Reviews By Prominent Authors & Critics

“Putnam’s latest displays the same quirky humor as earlier books with artist protagonists but Abner is also a dead serious dissection of all the forces at work to punish sincerity and heroism in modern American life. From the way he embodies humility and patience—and courage, when it is required—Byron Oglethorpe is a new kind of American hero: one whose highest hopes are realized by keeping his feet on the ground and wisely recognizing the origins of his good fortune.”

— Gerald Duff Author of the novels Graveyard Working; That’s All Right, Mama; the Memphis Ribs series; Coasters; Recently inducted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame.

Abner D Day

By Jeff Putnam

Byron Oglethorpe has been swept into a corner by his career moves. Once a novelist with high hopes for critical success he is now house-sitting for Russian academics on an island off of Cape Cod, barely subsisting on a daily ration of one layer in a two-layer tin of sardines. Here he is tracked down by Travis Burton, the publisher of one of his two novels and six other books for hire.

Despite the death of the subject of his last book for Burton (“the murdered man had been a motivational speaker and an Arab, attributes that could have been fatal for a variety of reasons”). and disdain for the older man’s dissolute way of life, the cautious Oglethorpe agrees to do another biography for the Burton and Hall imprint—this time of the great monumental minimalist Wally Wilkes, who has not returned for months from a spelunking expedition near his property in France. His widow, his daughter and two of her friends are continuing to manage the Wilkes Inn in his absence: a sprawling resort in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada range in California, where they maintain, in addition, a sculpture garden which displays the great man’s major works.

The Inn is presently being expanded using hemp-lime building material by a more than six-foot builder by the name of Eleanor Auchincloss, who quickly becomes the reason Byron is glad to have taken Burton’s assignment. (Though Oglethorpe is six foot six , Ellie is fifty pounds heavier; at a meager hundred and twenty pounds, finding a suitable partner has been hard for Byron.)

Though the women running the Wilkes Inn are honest and well-intentioned, behind their backs, while Wilkes was alive, there was a brisk trade in THC-containing cannabis. As the inn’s new night man Byron’s stock goes even higher with the women when, by his courage and cleverness, he averts a murderous attack by one of the cartels Oglethorpe’s friendship with Burton never wavers though their financial circumstances are now reversed, as Oglethorpe is about to become the world’s wealthiest night auditor.

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Other Novels By This Author


About the author

Born in New York and educated mostly in New England and California, Jeff Putnam traveled extensively throughout his life, working professionally as a singer, with periods of settlement in France and Spain. In Europe he sang in opera houses and was successful busking in cafes and on the streets. After a trip to Dallas, Texas, to be with two children of his second wife he met Jane Howle, also a writer, and married her. Ms. Howle saw promise in four books (among many) that Putnam had written about his life, and published them under a new imprint called Baskerville Publishers (after a family name) which went on to publish more than fifty books by promising or neglected authors like her new husband. Putnam worked for her as editor-in-chief under a different name (Samuel Chase) throughout the 90s. Health issues forced the sale of Baskerville to a Fort Worth businessman but when Putnam recovered he continued to run it from 2000 to 2004, and then began publishing with his own imprint (Avenue Publishers). From 2003 the couple have dwelt off and on in Canada, where Putnam has sung with Opera New Brunswick and given concerts in New Brunswick and Maine (in 2003 he was Colline in a production of La Bohème by Maine Grand Opera; in 2007 he had a part in an Opera New Brunswick performance of La Traviata). He and his wife now reside in Dallas close by their son Samuel and Christian, a son by another marriage. Putnam has daughters in Florida and Belgium. His Belgian daughter, Justine, ran a restaurant for some years in Antwerp and now runs a company that translates and edits books for Belgian authors. Jeff and Jane are now contemplating retirement in West Texas after Jane has built her dream house there of hemp-lime construction (see Abner DDAY).