Author, Co-Author, and My Brother
By Jeff Salter
It’s always great to have my big brother drop in on me for my Hound Day blog, but I’m especially pleased to be able to feature his newest novel, The Flight of the Schimmerplotz — released last month by Dingbat Publishing.
As Charles explains in his dedication, the primary characters of this new novel were born out of one of his short stories in our collection – Death Do Us Part – released a year ago, also by Dingbat Publishing. Our publisher so enjoyed the interplay between Dr. Brains and Mr. Brawn, that she suggested Charles feature them in a further adventure… a complete novel. And the result is the title I’m spotlighting today.
Back Cover Blurb
The Flight Of The Schimmerplotz
When a shimmering, threatening window suddenly opens in the park and envelopes his young daughter Sara and partner Brex Herndon, what’s a secret agent to do? Brex, alias Dr. Brains, is the smartest human in the world, while Agent Jack Rigalto, alias Mr. Brawn, is his bodyguard. Both work for the recently opened United States Space Force in its top secret Cosmic Intelligence Group.
Soon they uncover the most ghastly plot ever to conquer the world, one which has been in the works for thousands of years, since the Tower of Babel. The shimmering Schimmerplotz window carries them back and forth in time where they must unravel the conspiracy, unmask the diabolical creatures behind it, and save civilization, battling primitive savages, humanoid giants, and monstrous creatures along the way.
Can Brains and Brawn succeed?
The most exciting and funny new buddy action team of heroes in years!
Charles Salter has been a writer all his life. A professional member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, he has published about two dozen books and hundreds of articles in magazines and newspapers, as well as numerous U.S. Government Technical Reports. His adult mystery novels and juvenile non-fiction books have earned excellent reviews and won various awards. Currently retired, he served for 28 years as a Medical Service Corps officer in the United States Army.
Suddenly I saw them both staring into some kind of void. I don’t know how it happened, or even what happened, but there was something suddenly hanging in the sky in front of them.
I looked up and made out a vague shimmering, like a mirage in the desert, but with a defined border. A large window in the sky which suddenly appeared, displaying something within which had caught their attention.
I was 25 or 30 yards behind them and could not see into the window, but I tried to angle around behind it and see what lay on the other side.
There was no other side. Behind it I saw only the same trees, bushes, and sidewalk as before, only from a different angle. I watched in astonishment as both of them appeared to be standing there, just staring into empty space — mesmerized, totally engrossed in what they saw through it and on the other side.
Then a strange but loud and angry voice emanated from the void. “Ur dicto bhaggrot.”
At least that was the way my ears perceived it. I had no idea what the voice actually said, but my brain picked up the signals from my ears and tried to translate them into English lettering. I also had no idea what it meant, if anything. For all I knew, it held no more significance than a dog’s bark, a walrus’ grunt, or a clap of thunder.
I heard Brex answer back, “Nidrasan per geblin! Nid!”
Then Sara screamed.
Brex shouted, “Run, Sara! Run to your daddy! I’ll stop this guy.”
I bolted to the front side of the window and saw humanoid hands, dirty and covered in coarse hair, emerging from it and grabbing Brex around the neck in a chokehold.
Crying, Sara flew towards me and leapt into my arms.
As one of my brother’s frequent beta readers, I had eagerly read one of the earlier drafts of this manuscript… back around a year ago, I guess. I think many readers enjoy a great “buddy” story and this one features two individuals who could not be LESS alike. Polar opposites, as a matter of fact. Yet, throughout their lives – since childhood – they’ve been best friends. Each knows the other almost as well as the other knows himself… and their opposite strengths are a superb complement to deal with each unique situation they face. Now, “Dr. Brains” is something of a national resource… and “Mr. Brawn” has been engaged – 24/7/365 – to protect him.
This novel also features Agent Jack Rigalto’s loving wife, Sara, and their daughter… plus their wonderful family dog.
Brex Herndon [Dr. Brains] is currently single, and sometimes wonders if his superior intellect and inferior physical attributes might prevent him from ever finding a female match. Are there any ladies out there who could love Brex for his brains and personality (despite his scrawny appearance)?
My second reading of this story was the finished novel and I had forgotten enough from my earlier exposure that most of it felt fresh and new. This is a fast-paced mix of action, intrigue, science, and humor… with LOTS of history! [There were times – as I read the earlier draft – that I’d come to a historical reference and contact my brother with the question, “did that really happen?” In every instance I can now recall, his answer was YES it DID!]
The creative fight scenes are vivid and intense… and the reader can legitimately wonder how on earth will Jack’s brawn and Brex’s brains work together to enable them to survive?
In contemporary times with so many dysfunctional family situations in view, it’s refreshing to witness Jack’s devoted relationship with his loving wife and their precious daughter. His wife’s twin sister is also on hand to baby-sit occasionally and her presence sometimes creates other interesting situations.
To me, it’s also heartening to see the deep patriotism of this dynamic duo. Next to their loved ones, they are most devoted to their nation, America — and they’ll sacrifice nearly everything to come to its aid.
I think it’s a normal part of growing up (among many young boys) to crave to BE the heroic alpha male who stands tall and firm when others quake and falter… even if the closest you ever get to it will be through viewing an action film or reading an adventure tale. But there’s also something quite captivating about being the “smart” guy in the mix… the one who can think faster and better than the bad guys and come up with strategies and devices that work in concert with the buddy who has all the brawn.
As a flesh-and-blood person, I have neither brawn nor brains — at least not to the level of these two terrific characters, Jack and Brex. But in reading this tale, not only do I root equally for each of them… but at times I can imagine what it must be like to BE either one.
I’ve hosted my brother, Charles, at least twice on my 4F1H blogs and at least once on “Take Two on Romance.”
His previous appearances were:
Charles’ Question for Readers
“Do you like a buddy team of heroes who can make wisecracks as they face mortal danger? In real life crises you have faced, do you appreciate someone who can break the tension with humor?”
[JLS # 523]