a city of stone built by an unknown race and in it a flaming sword of crystal, golden tablets in an unknown alphabet, mass graves of decapitated skeletons with stakes jammed in their mouths. What does it all mean?

The Mormon’s Avenging Angel, Chief Fear of the Chaddhu Nation, Aunt Paula the town mystic, crooked archeologists, a funny little DOT man who reeks of sulphur and leaves unexplained fires in his wake don’t care what it means. They just want that priceless ancient loot. And it’s up to the intrepid homeless vet and detective Peter Pike and his on-again, off-again squeeze Tina the salon owner to sort out the truth. And make it out alive.

Say, why do they call Pike Vietnam Johnny anyway?

Find out at my launch party and reading of my new novel, “Peter Pike and the Murderous Mormons,” on May 3, 2018, from 5-7 p.m. at Orr Street Studios, 106 Orr St., Columbia, Mo.! I’ll be signing books you can buy at the reading or any time from Yellow Dog Bookshop, 8 South 9th Street, Columbia, Mo.