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Book: Comeback of the Bears by James Brooks

Johnny Kill Deer is a Cherokee biology student who gets lost in the Smokies, found by bears, dismissed from the University of Tennessee, assaulted by bear poachers, seduced by a Newport beauty and dismissed from law enforcement training because he cannot shoot.

A chance meeting with the former President Jimmy Carter during a Habitat for Humanity house raising in Atlanta gives Johnny valuable advice; perhaps he's a man of peace instead of a man of war.

All this comes to us from a Cherokee storyteller, Yona Tes-te-gawi, himself a fugitive from justice, in a setting that pokes fun at bureaucratic turf wars, bumbling poachers and the federal justice system.

This satirical look at Eastern Tennessee takes place during the 1985 Chicago Bears run for the SuperBowl XX. Johnny communicates with the bears by telepathy.  Sometimes, the Chicago Bears mascot on the television delivers ultimatums to peace maker and poacher alike.

The bears of the Cherokee National Forest and the Smokies, are humanized in the manner of Cherokee legends, and are a modern-day look at that time when animals are people shared a common language. Although their human traits include bad judgment, they often appear to be the sanest people in the book.

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Published by The Klarus Syndicate, Knoxville, Tennessee, 371 pg, $17.95


Biography of James Brooks

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Comeback of the Bears, is the debut novelist for East Tennessee journalist James Books. A second novel, Cuban Solitaire, is scheduled for publication later this year. Brooks draws on his experiences as a courthouse reporter, and his interest in nature for his books.

A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Brooks attended Cornell College and Coe College in Iowa, and along the way has raced sports cars and bicycles. He is an international bird watcher, whose interest in flight now includes work toward a pilot's license.

His poetry and stories have appeared in many small literary magazines over the past 40 years, and a dream about a Cherokee getting lost in the woods resulted in a story that grew into his first novel.

Brooks lives on five acres of wooded land in Malone Hollow, near Jonesborough, Tennessee, and is currently working on a book about aviation and learning to fly.   E-mail the author: comeback@usit.net


OUTCRY Magazine

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