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The Thresher Ghost
by Spencer Compton

Published: 2021-11-11T00:0
Paperback : 204 pages
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Los Angeles, 1962.

Dr. Wiley McCoy has a successful medical practice, movie-star good looks, and a substance abuse problem. When a young woman dies on his operating table, his life and career are destroyed.

Romulo DaVinci is a conniving Voodoo shaman with supernatural powers to ...

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Introduction

Los Angeles, 1962.

Dr. Wiley McCoy has a successful medical practice, movie-star good looks, and a substance abuse problem. When a young woman dies on his operating table, his life and career are destroyed.

Romulo DaVinci is a conniving Voodoo shaman with supernatural powers to resurrect the dead.

The disgraced doctor and the medical adventurer are thrown together on a gonzo journey through the seminal events of the 1960’s including the JFK assassination, the Apollo moon landing, and the Manson killings. Along the way, they commandeer a U.S. nuclear submarine and encounter real-life characters from bonkers plutocrat Howard Hughes to ruthless Haitian leader Papa Doc Duvalier.

The Thresher Ghost is a carnival ride through a tumultuous decade--its music, its conspiracies and its scandals--as McCoy and DaVinci cross oceans and medical boundaries in a duel between science and magic.

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Excerpt

A flashing light beyond the surge and moments later a small launch glided out of the darkness. McCoy scrambled up off the wet sand onto the military-grade Zodiac, lurching past a light machine gun mounted at its bow.

Two men in navy blue jumpsuits pulled him aboard. The larger of the two, who seemed to be in command, sported a pistol strapped to his thigh. The right side of his face was deformed as if from a chemical explosion or a fire.

McCoy eyed the man closer. Lost most of the mandible and its periosteum. Someone did a good reconstruction job.

The other man revved the engines. The launch bounced over the waves, trailing a phosphorescent wake in the night.

“Smoke?” McCoy asked. Half Face shook his head.

McCoy lit a Tareyton on the fourth match and took a long drag. He wondered again about Hughes’ “associate on the high seas” and what he’d “accomplished.” Monkey glands, mineral water or megavitamins. These guys always have a gimmick.

And then he saw it.

A long, low island in the darkness. The moon glided out from behind a cloudbank and a black steel hull nearly a football field in length appeared. A green light blinked once from high atop her winged conning tower. The man at McCoy’s side returned the signal, and the enormous underwater ship turned on her docking lights.

A submarine from God knows whose Navy.

The tiny launch bobbed in the waves while the man who’d been steering cast his bowline up into the darkness. A moment later, a rope ladder tumbled down, and Half Face gestured for McCoy to start climbing. “Use both hands, mon,” he said.

McCoy could barely see through the spraying sea and inky dark. When he reached the deck, he staggered to the steel sail, climbed the mounted rungs to its top, then clanged down two more ladders inside. McCoy noticed there were no markings or numbers on the ship. Anywhere.

Oh God, where am I? view abbreviated excerpt only...

Discussion Questions

1. What are your memories of the events of the summer of 1969: Chappaquiddick, the moon landing, the Manson killings, and Woodstock? How did these events change how Americans viewed themselves?
2. How would the reporting on, and our understanding of, the seminal events of the 1960s be different if they had occurred in the age of social media?
3. Who is your favorite character? Who is your least favorite? Why?
4. The music of the era permeates the storyline. How do the lyrics amplify the scenes they are associated with?
5. It is said that magic is science that has yet to be discovered. Discuss the tension between magic and medicine in the book. Does either prevail?
6. Kennedy’s fate at the end of the book is ambiguous. What do you think he did next?

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