Murder, Corruption, and The Unthinkable in The 1950s Heartland Suddenly Resonate Today…

fiction/mystery/gay literature

Thunderfoot Press announces its premier title, “Midland Club.”

December 12,  2016 (Chapel Hill, NC) — Since November 8th, LGBTQ citizens have come to fear a surge in hate crimes after reports of homophobic attacks, some verbal, some physical. Sadly, the potential is evident.

But in 1958, that potential was a frightening certainty, especially in Midwestern cities where homosexuals were considered “perverts” and “degenerates” and law officers ignored assaults on them – law officers not unlike the fictitious Sheriff Pat Brundy, who quickly pronounced the death of an old, gay, black man as suicide. No investigation. Case closed.

In Midland Club, a new murder mystery by Mark Spano, one man refuses to believe Puce Bordeaux’s death was suicide, despite Sheriff Brundy’s assertion. That man is Rich St. Pierre, a member of the wealthy, white First Family of the town who was locked up, along with Puce, after a raid on a dive where the town’s otherwise hidden homosexuals hung out. He’s certain that Puce, the quiet, genteel “Negro” who served as a waiter in the exclusive Midland Club for decades, was killed. He’s certain that the subsequent death of Puce’s priest, Monsignor Corliss, was murder.

Ostracized by his influential family, Rich St. Pierre also knows that his own life will be in grave danger if he attempts to prove his assumptions by unraveling the town’s secrets, lies, and corruption.

fiction/mystery/gay literature
Author Mark Spano

“I set this book in the neighborhood of my childhood,” said Spano, a gay man who knew life before the Stonewall riots of 1969. “I came of age in the era of gay liberation. My story is a glimpse back at how it used to be.”

Published by Thunderfoot Press, Spano’s 120-page book is a quick page-turner that suddenly stops the reader in his or her tracks with such moments as art dealer and self-described “queen” Luther Beaumont’s drunken rant on human instincts:

“We were taught that the only two instincts we humans have are self-preservation and species preservation.

“That is not so. There are more than those. The third instinct is just as primitive but has somehow been ignored by all these research people as being part of the human creature. It’s the preservation by the tribe of those things beautiful about the tribe. That’s why we’re decorators and designers and art dealers. While the rest of the world is cranking out babies like there’s no tomorrow, queers are at home saving what’s beautiful in the world so there’ll be something to look at or listen to tomorrow.”

Midland Club has all the elements of a good mystery: vibrant characters, a familiar setting, and a plot in which the solution to the mystery is ultimately revealed. Beyond a good mystery, it also addresses the pain of one gay man, alone in a town that despises him. And if the reader is paying attention, that pain foreshadows the conclusion.


Review copies of Midland Club are available by contacting

publicist Kim Weiss at Blueplate PR: blueplatepr@gmail.com.

Paperback and Kindle editions are available for purchase on Amazon.


About The Author:

MARK SPANO is the author of five works of fiction and a memoir. As a filmmaker, his work includes The Quality of Light: A Biography of Claude Howell and the definitive documentary on Sicily, “Reimagining Sicily.” He holds advanced degrees from Marymount University of Virginia and the American University in Washington, D.C., and now resides in rural Orange County, North Carolina.

Media Contact:

Kim Weiss, Blueplate PR

919.819.0064; blueplatepr@gmail.com

The Mahogany Door: A New Fantasy-Adventure Book for Young Readers

Split Rail Books releases the first book in The Bruinduer Narrative Trilogy

May 23, 2011 (Durham, NC) — After the last Harry Potter film is released this summer, what will young fans of fantasy-adventure fiction have to look forward to? Split Rail Books in Durham, NC, suggests its new title, “The Mahogany Door,” the first novel in a new fiction-fantasy-adventure series written by J. Mark Boliek of Durham especially for young readers.

And it comes with an original-music soundtrack CD.

“The Mahogany Door,” book one of Boliek’s The Bruinduer Narrative series, is told by an unnamed grandfather who captivates a group of children with his fascinating story, first out on a beach then huddled around the fireplace of a beautiful mansion by the shore as a fierce thunderstorm rages outside.

The story centers around three friends, separated years ago by a traumatic event, who are compelled to reunite so that they may once again pass through “The Mahogany Door” and into the fantasy Vryheids world of Bruinduer. They must fulfill a destiny they left undone nine years before to keep Bruinduer from collapsing. One of the friends lost his parents and his memory in a horrible accident and has no idea what to expect. One knows too well and has tried to forget. The third friend’s insistence that they must return to Bruinduer is mysterious and suspicious.

Cover and interior illustrations by Lauren Gallegos

The friends’ journey back to the world behind “The Mahogany Door” leads to the book’s “teaching moments,” which resonate with the author’s own life – about things in life not always being what they seem, about the value of friendship and the importance of completing tasks, and about the secret to tapping into the power of a their only  “guide” along the journey, a monstrous being they call “Billy.” And the end is designed to leave young readers anxious for book two.

Author J. Mark Boliek is a former football player and military man, a computer programmer and musician, and the son veteran broadcast journalist Dave Boliek of WTVD-TV. He began working on The Bruinduer Narrative nine years ago. His initial 157-page draft turned into three distinct stories in which the first tale, “The Mahogany Door,” evolved into a 353-page children’s fantasy novel. He is currently working on the other two books in what he expects to be a trilogy.

“The Mahogany Door” features cover art an interior illustrations by California artist Lauren Gallegos. It is published in paperback with a typeface and size optimized for

The soundtrack CD accompanies the book.

young readers ages 10 and up. The songs on the accompanying CD, written primarily by the author, reflect certain themes in the book, from “All Alone” to “Here Is My Pride, Here Is My Anger.”

For more information about “The Mahogany Door” by J. Mark Boliek, published by Split Rail Books, go to www.jmarkboliek.com. Each track from the accompanying CD can be heard at www.jmarkboliek.com/the-music) and the book with CD can be ordered directly at www.jmarkboliek.com/cart.

Facts about The Mahogany Door:

Author: J. Mark Boliek.  Publisher: Split Rail Books.  Publication Date: May 2011.  Genres: Fantasy-Fiction, Adventure-Fiction.  Illustrator: Lauren Gallegos.  Age Group: 10 and up.  ISBN: 978-0-9832900-0-1.  Paperback: 353pp.  Retail Price: $24.95Currently available:  www.jmarkboliek.com.

About J. Mark Boliek:

J. Mark Boliek, the author of “The Mahogany Door” and the entire Bruinduer Narrative series, grew up in Eden and Durham, North Carolina. An avid writer and athlete, he received a football scholarship after high school but chose to join the Navy instead. He graduated from Concord University in Athens, WV, in 1997 and lived in Wilmington, NC, for a while, where he began to develop The Bruinduer Narrative, a fantasy-adventure series for young readers, as well as the soundtrack CD that accompanies “The Mahogany Door.” Mark and his wife Jill now live in Durham, NC, where they own and operate Split Rail Books and Split Rail Multimedia LLC. For more information on the author and “The Mahogany Door,” visit www.jmarkbolief.com and his Facebook page.