Virginia Avenue Press
As an imprint of the Nevada Review, Virginia Avenue Press publishes books that interpret Nevada and the West in fiction and non-fiction. Through this effort, we hope to continue in Nevada’s long and astounding literary tradition by providing another opportunity for writers of Nevada and the West to expound upon what makes our geography, our people, and our state so great.
Gambler’s Quartet, by Brad Summerhill:
Gambler’s Quartet, a new novel by Brad Summerhill, is a short, dark novel that will grab hold of you and take you down to the lives of its characters before letting you go to fend for yourself. Johnny Drake and his sometimes estranged mother, Jenny, are vulnerable, especially with respect to each other. They have put each other through a lot, and worse, they have strategically denied much to each other, too. Perhaps their ultimate failure, though, was being vulnerable in Reno, Nevada, a city that is always there to offer something new and hopeful to the free and weak.
About the Author: Brad Summerhill is a writer who lives in Reno, Nevada. His fiction has been published in Red Rock Review and elsewhere.
The Short, Short Hitchhiker, by Stanley Gurcze and edited by Richard Menzies
The Short, Short Hitchhiker is the autobiography of Stanley Gurcze, who spent a lifetime roaming the highways and byways of the western United States in search of adventure. What sets Stanley apart from your typical footloose vagabond is the fact that he has not feet! What he does have is a sympathetic ear, a droll wit, a keen sense of observation, a buoyant spirit, and a unique perspective on the human condition. If you’ve ever felt sorry for yourself or pitied the “less fortunate” among us, this book could make you think again.
About the Editor: Born in Price, Utah, Richard Menzies has long been enamored with the American West, and over the years, he has traveled and documented it with his camera and pen. He has authored hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles and has exhibited his photography widely. His previous book is Passing Through: An Existential Journey Across America’s Outback.
Nevada has long been the backdrop for heartbreak and broken dreams for those who live there and who pass through. H. Lee Barnes’ novel Car Tag shows that it doesn’t matter where-Las Vegas, the desert on the outskirts of Beatty, or death row in a Nevada State Prison-every part of the state offers unique traps and temptations for those susceptible. He shows these classic Nevada literary themes through the lives and trials of the Debecki brothers, Drew and Billy, and their half brother Alex, as they struggle to keep their cracked and broken lives together.
Growing up, they had plenty going against them: poverty, abuse, neglect, and a step father who was as immature as they were artificially mature. To survive, the boys engaged in petty theft and petty lies, violent self-preservation, and the reckless, wild spirits of youth coming of age. To make sense of their world, they had each other, and they had Car Tag, a game they created to prove that they were men.
Like many brothers they grew apart as they grew older. Alex drifted away early from the brothers that never really accepted him. Billy, never breaking from his wild and violent past, spent much of his adult life on death row for killing a rural police officer. Only Drew, a successful police officer in Las Vegas, seems able to care enough to fight for his brother’s life, and more importantly, to bring the brothers back together. Through their various trials, literal and figurative, they learn that no matter how far they had grown apart, no matter how desperate their situations had become, they always had Car Tag, a game that was all the only way they could explain the heartbreak and broken dreams of their lives.
About the Author: H. Lee Barnes lives and writes in Las Vegas, where he teaches English and creative writing at the College of Southern Nevada. In his past lives, he was a soldier, a deputy sheriff, a narcotics agent, a casino dealer, and a martial arts instructor. His short stories have won the Willamette and the Arizona Authors Association fiction awards. Gunning for Ho, his first collection of short stories, was a finalist for the Stephen Turner First Fiction Award offered by the Texas Institute of Letters. In 2009 he was inducted into the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame.
An old man wakes up soaked and cold on the bank of a river that is only vaguely familiar to him. He cannot remember his name. He cannot remember his past. And he has no idea how he got there. He has a more pressing problem, though. With night falling, he must make it to warmth safety. To his surprise, he finds an austere man in the woods who provides him comfort but little more. As they trek towards the woodsman’s village on the other side of the mountain’s peak, the old man slowly gains comfort with his surroundings. He begins to remember his past. And finally, he begins to figure out how and why he wound up on the bank of the river in the familiar woods to begin with.
About the Author: Gary T. Cage holds a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Tennessee and lives in Reno, Nevada. He has been a minister for more than the last 40 years and a college instructor for more than the last 30. His previous writing has been in the realm of Christian theology. This is his first novel.