SAILOR

 Tom Epperson's second novel, SAILOR, was published by Forge Books on March 27, 2012.  At the beginning of the book, a young woman and her 10-year-old son are hiding out in the Witness Protection Program in a small town in Oklahoma.  Gina has married into a prominent New York Mafia family, and her testimony has sent her abusive husband and some of his associates to prison.

 Now she's got a million-dollar contract on her head.  A crooked U.S. marshal tips off the mob as to her whereabouts.  She barely escapes a mob hit man, and she and her son Luke flee across the country.  They wind up in a small Southern California beach town, where they are befriended by a mysterious mild-mannered guy named Gray.

 Gray tells Gina he's been recently discharged from the Navy, and now is just drifting around.  Gina tells Gray that she and Luke have come to California on a vacation.

 Meanwhile, six expert killers leave a trail of blood and horror as they hunt across America for Gina.  When they finally show up in the peaceful little beach town, Gray finds out who Gina really is--and Gina learns the astonishing truth about Gray.

 This quiet, gentle young man has a violent past he's been trying to put behind him.  Yet if he's to save Gina and Luke from the mob assassins, he'll have to use every deadly trick he's ever learned.  SAILOR brings the simple nobility of SHANE into the brutal blood-drenched world of NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN.


 

JAYNE MANSFIELD'S CAR

JAYNE MANSFIELD'S CAR, written by Tom Epperson and Billy Bob Thornton, and directed by Thornton, premiered at the Berlin Film Festival on February 13, 2012, in front of a wildly enthusiastic audience (click here for Andrew Pulver's review in the Guardian, and here for Pulver's interview with Billy).

The movie takes place in the small Alabama town of Morrison during the summer of 1969.  Jim Caldwell (Robert Duvall) is the richest and most powerful man in the county.  He lives on a big ranch outside of town. He has three sons, Skip (B.B. Thornton), Carroll (Kevin Bacon), and Jimbo (Robert Patrick) and a beautiful former Miss Alabama daughter Donna (Katherine LaNasa).  Jim also has a huge hole in his heart, created some 20 years ago when his wife Naomi went to England on a vacation, met a wealthy stockbroker, then divorced Jim and moved to England and married the stockbroker.

As the movie opens, Jim Caldwell receives a disturbing phone call from London.  Naomi has died.  Her last wish was that she be taken back to Alabama to be buried.

Soon thereafter, Naomi's husband Kingsley Bedford (John Hurt) and his children Phillip (Ray Stevenson) and Camilla (Frances O'Conner) arrive in Morrison with the mortal remains of Naomi.

 The Bedfords and the Caldwells have never met.  Jim Caldwell blames Kingsley for having ruined his life, and Kingsley regards Jim with equal hostility and suspicion.  The situation is rather different with their children.  Donna falls hard for the handsome Phillip, and Skip is immediately smitten with the beautiful but eccentric Camilla.

One thing the dissimilar families do have in common is war.  Jim and Kingsley are both survivors of the carnage of World War I, while Skip and Carroll Caldwell and Phillip Bedford all underwent horrific experiences while fighting in World War II (Jimbo Caldwell was in the army but never went overseas, so feels guilty because he never fought and jealous of his brothers because they did).  All these men are dealing with the psychic and in some cases physical wounds inflicted by war.  And a third generation of Caldwells could be going off to fight:  Mickey, Carroll's son, and Alan, Jimbo's son, are both turning 18, and are in danger of being pulled into the maelstrom of the war raging in Vietnam.

JAYNE MANSFIELD'S CAR is a comedy/drama about the unlikely coming-together of two families, the Caldwells and the Bedfords, who turn out to be not nearly as different as they think they are.  Over the course of a few days, secrets will be revealed, love will be made, faces will be slapped, shots will be fired, and the relationship between Jim Caldwell and Kingsley Bedford will unfold in a way that neither man could have ever expected.  And what does any of this have to do with Jayne Mansfield's car?  Well, watch the movie and you’ll see!

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Watch this space for news of the next Tom Epperson appearance!