Robert Reed Publishers
FORTY ACRES by Gerard F. Murrin
Dynamic New Novel Explores Land-Use Crisis
This spellbinding tale, filled with engaging characters, heroes and villains alike, confronts the land-use crisis in America. With chilling affect, this story foreshadows the look and feel of the mid-21st-century given the continued loss of land to commercial and residential development.
In Murrin’s fictional America, the federal government enacts radical legislation in an attempt to control land-use practices, resulting in a political landscape that is unrecognizable. Local power brokers quickly learn to manipulate the new system, outlawing dissension groups while continuing to devour open space at an alarming rate. However, despite being driven underground, the tiny Land Preservation Society (LPS) remains determined to save as many acres as they can.
Aided by the courageous and beautiful Tamara Hopkins, Professor Tom Sanders picks up the torch for Andy Cemanski, the aging warrior who has fueled the preservation fight for decades. Sanders leads the LPS council’s efforts to sway public opinion by exposing the shady practices of greedy developers and their corrupt political partners. Their mission sees Tamara turning heads at the county land auction and outbidding John Gardner, a well-connected construction mogul. But then, the council embarks on a journey they never imagined when Tamara parleys an alliance with a sworn enemy.
The LPS have vilified dashing development mogul Arthur Flemming; however, his newly-formed ideas for curbing construction projects prove too tempting for Tamara to resist. Flemming fans a rumor that an ancient Native American burial ground lies beneath Gardner’s prized Meador Farms property. The land is situated in one of Ogle County’s last pastoral settings, and Flemming convinces Tamara that the burial ground rumor has potential for squashing Gardner’s development plans. However, Flemming’s sincerity toward helping the LPS remains in question and threatens to tear the council apart.
In the meantime, Tom Sanders makes shocking discoveries surrounding dubious land transactions involving, among others, Nathan Coulter, the county’s most powerful government official. But the LPS council soon learns that their ruthless adversaries will stop at nothing to thwart their investigations, and Tom, Tamara and Andy become embroiled in a lethal game of cat and mouse.
The council endures crushing blows, and their future hangs in doubt before finally receiving another break. When Tamara confronts Flemming regarding his true intentions, he feels compelled to demonstrate that he is a changed man by dropping the ultimate bombshell on Nathan Coulter. He knows intimate details about the politician’s dirty secrets, which if revealed just might be enough to allow the reform party to unseat the reigning County Clerk. But alas, Coulter’s evil empire is more powerful than even their worst nightmare, and as Tom Sanders struggles to keep the LPS together he pins his last hope on holding the line at Meador Farms. Tom is in for the race of his life, as he desperately tries to save his beloved property before the LPS is completely destroyed and the entire county is paved over.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gerard (“Jerry”) Murrin also authored Jackson Choice (2005) and Chez Paradise (2011) a human-interest story that explores the unexpected relationships and internal struggles a small town restaurateur experiences after he moves from the city. Jerry Murrin’s love of the outdoors led him to question land use, or misuse, in America and inspired him to write FORTY ACRES. He lives with his wife Tracy, and between them they have five teenagers. Jerry’s fulltime career is as a financial officer for a company outside of Chicago.