THE ANAHEIM BEAUTIES VALENCIA QUEEN takes readers back a century, to a time when the country was recovering from WWI, orange groves dominated southern California, Hollywood was a mecca for beautiful young women, and the Klan seemed to stand for God, family, country, and the American Way – or did it?
Taking place in post WWI southern California, THE ANAHEIM BEAUTIES VALENCIA QUEEN is a compelling, multilayered novel which proves that then, as now, validation rackets existed, seducing the lonely, the disenfranchised, the insecure, and the self-conscious, providing them with a sense of fitting in while luring them into behaviors beyond the pale.
In 1924 the Ku Klux Klan took over Anaheim’s city council, plus ten of eleven slots on the police force. In a Roaring 20’s citrus-packing suburb of 10,000 people, where the ethics of Jay Gatsby collide with those of Elmer Gantry, an aspiring high school pitching phenom, fatherless Dean Reynolds, falls under the spell of drop-dead-gorgeous Helen Webber and her rich, agenda-driven father.
Helen, whose face graces orange crate labels shipped around the world, is using Dean as local arm-candy while sleeping her way through Hollywood. Her father and his “connections” all turn out to be Klansmen. After a shadowy motorcar accident kills a teammate on Dean’s prom night, Dean has no one safe to turn to. But the Klan is there to “help”.
Steeped in little-known California history, the story gives us characters whose problems, moral dilemmas, strengths and weaknesses are as relevant today as they were in 1924. Yesterday meets today in this provocative coming-of-age historical novel.
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About the author
A Southern California native with a passion for history and construction, D.J. graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic with a master’s in engineering in the twilight of perceived American innocence. Leaving the Air Force after the Vietnam War, D.J. returned to California and built a career as a licensed civil and mechanical engineer responsible for designing and overseeing construction of over $100 million dollars’ worth of water and wastewater infrastructure in California and Arizona. A death threat from an insurance company in the aftermath of the Northridge Earthquake overturned his world and launched him in a new direction.
Figuring novels are a sneaky way to write about the truth, and captivated by L.A.’s master storytellers, the likes of Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain, James Ellroy, and Ray Bradbury, he began writing fiction. . History, particularly California history, is D.J.’s hobby. HeI writes what he calls “Red Car Noir,” tales of the dark side of the American dream typically set around Los Angeles in the early 1900’s, when a veneer of front-page optimism whitewashed the corruption that shattered lives on boulevards of broken dreams. Married for over 40 years with one grown son, two grandsons and a golden retriever, Sunny, D.J. and his wife divide their time between Irvine and La Cañada, California, and when not writing, he can often be found exploring local history and cooking. He is an accomplished amateur chef who sometimes even shares his recipes!