DENVER, Colo. – Back in the driver’s seat again, the cabbie who made readers laugh out loud in the first three installments of the posthumously published “Asphalt Warrior” series has returned for two more books written by best-selling author Gary Reilly.
Winner of the 1979 Pushcart Prize, Reilly passed away in 2011 after a two-year battle with colon cancer, trusting a pair of friends to publish an 11-book series after his death. Since then, the “Asphalt Warrior” series has been in the hands of Mike Keefe, a retired political cartoonist and Pulitzer Prize winner, and Mark Stevens, a former journalist and acclaimed author in Colorado. Following the successful release of the first three books – “The Asphalt Warrior,” “Ticket to Hollywood,” and “The Heart of Darkness Club,”
which hit No. 1 on the Denver area bestsellers list – the two friends will publish two more books Nov. 21, 2013 in honor of Reilly through Running Meter Press.
Denver taxi driver Brendan Murphy, aka Murph, returns in Reilly’s fourth book, “Home for the Holidays.” It’s Christmastime, and Murph leaves his cab behind to visit his family in Wichita where he finds himself reluctantly reconnecting with his siblings.
Meanwhile, Murph takes it upon himself to save an old friend from making the biggest mistake of his life – accepting a job where suits and ties are everyday attire. It will take all of his persuasive powers to rescue Jimmy Callahan from The Suits. That, and maybe a Christmas miracle.
My Take on HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Murph has been called home toWichitaby Maw to celebrate the Christmas season with his sisters, their families, and his evil brother, Gavin. This is Murph’s first trip back home in twenty years. It’s a true treat to see where and who Murph comes from.
It didn’t take long to snuggle back into a world that moves at the speed of Murph. Our insightful protagonist is a true minimalist. Not in some avant-garde artsy form but as an honest-to-goodness way of life. Murph has perfected getting by and having just what he needs, never too little or too much but just right. Murph on ambition:
I coughed and cleared my throat. “You’re missing the big picture,” I said. “Step one is to divest yourself of all ambition. After you have succeeded in doing that, then-and only then-can you take step two, which is to figure out a way to get money.”
“It seems like you should get the money first,” Jimmy said. “Then you could go ahead and stop having ambition.”
I took a deep breath and sighed. I hated talking to amateurs. They did everything exactly backwards.
When Murph reluctantly travels back toWichitaat Maw’s behest he takes us on a many storied trip down his youthful memory lane. The young Brandon Murphy isn’t really all that removed from the Murph of today. While opening presents Christmas morning:
“Don’t tear the …!” Sally shrieked as I ripped the paper away from the box. “Oh Brendan,” she said mournfully. I had spent my entire childhood listening to people say, “Oh Brendan.”
The wrapping paper was ruined. A bit of tape might have put it in good enough shape to reuse next year, but I squelched that possibility by wadding it up and tossing it over my shoulder. All the kids laughed. I was setting a bad example. That’s what uncles are for.
Murph references classic TV shows, movies, and literature. He ties them into whatever story he’s telling making it feel personal because so many of us watched or read what he’s referring to and many of us had comparable youthful experiences. What a delight it was to juxtapose the boy, Brendan, against the man, Murph.
Reading a Murph book is one of the top stress relievers on the market today. I should warn you, though: they’re highly addictive.
Thanks to Sami Manic Readers has a print copy of HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS to give away (sorry due to shipping costs, U.S. only). How do you feel about family get togethers over the holidays or in general? Giveaway ends 1-3-2014 with the winner announced shortly thereafter. Good Luck!