This is the story's backstory

More info about the book

The basic facts

The title “Rubrum” (ROO-brum, Latin for Red) refers to a scarlet convertible central to the story.

The hero is an auto mechanic who pathologically isolates himself. Extensive back story explains this seclusion and arcs toward emergence.

The deliberate unfolding delights fans of densely-detailed works by writers such as James Lee Burke, Larry McMurtry and Richard Russo.

The extended resolution climaxes in a deadly confrontation.

The pre-publication manuscript contains approximately 112,000 words.

Six-word summary:

Other intriguing aspects

Originally drafted in 160 consecutive days, one new Facebook post at a time, between June 16 and November 22, 2014.

Includes a prominent motif of SELF-CHECKOUT, referring to (a) convenient but anti-social self-serve payment and (b) the hero’s continual introspection.

Contains a significant presence of real-life companies Sheetz and Lowe’s.

A major character is based on a beloved high-school teacher who the author had not seen for 28 years until giving her a copy of the story.

The novel bears a unique relationship to a literary classic (click here to spoil the secret)

Discussion topics for book clubs include:









Self-Checkout (introspection)

A scene-selection-style list

Dozens of cinematic scenes in the book offer drama, suspense, romance, humor, action and mystery. A list of these might include:

  1. Working blind
  2. Snack cake standoff
  3. Amateur haircut
  4. Burning Miss September
  5. Phantom speaks
  6. Rain on the dead
  7. Dangers to come
  8. Dancing at school
  9. Underage driver
  10. Bluffing Mr. McSweeney
  11. Walking under stars
  12. Rolling the golf cart
  13. The convertible
  14. Black banana
  15. Meeting the boyfriend
  16. The deer
  17. The attack
  18. The vow
  19. Drive at sunrise
  20. Defending mother and child
  21. Talking to God
  22. The Sunday letter
  23. Phoning and falling
  24. Sunset in the park
  25. Apparition
  26. Tree planting
  27. Swear snacks
  28. Seasonal shop intervention
  29. Burlap walls
  30. Sweltering sunset
  31. One kiss
  32. Lost at The Bend
  33. Working catatonic
  34. Obituary revelation
  35. Police interview
  36. Abandoned purchase
  37. At the lake
  38. Splintered door
  39. Traffic stop
  40. Leaving earth
  41. Oncoming truck
  42. Nothing moving
  43. Car returns
  44. Answers in Paint
  45. Wiped memory
  46. Stocky and Cadaver
  47. The offer
  48. The question
  49. The fight
  50. The key
  51. The agreement
  52. Tiny passenger
  53. The sign 


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