The annual Howard Zinn Book Fair, held on December 3 at the Mission Campus City College of San Francisco, once again brought together an eclectic mix of authors, activists, and readers. Among the vibrant array of voices, Bootstrap Publications' authors, Dr. Nicholas Baham III and Damien Hunter, seized the opportunity to showcase their upcoming releases and offered eager readers a chance to preorder their much-anticipated books.
Dr. Nicholas Baham III's "The People’s Detective" captivates readers with a gripping narrative that delves into the underreported stories of sex trafficking in the Bay Area. The novel introduces us to Aurora Jenkins, an investigative journalist and Black Lives Matter activist, whose relentless pursuit of the truth unravels a sinister alliance of organized crime, corrupt police, and elites. As she goes missing, Sonny Trueheart, a former Oakland Police Department detective and whistleblower, steps into the shadows to uncover a vast criminal conspiracy. Armed with intuition, a snub-nose revolver, and a commitment to justice, Trueheart becomes a symbol of revolutionary awakening in the Black communities of Oakland. The novel adds a unique Oakland aesthetic, martial arts mayhem, and the thrill of a bank heist to the classic noir detective genre.
Damien Hunter's "The Madrinega Missiles" catapults readers into the hotbed of political violence in Central America at the height of the CIA's war on Nicaragua in 1983. Against the backdrop of intrigue and guerilla war in neighboring Madrinega, the story follows Leighton, an American agent posing as a journalist to infiltrate La Frente, a group of insurgents, to locate and extract four cruise missiles they have seized from the government. Hunter weaves a tale of suspense and danger as Leighton's provocative reporting leads to a deadly encounter with the Secret Police. Amidst the chaos, he encounters Zorrita, the charismatic revolutionary leader the CIA calls "the new Che Guevara," and an unlikely relationship develops, adding a layer of complexity to the unfolding drama. The stakes are high, and Leighton's life hangs in the balance as he navigates the treacherous terrain of deception and divided loyalties.
The Essence of Book Fairs
Book fairs serve as vibrant platforms for authors to connect with readers, fellow authors, and literary enthusiasts. These events play a crucial role in promoting diverse voices and providing exposure. For Bootstrap Publications' authors, the Howard Zinn Book Fair was an invaluable opportunity to share their stories and engage with their existing fans and meet newbies.
Nicholas L. Baham III's Insights
Through the wonderful interaction with activists, readers, writers, and publishers, I learned that the value of The People's Detective: A Sonny Trueheart Mystery, lies in how I foreground issues of social justice and equity in the book and the way that I create characters with deeply intersectional lives and experiences.
The activist and social justice-oriented Howard Zinn Book Fair audience is certainly interested in mystery, but they want characters that reflect their own lives and scenarios that deal with the stories that they care about, stories that are often neglected by mainstream media and publishing. The Howard Zinn Book Fair audience wants something quite different than the guilty pleasure of a police procedural or a gritty noir, and so many readers were excited about the prospect of a mystery and detective novel written from the perspective of an Ethnic Studies Professor.
Damien Hunter's Insights
I think my book resonated with the Howard Zinn universe because it consists of people who are educated, politically aware, intelligently skeptical, and willing to look at the issues of the day through a different lens.
They also have a strong sense of history. Many of them asked me if The Madrinega Missiles is a true story. I answered that it was historical fiction, but nonetheless a story taken from the headlines, because it is strongly based on what was happening in Central America at the time (early 1980's), and I spent many, many hours on research to make the book as realistic as possible. In fact, as I wrote the second half of the book, it was no longer fiction to me — I had a strong sense that I was merely chronicling events that had already occurred — it became that real to me. The story resonates with people concerned about social justice on a global scale, who are well aware of the sometimes malicious effects of American foreign policy abroad, and that's a theme that I consciously wove into the plot, the outcomes of U.S. foreign policy in Latin America.
As these exceptional narratives unfold, readers are invited to join the journey by pre-ordering these thought-provoking books. Dr. Nicholas Baham III and Damien Hunter's works not only entail thrilling storytelling but also a deep exploration of societal issues that resonate with readers across diverse backgrounds.
Visit the Bootstrap Publications website to secure your copy and be part of the literary movement that challenges and inspires. In a world where stories have the power to shape perspectives and ignite change, your support as a reader is instrumental. Preorder your copies today and contribute to the vibrant tapestry of voices that make events like the Howard Zinn Book Fair so impactful.