Hello everyone. All of us at Meryton Press would like to introduce you to Robert W. Smith. He is the author of a romance and murder mystery set in early 1900’s Chicago. We are happy to bring you another novel in a different genre. Before looking at the cover, let’s read the blurb and get to know more about Robert.
Romance, Kidnapping, and Murder…
Will a young Irish lawyer unravel the secrets or die trying?
Conor Dolan, a young Irishman, travels to Chicago in 1903 to visit his older brother; instead, he finds a mystery. His journey sparks a quest to peel away secrets and rediscover a dead sibling he idolized but never really knew as he strives to learn the true meaning of brotherhood.
His search reveals an Irish Republican plot to assassinate a visiting British royal. In the process, he is drawn into an alliance with two women: a mesmerizing Jewish widow and a struggling young Irishwoman. Each teaches Conor existential truths of life and love in her own way.
But the brother he finds may not be the brother he remembers. A Long Way from Clare is a story of Chicago’s early twentieth century immigrants and one man’s struggle with both bigotry and justice in an unforgiving city where no good deed goes unpunished.
Will Conor find the answers he desperately craves? Or will this trip punch a one-way ticket?
What are your thoughts? The story has romance, intrigue, and murder. Whether familiar with the history of early 1900’s Chicago or not, you will enjoy this book.
About the Author
Bob was raised in Chicago, enlisting in the Air Force in 1968. Following four years service as a Russian Linguist in Security Service Command, a branch of the NSA, Bob attended DePaul University and The John Marshall Law School. With over thirty years experience as a criminal defense lawyer in Chicago, Bob brings a lifetime of understanding and experience to his novels. The author lives in the Chicago area..
The front cover image is the setting for several scenes in the book. I could almost feel the chill in the air and the heaviness of the fog when I looked at this picture. It has an ambiance of mystery and intrigue. Who is the man? What is he doing at the Chicago River? This inquiring mind wanted to know.
Now take a look at the full wrapper. Let us know what you think.
Who are the little boys, and why are they wearing skirts? You will have to read the book to find the answer to that question. (Or do you already know?) It is quite fascinating.
Let’s hear from Robert. He is going to tell us more about himself and the background of his book.
From the Author
So what is A Long Way from Clare anyway? When talking to my readers, either of them, I like to describe it as a historical fiction, wrapped in history and dipped generously in a dish of off-beat romance. You might call it a logical stop at the intersection my life’s experiences and interests. As a Chicago lawyer with a background in criminal defense, I opted initially to write two legal thrillers. That was in the early 2000s, just before the dawn of self-publishing and Amazon. I had a good working knowledge of courts and criminals and crooked cops, so I could concentrate on learning something about this ageless craft of the written word. Writing contemporary legal thrillers was okay, but the process just never tickled my twine before life and responsibility drove me back into the courtroom.
I emerged a number of years later into a completely transformed and unrecognizable publishing industry with my expectations tempered but my mission at last defined. I’d never really loved being a lawyer, not like I loved writing. On my sabbatical, I’d worked out a few guideline truths to govern my writing going forward. What I’d really loved all along was American history and tales of its arcane, ordinary figures, trapped in time to excel on their own device and conscience. Learning about forgotten, misrepresented or long-suppressed historical events had taught me that nothing is new in the light of history. One only needs to look. I prefer subjects antithetical to U.S. History books that shed light on or are in some way relevant to contemporary political or social issues.
From there, I never looked back. I wrote The Sakhalin Collection, a novel chronicling the Japanese abduction of a million Korean citizens from their homeland and the story of their continued suffering under Soviet rule on Sakhalin Island until near the end of the Twentieth Century. The novel tracks the fictional effort of two ordinary people, an American Airman and an outcast and beautiful Korean refugee to expose this crime against humanity to the world. From there, Running with Cannibals, released in 2022, was a natural progression, the story of four simple people caught in the cruelty and death of the Philippine-American War, at the height of America’s colonialist ambitions in the early Twentieth Century.
A Long Way from Clare combines the historic tensions and hopeless odds of Cannibals and Sakhalin with the compelling history of Turn-of-the-Century Chicago, following the experiences of Chicago’s Irish immigrants and their ascent from rejection and poverty to political prominence and a sense of belonging.
A young Irishman arrives in Chicago in 1903 to visit his brother but finds himself on a quest to peel away secrets and rediscover a dead sibling he idolized but never really knew, hoping in the process to learn the true meaning of brotherhood–but the secrets may kill him first.
His quest reveals an Irish Republican plot to assassinate a visiting British Royal and draws him into an alliance with two women, a mesmerizing Jewish widow and a struggling young Irishwoman, his brother’s former mistress. The women will teach him existential truths of life and love, guiding him along his path, each in her own way. But the brother he finds may not be the brother he remembers. A Long Way from Clare is a candid and deeply researched story of Chicago’s Nineteenth Century immigrants and one man’s struggle with the relationship between bigotry and justice in an unforgiving city where your mistakes can kill you if your good deeds don’t kill you first. This story was inspired by the life and alleged suicide (1914) of my wife’s grandfather, a Chicago Policeman, Irish immigrant, and bar room Irish Republican. The family believes this version. Personally, I think he was drunk on duty and fell into the Chicago River.
