A boy who fantasizes about Playboy models while his mother recuperates from a serious heart ailment, a grandmother who takes target practice with a nickel-plated .38 caliber revolver in her crowded apartment building in a Detroit suburb, an elderly man who plunges naked into a northern Michigan lake during the late fall while recalling his life, and a police officer who finds a youth murdered under a highway overpass in the wee hours of the morning just outside of the Detroit city limits—these are a few of the stories that comprise Gary James Erwin’s collection of stories, Trail Crossing Sixteen Counties.
"Trail Crossing Sixteen Counties is a moving investigation of love and loss and what it means to be a family. The stories in this collection are rich with beautiful moments, beautiful writing, and Erwin has a real gift at getting to the humanness of a thing. A remarkable debut." – Daniel Abbott, Author of The Concrete
The humanity of Gary Erwin's stories is striking. Each story begins abruptly, enters the private world of his characters and reveals their common struggle for dignity. Erwin is also to be commended for the simplicity of his language and the no-nonsense development of each story. – Richard Dokey, Author
Paperback: 180 pages Publishing date: September 1, 2019 Language: English ISBN-10: 1-951214-06-4 ISBN-13: 978-1-951214-06-7 Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
Gary James Erwin’s stories, essays and journalism have appeared in many journals and publications, including Red Cedar Review, The Sun, Pebble Lake Review, The MacGuffin, Driftwood Review, Third Wednesday, 3288 Review,Adelaide Literary Magazine and Santa Fe Literary Review among others. His work has earned two Pushcart Prize nominations and has been anthologized in The PrePress Awards Volume II: Michigan Voices. In 2003 he took a break from writing to focus on his family and returned to his work in 2018. Currently, he is working on a new novel. He lives with his wife, kids and critters in Clarkston, Michigan, and is the associate vice president of Marketing & Communications at University of Detroit Mercy.
“Erwin's work operates on the same emotional wavelength as Cheever, Carver, and Salinger, with stories that examine and plunge into the deepest layers of our beautiful, flawed humanity." - R.J. Fox, author Love & Vodka: My Surreal Adventures in the Ukraine and Awaiting Identification
“Gary James Erwin writes stories of pain, life, loss and childhood, tales that take place in and around Detroit and in the small towns of northern Michigan. He crafts his stories using strong images that will put the reader in each of the scenes he creates. His detailing is rich and complete, and readers will feel the themes rising up from his imagery to make a very human connection. Intriguing stories that rate worthy of reading again and again.” - M. L. Liebler, author and editor of I Want to Be Once, Heaven Was Detroit: Essays on Detroit Music from Jazz to Hip Hop (both Wayne State University Press) and the new anthology R=E=S=P=E=C=T: Poems about Detroit Music (Michigan State University Press).
“Gary James Erwin’s stories capture a side of life not often acknowledged in the wider world. He shines a light into the gritty darkness of everyday people and lets his characters sparkle like diamonds.” - Peter Barlow, author of Little Black Dots