Take some behind the scenes intrigue. Add a few recognizable characters. Stir in a flavoring of the headlines we are all exposed to on a daily basis and you have the makings of a pretty fair story. If you happen to have someone who just happens to have the background, experience and knowledge behind the mixture to blend it properly, you have the makings of a real “page turner.”
And, if you season the pate’ with a liberal sprinkling of spirituality, skim off the usual fat of foul language and sexual innuendo, and you will discover a page turner that’s well worth the read.
Guess what? As impossible as I might have thought it would be when I picked this book up, all of the above is what John Culea has managed to accomplish in his first novel. “Light the Night,” published by Victor.
Culea brings his many years as a broadcast journalist to the story wasting no time in bringing his readers into the behind-the-scenes operations of a fictional (but very believable) television newsroom in Los Angeles. The story begins by introducing some of the main players and the hero of the piece, Paul Thomas, a television anchorman with a conscience. The scene for the tale is quickly set through co-anchor Karen Franklin, Paul’s loving wife and two children and a truly despicable boss (who I think I may have worked for once).
The entire work revolves around the title. It is not only well told as the characters in the drama unfold, but it should give Culea’s readers no small amount of food for thought. Just a hint. Think of the campaigns we’ve all been involved with to light up a neighborhood as a statement against crime in the streets. Now, expand that thought to cover an entire city as large as Los Angeles. Add in the reaction of those whose lives and pursuits are found in the dark recesses of society, and you have a glimmer of the story. The concept is not only fascinating, there are times when reading the book, you may even believe it possible.
I confess some amazement that the friendly smiling face so many have come to rely on to review the weeks events for us on Channel 8 News could have developed some of the really nasty characters in this book, but he did. And don’t expect any “pabulum” in this story because Culea’s central character reflects his own Christian beliefs. There’s one situation featuring a security guard, a gang banger and a silenced gun (enough said) that will knock your socks off.
It’s a shame that the weather is still so warm. This would be a great book to read in a dimly lit room with a simmering cup of hot cider on a table next to you as you settle in to an overstuffed chair facing a roaring fire.
All in all, a marvelous read from a talented, very nice man.
Paul McShane of Carlsbad is an author, businessman and journalist.