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December 23 , 2010

The Howling of Holcomb Peak


This novella is the first of two stories featuring adventurous school teacher Jack Carment. He faces a perplexing challenge at school which compels him and several of his students and new friends to climb a challenging mountain and face a misguided court case.
Filled with both exciting outdoor adventure and anecdotal classroom scenes, the story weaves an adventure tale together with some creative problem solving. The story is set in a rural Western town bording mountainous wilderness.
Throughout the story readers will also find a sprinkling of philosophy, some regarding the outdoors, some regarding precepts of education.
Short scenes recount in flashback form Jack's creative approach to the challenging problem at school and how it led to near disaster for two of his former students. The court case which then ensues brings a series of community members together as well as a classic antagonistic lawyer.
Frequent "flash forward" chapters feature the "current day" as Jack climbs the same mountain his students met disaster on years earlier. While he climbs, he recalls the whole story from the very beginning.

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The work is liberally spiced with dialogue, much of it pertaining to the classroom and the courtroom, but also finding voice with other community members in town.
Descriptions of the mountains are loaded with sensory imagery and vivid detail.

Although purely fiction, the work is semi-autobigraphical in nature. There are some wonderful original summit register entries included which come from the original summit registers the author kept on two separate mountains in Utah's Uinta Mountain Range during the mid to late 1990s – Bald Mountain and Hayden Peak. These appear printed as is, completely non fictional. Both educators and outdoor enthusiasts will surely enjoy this piece. It has something to offer both reading audiences. Whether or not a young adult readership would enjoy such a work remains to be seen.

This is not a complicated novel, nor is it a lengthy one. It can be read easily in one or two sittings.

Finally, the second Jack Carment tale takes a similar classroom situation and problem style to a new arena, The Columbia River and a kayak trip. That novella is titled The Light of Shimmering Cove. It will be launched via Smashwords sometime later this summer.

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