Monday, February 16, 2015

"An Important Book that Dives Deeper than 'American Sniper'"

The first American review of my novel Johnny Don't March is at Amazon.com


5/5 stars
Format:Kindle Edition
Timothy Hurley's book "Johnny Don't March" is a great read for anyone interested in PTSD and the struggles of soldiers returning home from modern conflicts. Flashbacks to 9-11 set the stage for Nelson's departure to war, to avenge his cousin Sammy's death. The Nelson that returns from that war is a changed man, a conflicted man, and the power of his father's hate is no longer enough to drive him forward. It isn't until he takes a hard look at who he is and who he wants to be that he can start to move on past the horrors he saw, and those he returned to.

The writing is terse and spare, but the emotions are poignant and the narrative pushes you forward, sometimes reluctantly. Everyone will be able to find a part of Nelson and his journey that resonates even if you haven't been 'over there.'

The first UK review is at Amazon.co.uk
5/5 Stars
By 
Shepherd (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews

This review is from: Johnny Don't March: a novel (Kindle Edition)
Oh boy!

Timothy Hurley has written one cracking story of humanity and human strength and fragility.

Set against the background and consequences of 9/11, and around a serving U.S. soldier in 2013 Afghanistan, Timothy Hurley's main character, Specialist Nelson O'Brien gives us a roller-coaster insight to the reality of modern prejudices and warfare, and the ultimate human toll, yet recognising compassion and humility of those most affected.

If only those politicians could truly understand the unseen wounds that Hurley beautifully exposes to readers...

The struggle to separate reality from nightmares, and thrown into 'life' outside of active service, Nelson O'Briens relationships with family, friends and colleagues are similarly exposed.

Where life is an undesirable option and death comfortable to accept - a national / global callousness becomes apparent, that should leave all readers questioning the true price of war.

Hard to put down - a gripping read!


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Valentine's Story: Lost Ring


For Valentine's Day here is a short story I wrote a couple of years ago.

Lost Ring
Timothy Hurley

I’m on my hands and knees in inch-deep tan dust in the Sunday afternoon sun, because we have returned to the campsite we had abandoned in the morning. My fingernails and my clothes smell of ground-up earth.
It’s 1969, and Marianne and I are on a weekend excursion to Mount Diablo, east of San Francisco. It is less than a year after our wedding on Treasure Island. We’re young, newly wed, and we’re camping—tent, sleeping bags, pots and pans. The talcum-like dust of Mount Diablo State Park coats our gear, our beige Rambler American sedan, and us.
After the Sunday morning pack up I’m driving toward the Bay Bridge and home in San Francisco. In response to Marianne’s sudden scream, I peel off from the herd of bumper-to-bumper automobiles and pull into a deserted parking lot in Oakland’s industrial district.
“Tim! My wedding ring! I lost it at the camp.” She thrusts her empty ring finger in front of me.
“Where did you have it last?”
“I must have taken it off when I was doing the dishes.”
I look at my ring—which has not been off my finger since she put it there—and recall our trip to Sears on Geary Boulevard. We splurged. I bought her the $9 plain gold band, and she purchased the $12 one for me.  We paid extra for engraving inside: MVR to TJH 12-21-68 and TJH to MVR 12-21-68.
My ring is the possession I choose when we play the what-would-you-take-to-a-desert-island game.
In the empty parking lot we remove and open every backpack. We search in every box, pot, and pan, inspect every corner of the tent. “It’s simply not here,” I say.
“It has to be,” she says. “Unless I left it at the camp.”
We repack the car. I drive onto the freeway, aiming the car at Mount Diablo. An hour later I maneuver into our camp space. I mark off our campsite as if it is an archeological dig, and I sift the earth through my fingers as if I am a graduate student searching for Australopithecus.
A while later I turn to Marianne, my palms holding up the weight of the atmosphere. We move through the stages of grief together. I am moving more quickly than she.
“I can’t believe we didn’t find it. Keep looking,” she said.
“Why did you take it off?”
“I had to do the dishes. Why didn’t you help?”
“We’ll light a candle to St. Anthony.”
“I wish we’d never gone on this stupid camping trip.”
“We’re not going to find it, honey. I’ll buy you a new one.”
“I don’t want a new ring, dammit. I want my ring.”
I arrive at acceptance alone.
My lack of sensitivity is showing. I want to be sympathetic, but more than that I want to be practical. Our options list is growing smaller.
She doesn’t make it past anger and depression.
Maybe if I had searched just a little longer, a little harder. Should we go back? It hurts to see her hurting. I want to fix it. The angels are teaching me a lesson about marriage, I suppose. Are all lessons going to be this painful?
At home I park the car, and we lug our gear to our second floor walkup. I follow Marianne to the kitchen sink. I’m standing behind her, trying to think of something to say. Everything seems insufficient—trite.
With a sudden jerk her shoulders straighten, and her body tenses. She snatches something from the sink ledge. I think I see a yellow flash. She whirls.
We’re face to face, and she shoves her hand to my eyes. Between her thumb and forefinger I see gold and engraving: to MVR. I smile, and she grins.
She slips the ring on her finger. “See? I told you I took it off when I did the dishes.”
We embrace. I am silent. I have grown smart in my first year of marriage.
The rings endure, as does love.
The Mayan Apocalypse and our forty-fourth wedding anniversary occurred on December 21, 2012.
We survived both.


Thanks for reading.


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Johnny Don't March "Gut-Wrenchingly good"


My novel Johnny Don't March is now an eBook at Amazon, complete with its new cover, thanks to award-winning novelist and artist S.A. Hunt.

What people are saying:
"gut-wrenchingly good"
"an exceptional novel"
"Hurley is the real deal talent"

War is purgatory. Coming home is hell. Nelson returns to Brooklyn from Afghanistan branded a hero, but feels more like a casualty. His fiancée, Prue, had warned him against going, but his father said someone had to pay for what the terrorists did. His aunt told him there had been enough dying on that Tuesday in September 2001. Maybe his aunt was wrong. Maybe Nelson has to die also. As dark memories erupt into the “normal” life he craves, Nelson learns the price of hate.

Johnny Don't March is getting attention at Amazon, so if you're looking for an exceptional novel that is a gut-wrenchingly good read, check it out here.

Thanks for reading.
Timothy Hurley, author, appreciates all readers and reviews