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The Load: An Over-the-Road Mystery :: Cross-Country Trucker Dispatched to Adventure :: The dispatch appears to be strictly routine: Pick up a load at a mine in Montana and deliver it to Reno, Nevada. But it doesn't take long before long-haul trucker Jake Winters realizes he's being sent to a ghost town to pick up a load at a mine that closed more than a hundred years ago. Little does he know that a mysterious pick up is the least of his worries. He is soon accused of a crime that has no logical explanation. In Doug White's first novel, The Load: An Over-the-Road Mystery, protagonist Jake Winters takes readers on an unforgettable ride as a cross-country truck driver who finds himself in unusual trouble. Against the beautiful backdrop of the U.S. West, White-who also happens to be an over-the-road trucker-crafts a baffling thriller about an unusual load that mysteriously disappears from a sealed trailer. We first meet Winters behind the wheel of his Freightliner as he is being pulled over by the Department of Transportation and the FBI. Initially he is simply curious about the situation, certain the authorities have no real business with him. But then he learns that his sealed trailer is empty, when it should have been holding a 4,000-piece of mining equipment. And the chief suspect in the case of the missing crusher is none other than he! In the days before, Winters had taken a harrowing drive up a mountain road to J and J Mines in Slippery Gulch. He encounters several people in the old West town, including a waifish boy and the crusty owner of the mine. Winters chalks up an obvious lack of modern amenities to the isolated location of the town. But when the mine owner is mystified by the ballpoint pen Winters presents to sign the paperwork, even the easygoing trucker begins to question the situation.
 
The Editorial: A Voice in the Wilderness :: 2nd Book in the Jake Winters Series :: This is the second in the Jake Winters series, beginning with The Load. Jake is a cross-country truck driver with a spotless driving record, a narrow brush with death in Texas notwithstanding. He covers up to 130,000 miles a year. Beyond driving alone, this bachelor from western New York has no back-home family worries. He is fiercely independent and free of personal and financial responsibility. Jake picks up an antiquated piece of mining equipment from the small town of Slippery Gulch, Montana, forty miles north of Butte, destined for Reno, Nevada. While in the little town, he befriends the boy, Peter Stevenson. The complications surrounding the early life of this child work out to change Jake's simplistic life and outlook forever. Jake considers himself a convenience Christian. He believes in God until his faith is challenged to a breaking point. Somebody above the level of company management finagles Jake into a special assignment. Whether it's God or the devil is not clear. Peter Stevenson, Jake's first passenger ever, convinces Jake that he is the answer to Peter's dying prayer a century ago. Jake is forced to finish raising this little waif who knows nothing of the world beyond the mercantile of Slippery Gulch. The saga of Jake Winters is attracting readers from single moms to perplexed dads to educators bent on hooking boys on books. And now a few girls are hooked on this saga as well.
 
The Gift: A Supernatural Hint to What Peter Is… :: Third Book in the Jake Winters Series :: Late in Jake Winter's trucking career, the cussedly independent bachelor is roped into raising a neglected and abuse child, Peter Stevenson, a waif he met in Slippery Gulch, Montana. During his twenty-two years in the classroom, and as a camp counselor, he'd seen his share of neglected and abused children. But there was nothing in his past to prepare him for Peter. At the time they met, Jake recognized Peter as a neglected and shy child, but quite normal in all other ways. A week later, Jake was informed, Peter's father had murdered the boy in 1901. Peter is a product of the 19th Century, has been traveling in Jake's truck for over a month, and adjusting to his cultural shock in this, the 21st Century, and to Jake and his ways. Many questions pertaining to Peter's life in Slippery Gulch have been answered. But many more questions have come up, such as: Who decided, and why, that Jake is the man for this assignment? How long is this crazy parenting thing going to last? What precisely explains Peter, anyway? Peter does little to satisfy Jake's baffled mind and in new ways compounds his bewilderment. Come Autumn, Peter's challenges don't let up. He spends a week in an elementary public school. Then he experiences Halloween, then Thanksgiving and Christmas—all brand new to Peter. As for Jake, he begins to feel like the boy's actual grandfather. In Topeka, Kansas, the week before Christmas, Jake introduces Peter to a mall Santa. The three are the sole witnesses to Peter's wish to remain with Jake forever. Suddenly inexplicable tingles play up and down Jake's spine. Harder still to explain is an unsigned, handwritten Christmas note found Christmas morning where the snacks had been left the night before. Whoever wrote it makes reference to Peter's Christmas wish. Then there is the unexplainable gift.
 
The Funeral :: Fourth Book in the Jake Winters Series :: Jake Winters and young Peter Stevenson have been together for six months. Christmas morning 2001 was Peter's first Christmas morning ever. While living in Slippery Gulch, Peter never heard of Christmas or Santa Claus. Once he learned who Santa was, Peter was certain Santa would never visit him, since he never had before. Christmas morning, Peter was shocked beyond belief when he found the Christmas tree surrounded by gifts. But Jake, Betty and Jerry (Jake's sister and brother-in-law) were also shocked. Here was a letter to Peter where the snacks had been, written by none of the adults, and a special gift in his stocking that was not there the night before. The mysteries surrounding Peter continued, but the Christmas of 2001 was special for all. With Christmas over, as with all cross-country truckers, it was back on the road for Jake and Peter. Dead ahead lay June 30, 2002, the scheduled data of Peter's new funeral. His first funeral in 1901, in the wicked mining town in Montana had been a mockery of a Christian burial. Now Jake would give Peter a worthy Christian funeral. A beautiful stone honoring Peter would be engraved, and his bones would be reinterred in a modern casket. But repeatedly Jake prayed that Peter would be allowed to remain with him. A week before the funeral, Peter himself became concerned. He worried what would happen to him at that time. Would he be allowed to remain with Jake, or would he be forced to return to the grave? It was a question only the future would reveal.
 
The Separation :: Fifth Book in the Jake Winters Series :: This next book in the Jake Winters series opens in a small ghost town in the West, June 30, 2002. Jake Winters and Peter Stevenson have now been together for one year traveling the roads of the country in Jake's big truck. They are the most unlikely pair you would ever hope to meet. Jake is a burned-out schoolteacher who wants nothing to do with children anymore. He is a fiercely independent solo, cross-country truck driver with no cares or responsibilities outside of his job. Peter is a six-year-old boy. Jake was appointed by God to provide Peter with the childhood he never had. Sometimes it appears God doesn't know what he's doing…but he always does. Peter's father murdered him, June 30, 1901. (Peter is a ghost…or is he?) His funeral in 1901 was a sham, so Jake and some friends decided to have a Christian funeral for Peter, one hundred one years after his first one. As Jake's big wheels kept rolling through 2001, a strong bond formed between Jake and Peter, cemented by love. But as time for his funeral drew near, Peter and Jake worried about what would become of Peter: Would he return to the grave, or would he be allowed to remain with Jake? And why did his mother make her presence known after one hundred-six years? Was Jake about to become the lone wanderer again?

 

Please use the link below to sign my Guestbook and tell me what you think of The Load. I look forward to reading all of your responses!

Thank you for your support.

Doug




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