I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
A young man seeking to escape a small town finds his world turned upside down when the truth of his father’s passing leads to more questions than answers, and a tale of corruption that could put him and his friends in the crosshairs of some dangerous individuals in author John DeSimone’s “Road to Delano”.
Jack Duncan is a high school senior whose dream is to play baseball in college and beyond―as far away from Delano as possible. He longs to escape the political turmoil surrounding the labor struggles of the striking fieldworkers that infests his small ag town. Ever since his father, a grape grower, died under suspicious circumstances ten years earlier, he’s had to be the sole emotional support of his mother, who has kept secrets from him about his father’s involvement in the ongoing labor strife.
With their property on the verge of a tax sale, Jack drives an old combine into town to sell it so he and his mother don’t become homeless. On the road, an old friend of his father’s shows up and hands him the police report indicating Jack’s father was murdered. Jack is compelled to dig deep to discover the entire truth, which throws him into the heart of the corruption endemic in the Central Valley. Everything he has dreamed of is at stake if he can’t control his impulse for revenge.
While Jack’s girlfriend, the intelligent and articulate Ella, warns him not to so anything to jeopardize their plans of moving to L.A., after graduation, Jack turns to his best friend, Adrian, a star player on the team, to help to save his mother’s land. When Jack’s efforts to rescue a stolen piece of farm equipment leaves Adrian―the son of a boycotting fieldworker who works closely with Cesar Chavez―in a catastrophic situation, Jack must bail his friend out of his dilemma before it ruins his future prospects. Jack uses his wits, his acumen at card playing, and his boldness to raise the money to spring his friend, who has been transformed by his jail experience.
The Road to Delano is the path Jack, Ella, and Adrian must take to find their strength, their duty, their destiny.
This was a fantastic read. A truly engaging story that is driven by a wonderful cast of characters that readers will be able to identify with immediately. A young man trying to keep him and his mother out of poverty as he dreams of a life outside of the small town he’s called home finds himself and his friends drawn into a true murder mystery filled with small-town corrupt politics, and the author does a wonderful job of creating realistic characters that bring honesty and reality to the story being told.
Showcasing the hard life led by farmers and their families in the wake of the depression all the way through the late 60’s and beyond, this story also infuses cultural experiences that Jack and his family had before and after his father’s death. What really stands out however is the author’s ability to draw readers into the narrative with vivid imagery and a voice that speaks of artistic mindsets and viewpoints, making the setting and characters really come to life off the page.
This is a must read novel with breathtaking imagery, engaging characters that really connect the reader to the protagonist’s story and an emotional and heart-pounding finale that will have readers hanging off the edge of their seat, this is a truly entertaining and important tale of small town politics and corruption leading to the death of a father and husband, and the struggle of a son to take back what was rightfully his father’s. If you enjoy good historical fiction and drama, then be sure to grab your copy of Road to Delano by John DeSimone today!
About the Author
John DeSimone is a published writer, novelist, and teacher. He’s been an adjunct professor and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University. His recent co-authored books include Broken Circle: A Memoir of Escaping Afghanistan (Little A Publishers), and Courage to Say No by Dr. Raana Mahmood, about her struggles against sexual exploitation as a female physician in Karachi. His published novel Leonardo’s Chair published in 2005.
In 2012, he won a prestigious Norman Mailer Fellowship to complete his most recent historical novel, Road to Delano. His novels Leonardo’s Chair and No Ordinary Man have received critical recognition.
He works with select clients to write stories of inspiration and determination and with those who have a vital message to bring to the marketplace of ideas in well-written books.