Ciao, amici! I’m so happy to host today’s guest. He’s funny; I’m not. (Well, I think I am, but my kids would argue otherwise.) He’s retired; I would love to be. He’s a gentleman and a scholar; I… used to teach, does that count? But we have a lot of things in common, too. We both have ties to Pittsburgh. We both contribute to the Story Empire site. We both have dogs that bring us endless joy. And we both love the written word. (Okay, that last one applies to anyone reading this.) I’m a firm believer in focusing on what builds bridges, not in what keeps us on our own islands, so of course I gravitate toward our shared interests. And one thing that really interests me is his latest book, The Last Drive, a sequel to Eternal Road: The Final Stop (which I loved). Please join me in welcoming John W. Howell to the site. Take it away, John!
I am so pleased to be with you today, Staci. I want to thank you for helping spread the word about The Last Drive. You are such a talented writer, and I have been enjoying your book The Haunting of Chatham Hollow. What struck me in this book was the way you use different time periods to tell all sides of the story. Since the characters in my story are searching for an eternal home, they explore different times in the quest of the final location.
Here is the blurb, and then we can get to a short excerpt from the book.
In the sequel to Eternal Road – The final stop, Sam and James are reunited to look for two souls, Ryan and Eddie. Ryan was killed in Afghanistan, trying to avoid a schoolyard with his crippled plane. Eddie Rickenbacker, Ryan’s hero, is to guide Ryan to his Eternal Home, and now both are missing.
The higher-ups believe that there has been some interference in Ryan and Eddie’s journey by Lucifer, so Sam and James have the task of finding Ryan and Eddie to get them back on the road despite the evil interference. Unfortunately, the machinations designed to prevent Ryan and Eddy from completing their journey takes the pair to horrifying testing grounds. The places visited represent the best work of the Devil. They are the trenches of World War I in France, gladiators at the Roman Coliseum, the sinking Titanic in 1912, Hiroshima 45 minutes before the bomb, and the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1943.
This book is for you if you like plenty of action, strong characters, time travel, and a touch of spiritual and historical fiction. So, join Sam and James as they try to find the missing souls while staying one step ahead of the Prince of Darkness, who is determined to destroy all that is good.
“Let me see.” Sam pulls a sheaf of papers from her shoulder bag. “I took the liberty of making some notes since I’m not a big football fan. Here it is. The Green Bay Packers played the Kansas City Chiefs. Ryan played for Bart Starr of Green Bay. Says here, Starr wanted to give his backup a chance to play since the score was so one-sided. The Packers had scored twenty-one unanswered points in the second half.”
“Yeah, that sounds like a runaway for the Green Bay.”
“So how about we go to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and try to get there when Ryan’s playing. Maybe we can witness something happening.”
James holds up a finger. “I’ve never been to that LA Coliseum, and also, how will we time our arrival?”
Sam looks in her bag. “I brought a picture of the Coliseum as it was in sixty-seven, during the game. As for the time, I have a chart with all the touchdowns and times. In the third quarter, with fifty-one seconds left, a touchdown was scored, making the score twenty-eight to ten. I bet Ryan went in at the beginning of the fourth quarter. So, kick-off was at one-fifteen PM, and each quarter lasts roughly fifteen minutes.”
James looks in Sam’s bag. “The halftime is twenty. Don’t forget the fifteen minutes takes longer.”
“Good point. So, if I add it all up, the official time is sixty-five minutes to the fourth quarter.”
“Add at least an hour for timeouts, penalties, and so on.”
“Okay, so if kick-off was at one-fifteen, add one-hundred-and-thirty-five minutes to that and we have the start of the fourth quarter at three-thirty Pacific Time.”
Sam holds up the picture so both can see it. “All we have to do is focus on the picture of the LA Coliseum and think of three-thirty Pacific.”
“I’m ready. Should we hold hands like before?”
Sam takes James’s hand. “Couldn’t hurt. Close your eyes and think of the Coliseum. Remember three-thirty, Pacific.”
The Last Drive is available in paper and Kindle editions on Amazon. Here are the universal links. The Kindle edition is on sale for 99¢ through mid-February.
John is an award-winning author who after an extensive business career began writing full time in 2012. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. He has written Six other books that are on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.
John lives in Lakeway, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.
A Stirring Sequel/Series Finale
I’ve long awaited the sequel to Eternal Road: The Final Stop, and I’m delighted to say it was worth the wait. Howell delivers a stirring story that wraps up the series in the perfect way.
When the Archangel Michael gives Sam a new task, one in which she would benefit from James’s assistance, the two once again hop in his classic Oldsmobile. They hit the historical road to find and help guide Eddie Rickenbacker bring his charge, newly deceased military hero Ryan Sanders, to his eternal home before the devil himself can claim his soul.
What follows is an adventure that’s a thrill ride (no car pun intended), the perfect mix of historical and supernatural, of fact and fiction. Howell clearly did his research of past events, and as his characters visit one site of violence after another, the danger grows, the stakes increase, and the devil’s machinations grow more devious and depraved. This is a darker, grittier tale than the first one, but when you’re talking about the prince of darkness, that’s to be expected.
Fans of paranormals, historicals, and thrillers will enjoy this book (and this series). It can be read as a standalone, but readers who skip the first book will miss the history between Sam and James, and their story is a beautiful and poignant one. I recommend both installments without reservation.
I don’t know about you, but I’m hooked. Then again, I was invested when I read the first book in the series (which I also highly recommend, and you can see my review for it here).
John, I’d like to thank you for the kind words you offered today. And thank you for being my guest. It was my privilege to host you and help promote your work.
How about it, amici? I hope you’ll share John’s announcement with your friends and join me in offering him congratulations by leaving a comment below. Before you leave, I invite you to click on some of the links, most especially the purchase link for The Last Drive.