Vernon author completes third novel

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Previously published Vernon author Michael J. Ganas recently completed his third novel, Angels In The Balance, a fictional action-adventure war tale. Having entered his work in the 2018 London Book Festival Competition, the story was voted the winner of the Unpublished category (

Currently, Ganas has not yet published the novel, a rollercoaster ride to high adventure spanning 176,000 words, or approximately 500 pages at font 12. With his latest work receiving the literary award, he is hoping to attract the attention of a literary agent looking to represent him in procuring a book deal with a mainstream publisher.

If that doesn’t happen, he will go ahead and self-publish.

Interwoven into the plot are some of the events the author had experienced just prior to being drafted and during the Vietnam War. Written in the first person, this adventure unfolds through the eyes and thoughts of the main character, Troy Leonidas (entirely fictitious), a college dropout who, after being drafted into military service, aspires to become a helicopter pilot. Unfortunately, his dream is crushed for lack of 20/20 eyesight. Nevertheless he elects to go to Helicopter Mechanics School instead. If he can’t pilot ‘em, then at least he’ll get to fly on ‘em. Early on in the novel, we find Troy and his best friend, Bobbie, driving from Los Angeles back to Long Island, New York, the place where they grew up, to be inducted into the Army. Stopping for a meal at a farmhouse run by an elderly couple somewhere in Kansas,

Troy inadvertently picks up a strange companion, though he doesn’t realize it until later in the story. It is the spirit of Adam, the elderly couple’s grandson whom they lost in the Vietnam conflict. It is the old gent who tries to set Troy straight on a senseless war, telling him he would be better off heading up to Canada rather than become expendable fodder. The old guy also apprises Troy of the health risks posed by Agent Orange, the dioxin used by the military to defoliate the triple canopy jungles used by the North Vietnam Army (NVA) and Viet Cong. Pa Kettle, as Troy comes to think of the old man, goes on to sermonize about the flagrant corruption in Washington, with fat cat politicians and lobbyists growing rich off the deaths of countless GIs who are nothing more than expendable fodder in their eyes. With Adam gone and the couple now too old to take care of the daily chores in running the farm, the farmer mentions that it won’t be much longer before the bank repossesses their land. Feeling empathy for the old farmer’s plight, Troy and Bobbie move on to complete their cross-country journey.

As the story progresses, we find that Troy is at war with himself. He doesn’t like having to kill a people he doesn’t consider to be his enemy and yet fate continues to put him in situations where it is unavoidable. His instinct for survival seems to outweigh any moral inhibitions that would otherwise restrain him from doing just that. But then circumstances arise to change his outlook. That’s when he and several others find themselves embarking on a perilous mission, a covert one in which the Army is totally unaware. They have set out to free a village of Montagnards enslaved by Phnom Woo, a vicious NVA rogue colonel who uses them for mining high grade emeralds in the mountainous sanctuary of Laos.

Though the genre can be labeled action-adventure, the storyline is further advanced with heavy doses of paranormal twists and turns.

Ganas, who served in the Vietnam Conflict with the 17th Air Cavalry as a crewchief/door gunner on both Slicks (Hueys) and Scouts (Loaches) during 1969-1970, has also received book awards for his first two novels, The Girl Who Rode Dolphins and its sequel, Dolphin Riders.

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