A Novel
by Roger Alan Skipper

Chase Road/July 2015

Pitch-perfect dialogue, a skillfully drawn supporting cast and a memorable portrait of the changing face of Appalachia enhance this impressive character study.- Starred Review. PW

Skipper is a native of Appalachia, and his portrait of the place and its people sounds authentic. He’s also skilled at developing memorable characters, notably Lane and his friend, Nobob Thrasher, whose nickname derives from his wife saying, “No Bob,” to everything he desires. Their alcohol-fueled discussion about the disappointments in their lives is brilliant. Even better is Skipper’s dialogue, which ranges from down-home, to homiletic, obscure, vulgar, and raucously funny. There is a delightful sense of country noir and world-weariness here that hard-boiled crime fans will savor --Booklist

"Pitch-perfect dialogue, a skillfully drawn supporting cast and a memorable portrait of the changing face of Appalachia enhance this impressive character study."

Lane Hollar’s seen little of the world beyond West Virginia—Parris Island and Vietnam—but that was enough. Now, thirty years later, he’s estranged from his only son, Frank, and from society at large. Lane has his grandson, Toby; his daughter-in-law, Darlene; his bait shop; and his banjo, and he desires or needs nothing else.

But then one day, he and Toby are out fishing when they witness a drug-related murder. Suddenly, the boundaries of his world are no longer his to define. An investigation rules the drowning accidental but reveals the witnesses to the perpetrators, and without preamble, Lane is fighting for his life. Caught between inept—or corrupt—lawmen and a stone-cold killer, Lane finds that his long-neglected survival skills are, like Lane himself, obsolete and ludicrous in a world gone mad.

In a rolling war through Appalachia’s forests and towns, Lane must fight not only for his life, but for all the things that it has lacked: love, family, and peace.

About the Author

Roger Alan Skipper has been a potato picker, mason's tender, amusement park worker, roofer, building contractor, lumber and commodities buyer, and manager of a retail building supply outlet.

At the age of 48, shortly after paying his youngest son's final college tuition bill, he walked away from his career in the lumber and building industry to pursue a college degree of his own. He graduated summa cum laude from a four-year school and received the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Graduate Fellowship, which propelled him through the graduate writing program at Vermont College.

To keep his hands callused and his mind tidy, in addition to his writing, he's a luthier of professional-quality acoustic instruments ( He lives with his wife Connie near Oakland, Maryland. There he also plays bluegrass music and wanders around in the forest of Appalachia, where he has not yet lived his entire life. His novels are set in this landscape, in fictional Union County, West Virginia.