Date Published: March 24, 2022
Publisher: MindStir Media
Two photographs taken on a spring evening in 1950 that seem to show the impossible-we are not alone. A thirteen-year-old girl disappears the same evening, but returns thirty years later without aging a day. A dying detective on the hunt for the answers to one mystery falls afoul of a more profound mystery that calls into question all of human history and the science on which the universe is based. McMinnville is the story of one man's coming to terms with his mortality and the inconceivable, while falling in love for a second time, something he thought was impossible.
Ray Baker is a retired NYPD detective, dying of cancer and dealing with the crushing loneliness after the death of his wife. He wants to make the last few months of his life count by traveling cross country to the places where he grew up. Along the way, he stumbles upon a cold case that took place on May 11, 1950, a few hundred yards from his childhood farm outside of McMinnville, Oregon. At a little past seven in the evening on that day, Evelyn Forsyth was feeding her rabbits when she looked up to see a craft floating soundlessly toward her. She called for her husband, Glenn, to come with his camera. Over a span of a few seconds, he took two photographs before the craft tipped up on edge and sped away. That was the story that appeared in the Telephone Register, McMinnville's local paper under the heading "At Long Last-Authentic Photographs Of Flying Saucer[?]" A month later, the photographs were featured in the June edition of Life Magazine. Were they real or a clever hoax? Ray takes it upon himself to answer this question, applying his considerable detective skills. But in doing so, he steps through the looking glass into a world that makes him question everything. If that was not enough, he also discovers that there is a clock and it is ticking down.
McMinnville is the first book in a trilogy that follows Ray Baker's pursuit of life, love, and the truth, which is most definitely out there.
Read an Excerpt below...
About the Author
Derrick McCartney was born in El Paso, Texas and grew up in Tennessee before moving to the Washington, DC area. Despite a degree in Soviet and East European studies, he made a name for himself as an expert on North Korea. After a stint in the US Government, he has spent most of his career in defense think tanks. He has published several books and articles on international security affairs under his real name. This is his first work of fiction.
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Quotes/Excerpts from McMinnville
1. “I don’t know. I don’t know.” Henry pushed the car to go faster, looking in the rearview mirror. Houses sped by his window as he barreled down South Bridge Street, headlights cutting through the dusk.
“Can you see them? Oh, God. . . . please!” Debra was losing it, afraid to look around, eyes fixed on her rosary beads.
“Shut up!” Henry shouted. Then he realized his tone with his new bride. “Sorry, I don’t see anything . . .” Blackness.
What Henry Roberts remembered decades later as he sat homeless in a cardboard box in a city he did not recognize was something else.
The road was dappled with shadows and light. Trees formed a canopy above the road as he sped along in his brand new DeSoto. The setting sun threw shards of light through the passing trees. Debra sat next to him with her head on his shoulder. A warm breeze came through the window smelling of pine and juniper. Life was perfect.
The newlyweds had been on the road for nearly a week. California gave way to Oregon. The honeymoon in San Francisco now gave way to a drive through the lonely countryside outside McMinnville, Oregon.
He first saw the rabbit from nearly a hundred yards away as the road turned round the bend. It walked on hind legs and stood around five feet tall. As the car drew closer, the rabbit slowed its walk, its swinging arms coming to a stop. It turned its head toward the oncoming car and grinned a grimacing smile that revealed a mass of gnarled teeth. It appeared to snarl.
Henry slammed on the brakes, and things began to move in slow motion. Then all sound stopped, except for the radio, which had been playing “Mule Train” moments before. Now all that came out of the dashboard was static. Walking outside the car but keeping pace with the moving vehicle was Debra. She had somehow gotten out of the car. “How’d she do that?” he thought. She was outpacing the car, which had to be going fifty. Her voice split the silence and the static. “Don’t worry, Henry. They won’t hurt you.”
On May 12, 1950, the police, acting on an anonymous tip, found the black DeSoto overturned and concealed in the bushes off the side of the country road. All indications pointed to a high-speed accident. Except, strangely, there were no skid marks on the road. No scuff marks on the tires. No signs of a rollover. Just a busted top and crushed windshield. And, no bodies.
2. Ray Baker took another drink of whiskey as he sat in his comfy chair awaiting his one a.m. visitors who would whisk him away to his likely demise. Was he just at the wrong place at the wrong time, or was it destiny? He recalled memories of childhood. Could he have avoided this moment or, as sometimes happens in the world of quantum physics, was he entangled by spooky actions at a distance that determined his fate? As the sweep hand made its way to the top of the hour, light came pouring through his living room window. He took one last drink of whiskey, clinking the ice cubes in the tumbler as he placed it on the end table.
“Don’t be afraid,” the voice in his head said before Ray watched the room go to black.
His last thoughts in that comfy chair were of an average day some sixty-two years earlier. He was on a farm far, far away from his apartment on the Upper West Side of New York City. It began like most days for a four-year-old boy—running around, playing hide-and-seek, and losing track of time. But unbeknownst to Ray, before it ended, this ordinary day would turn out to be anything but that for his best friend. Years later, it would challenge everything Ray thought he knew about life and the universe in which he lived.
Three thousand miles away and sixty-two years from that comfy chair in Manhattan, McMinnville, Oregon of 1950 was about as rural as any town in America. Coming out of World War II, McMinnville shared much of the culture found in small towns across the country. It was an era of butch wax and ponytails, of cat-eyeglasses and charm bracelets, and piano recitals of patriotic songs in the park. Farmers in their overalls were not an uncommon sight on the streets of this small town. It was a time of unbridled optimism, as well as fear of the looming nuclear threat in America, but the news of the New York Times was not at the forefront of most people’s minds. The Telephone Register, the local newspaper of Yamhill County, was full of its own important stories, such as the solving of the local crime spree by Sheriff W.J. Jones and Sergeant William Roach. A black-and-white picture of them made the front page, sitting next to a cardboard box full of the stolen articles valued at $300 found in a local resident’s house. The Business Professional Women’s Hat Show luncheon attended by McMinnville women wearing their fanciest headware made the papers in February. Shortly thereafter, the big news of the day was the decision by the city council to rescind its previous injunction against allowing the Ma Jenkins popcorn wagon from using the public streets to conduct private enterprise. The wagon had been a mainstay on the streets of McMinnville since 1930. Ever-present in the pages of the Telephone Register were stories of traffic mishaps like how the soft shoulder on Lafayette Avenue trapped old man Monday’s gravel truck in the mud. Things happened and passed, but nothing that strayed much beyond shouting distance. That was, until May 11, 1950.
“A few weeks ago, I had just gotten home and was reading the paper when I heard Ellie yell from out back where she had been feedin’ the rabbits. Said to grab my camera and come out quick. After I found the camera, I ran out back and saw Ellie pointing at the sky. There was this thing moving slowly across the sky toward our farm.” Glenn laid down the first photograph. “It made no noise. I took a picture right as it was tipping on its edge and began flying away. After finding the thing in my viewfinder, I took a second picture.” Glenn laid down the second picture on Frank’s desk. “Shortly after that, it flew away quick as a dart.”