An American Gothic tale of tragedy, hope, and reconciliation
The sleepy town of Winter Haven holds a secret that has been buried for nearly twenty years. At the heart of the controversy is George O’Briens, who, along with his granddaughter, has been outcast by the community. When Mitchell Sanders, a college student from Boston, arrives to help renovate the O’Brien home, he finds himself entrenched in the family’s dirty little secrets, putting him at odds with his new employers and the citizens of Winter Haven.
Make sure your skeletons are in the closet where they belong.
While attending university on a fine arts scholarship, Joe spent a lot of time playing the guitar, writing songs, and performing with a band. He won the KFC songwriting contest while in college, and no, he wasn't writing jingles about chicken. He also won a battle of the bands.
To support his artistic pursuits, he took time off from college and worked in the oil fields of Wyoming, where he met some interesting characters he could draw upon in his writing. He also spent a few years with a dance group, touring Canada and Europe.
After receiving his English degree, he went to work as a technical writer for Thiokol, the manufacturer of space shuttle rocket boosters. Yes, they're the ones responsible for the 1986 Challenger disaster, long before Joe worked for them.
Joe later taught English in Honolulu, Hawaii, and Berkeley, California. During this time, he began focusing seriously on his writing. If you haven't yet read The Black Garden, please take a moment and read the sample chapters at the bottom of this page.
Radio interview with "The Key to Midnight" out of Pittsburgh, PA.
What dwells in THE BLACK GARDEN?
Joe Bright is available to speak about his novel or about writing, as he did with these lovely book clubs from Cypress, California, and Charlotte, North Carolina. If you are outside of the Los Angeles area, Joe would be happy to speak to your group through Skype or telephone.
To book a speaking engagement or interview, please contact Joe via email: Email Joe Bright
Cypress, California Book Clubs
Charlotte, North Carolina Book Clubs
'The Black Garden' is an enthralling mystery story that will grip readers from the first page to the last.
"A fantastically atmospheric book. You can feel the tension on every page." - Robert Foster, best-selling author of The Lunar Code.
Joe Bright has managed to perfectly blend a large variety of elements to produce a very satisfying read: The dialog is witty and crisp, flowing effortlessly. The prose is beautiful and descriptive, and yet non-effusive; each word obviously carefully chosen. The characters are well developed, and lovable, even with their glaring faults. Humor is a major player in the novel: from joking between characters, to laugh out loud hilarious events.
I would recommend this book to mystery lovers and skeptics alike. It truly has something for everyone, universal appeal. I will definitely be watching for more of Joe Bright.
Lisa Harvey, Books Ahoy!
What is it like to live in a small town where everyone thinks they know what you did? In "The Black Garden", Joe Bright introduces us to a family closed off from the world by rumour and speculation and so embittered by their experience that it is difficult to like them. His affable young protagonist, Mitchell, takes both the reader and the emotionally scarred O'Brien family by the hand and leads them into a brave new world where nothing is as black as it first appears. With strong prose, striking characters and a plot that fairly zips along, Bright has created a scintillating and compelling read that keeps us guessing until the last moment what the truth of the O'Brien secrets may be. Fantastic!
Stef Hall, British Literary Critic
The Black Garden is a good read that shouldn’t be passed up.
Lucille P Robinson, Author/Book Reviewer
The Black Garden kept me on the edge of my seat from the very first page. It has a shocking and abrupt start, which I believed was going to lead onto a murder mystery type narrative. Instead it changes pace completely into what appears to be a rather sedate plot in which a young man has been hired by the O'Briens to clear their house out. However not everything is as it seems. The O'Briens are ostracised by the villagers, but why? Joe Bright has created a superb book; he has managed to perfectly blend a large variety of elements to produce a very satisfying read. The prose is beautiful and descriptive; it flows seamlessly and gives very little away. This keeps the reader guessing as to what it is that the O'Briens are hiding, and why the villagers hate them.
This book is subtle and observant. My favorite thing about it was these occasional moments where the author would make a small observation about a personality trait and I would go "You know what, that's so true! I've seen that in people, the subtlest thing I didn't even notice that I was noticing." This book is great for discoveries like that. I am interested to see more work from Joe Bright.
Valerie Wicks, Author
What an amazing read I can not put it down I'm nearly at the end and I dont want it to finish !! The author Grabs your attention & keeps you intrigued on every single page. This book really should be made into a film!!
I really loved this book, it had great characters, a very gripping plot, which evoked all my emotions and in places laugh out loud funny, Joe, I'm a fan!
Catherine Morton, UK