NORTHVILLE, MI—One Hot January is the second novel in the last year from Michigan writer J. Conrad Guest. The first of a science fiction/alternate reality diptych, the premise is based on a theory that Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt conspired to allow the Japanese a preemptive strike at Pearl Harbor, thereby enabling Roosevelt to declare war openly, without political repercussions. In Guest’s revised historical account of events, Churchill alerts Roosevelt that his code breakers have learned of the Japanese plot. The U.S. is thereby able to thwart the attack, delaying involvement in World War II long enough for Germany to grow too strong to be defeated.
A century later, Hitler’s successor continues to eradicate entire races and cultures to ensure German supremacy. A small sect of genetically engineered beings sees the flaw in selective breeding and extermination, and so they travel back in time, to the events just prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, to achieve the successful conspiracy that leads to the reality in which we live today.
In One Hot January, Joe January, an emotionally aloof private investigator from the South Bronx, gets more than he bargains for when he uncovers this seemingly impossible plot of time travel and alternate realities by grudgingly agreeing to help a pretty young woman locate her missing father. Her father, a Professor of Archeology from Columbia College, must prevent the secret location of Hitler’s body, which lies in a cryogenic state awaiting a cure for cancer, from falling into the wrong hands. By the end of the novel, January is thrust one hundred years into the future, where he must survive on a century-old sagacity as he endeavors to find his way back to his own time and the woman he loves but lacked the courage to tell. The tale concludes in January’s Thaw, to be released later this year.
Says Guest, “A man approached me in 1992 to tell his story—his name was Joe January, and he was a private investigator from the South Bronx circa 1940. A twenty-first century Philip Marlowe, January can best be described as an indignant Humphrey Bogart. That encounter resulted in January’s Paradigm. One Hot January and January’s Thaw conclude the January saga. Combined, they paint a profile of a man out of place out of time. Set against the backdrop of an alternate reality in which we are living in a timeline created by time travelers from the future, January’s tale is compelling, and I couldn’t be more pleased he chose me to tell it. I think I’ve managed to remain true to his story as well as his voice.”
Fellow Michigan writer Rachael Perry and author of How to Fly writes of One Hot January, “Joe January may be a man out-of-time—Bogart-cool and clever, sharp-tongued and fedoraed—but underneath the veneer he reveals himself both in his vulnerability and the most ageless adventure of all: a journey of the heart.”
Deborah J Ledford, author of STACCATO, writes: “New York City circa 1947—Written in the tradition of Raymond Chandler, mystery and intrigue along with wants, desires and regrets prevail for private investigator Joe January.”
Terri Kirby Erickson, author of Telling Tales of Dusk, writes: “Joe January, detective and time traveler extraordinaire, is tangled in the web of a story so far-fetched, it threatens to knock his devil-may-care attitude right out the window—along with his self-professed emotional detachment from the woman to whom he’s most attracted … One Hot January slips and slides from one intriguing encounter to the next, with a surprise ending that will knock your socks off. I suggest you hang on tight and enjoy the ride!”
A resident of Northville, Guest is the author of Backstop: A Baseball Love Story in Nine Innings, also from Second Wind Publishing. Backstop was nominated as a 2010 Michigan Notable Book. Last year, Guest completed Cobb’s Conscience, a murder mystery written around baseball legend Ty Cobb and the shooting death of his father by his mother, and just completed his sixth novel, A Retrospect in Death. His short fiction, non-fiction and sports writing can be found on the Web and in print publications. Available for author readings and writer workshops, Guest also provides editorial services. For more information, visit Second Wind Publishing.