I am working on another in the series, based on the legendary Chicago Newsboys and set during the Wilsonian policy of national censorship and repression against the anti-war movement prior to WWI. This time period in Chicago history is fertile ground for great storytelling and social commentary. My target audience includes readers of crime thrillers and mysteries, as well as historical fiction. The resulting writing style is a fusion of my background and interests and has roots in the work of authors like Graham Greene, Len Deighton and Joseph Conrad. My stuff is non-conforming, directed to a general audience and always includes a love story. I see A Long Way from Clare as a progression in my journey. I hope you enjoy it.
The fact that the grandfather of Robert’s wife was the inspiration for this story fascinated me from the beginning. I wondered if it might be an unsolved mystery itself.
Do you like the works of the authors mentioned above? Have you read any of their books?
An eBook of A Long Way from Clare will be given away to two lucky readers. We hope you will share your thoughts about the story, the cover, or the author. Do you like mysteries? Tell us your favorites. Your comments will be your entry so we want to hear from you. The giveaway is worldwide and will end Wednesday, January 18th at midnight central time. Thank you for joining us today, and good luck to all.
Grace Celeste Gibson
Gorgeous, mysterious cover! Congratulations Robert – best of luck to you on your new release. It sounds fantastic.
Robert W Smith
OMG, Grace, you are my first comment and my friend for life. I sooooooo hope you like the book
Thanks for stopping by, Grace. We appreciate your support of Robert and his new book.
Love the intriguing, moody cover! I’m glad to see Meryton Press publishing new and exciting novels in other genres. Congratulations, Robert!
Thank you, Jan. It is nice to have new novels of different genres. I think you will enjoy this one.
Robert W Smith
Thank you, Jan. I’m so fortunate to have landed with these wonderful folks at Meryton and their talented authors. I stepped into deep water here by including a serious romance as a central element. Fingers crossed that I can swim or at least float. Hope you enjoy the book.
The cover seems indicative of the early 20th century days of Chicago with the grit and grime of the city. The two boys pictured on the back are awesome. I have pictures of my father in the 1910s wearing the same sort of attire and now I MUST read “A Long Way from Clare” to find out why!
Hi Mary. The front cover is from an actual postcard of that time period. It was so perfect for this book so we were thrilled to be able to use it. I can hardly wait for you to find out about the attire of your father. It is quite interesting. My grandson was reading and transcribing a book recently that mentioned this same thing. He found it interesting as well. I would love to know your thoughts after reading about it. Thanks for stopping by and good luck!
Robert W Smith
Thanks Mary. Was he a Southsider or Westsider?
Sounds fascinating! Congratulations.
Robert W Smith
Thanks Mary. What did your father do? Westsider or Southsider?
Robert W Smith
Sorry Lucy. I’m still learning how to do this. But I have a good excuse. Ima lawyer. Thanks for the kind words.
Thanks for visiting and supporting Robert, Lucy. We appreciate you.
I haven’t read any of the authors mentioned, although over the years I have read many different authors of books on Sci Fi, voodoo, medieval historical fiction, thrillers, mysteries, romance and whatever you would call books by Catherine Cookson and Howard Spring, nowadays I prefer lighter reads and they usually have to be about Darcy and Elizabeth!
But I will add this to my list as, who knows, I may be tempted. It certainly sounds interesting and I wish you the best of luck with it.
Robert W Smith
Yokes…I’m on pins and needles, Girlfriend. I hope you like it and thanks for the kind words.
Hi Glynis. Thanks for dropping by and commenting. I think you would enjoy reading this book. It may not have Darcy and Lizzy, but it definitely has romance! Good luck in the giveaway.
Congratulations, Robert! Thank you for sharing the origins this story. I think the cover wonderfully evokes the mysterious nature of the plot! 🙂
Oh you rock, Girlfriend. I’m messing this up effectively but starting to get the hang of it. Than you
Wasn’t the origins of this story interesting? Thank you for stopping by. We’re pleased that you did.
That’s a wonderful cover! And the book sounds really good!
KC, the book is excellent. I hope you can read it someday. 🙂
Thanks, KC. The team at Meryton is AMAZING, beyond amazing. I’m so fortunate to be with this talented bunch of writers
The photo on the book cover is exactly the kind of artwork that I would immediately pull from the bookshelf to discover more of the story. I am looking forward to reading this. My favorite books are of the Irish heritage and Chicago. Best of luck to you.
Pat, we appreciate you stopping by and commenting. It is always great reading what catches the eye of other people. When I first saw the front cover photo, it pulled me in. I felt mesmerized by it and the story it might tell. I’m glad that you like it too. Good luck in the giveaway. We hope you get to read the book soon.
Pat, Yes the cover was done by a wonderful, multi-talented and devastatingly beautiful lady named Janet. She is also affectionately known as The Goat Whisperer. Please please leave a review if you like the book. Best of luck to you
Thanks Pat. The cove was done by a wonderful, multi-talented and devastatingly beautiful lady named Janet, also affectionafely known as “The Goat Whisperer.” Hope you like the book and have time to write a review. Best, bob
Congratulations on your new book & love the cover
We’re so happy you do, Glory. Good luck.
Morning, Glory. Thanks for the kind words. I hope you like it. Bob
I’m so excited for you and I can’t wait to have the finished product in my hot little hands!
I have a feeling I know who this is and I have my wife’s permission to disclose that I have an old man crush on you. Thank you.
It’s because my big brain is full of wine knowledge, isn’t it?