Every guest at my place is special, and I always say it. They're all special, though, in their own unique ways. Well, today's guest is sure not an exception. He's not only special because I consider him a wonderful friend and fellow author, he's special also because I had the privilege of reading his very first book, a young adult novel titled One Boy's Shadow.
If you want to know how impressed I was by the maiden work of this young author, here's a link to my review of this book (under C. Zampa pen name).
Mr. McCoubrey lives in Margaretsville, Nova Scotia, and he's awfully fascinating and imaginative which is evidenced in his writing.
I could go on all day about this young author but, hey, I can go one better and give you a sneak peek at this haunting, beautiful book, One Boy's Shadow.
So here goes...enjoy!
* * * * *
We pulled into the parking lot of a small restaurant just past the
post office. The place was called the Black Cherry Barn, and true to its
name, it looked like a barn painted with black cherry paint (complete
with a white outlined long-stemmed cherry on the side wall, looking
like a crime scene in a police photograph). We went in the side door and
headed directly over to the booths at the far side of the eating area. I slid
in next to the wall, and Blake sat next to me, across from our parents.
“This seems like a decent place,” my mother said in her cheery first-thing-in-the-morning-I-wish-I-were-still-in-bed-but-I-am-too-excited-to-
“The food here is really good. I had three meals here last week,”
Dad told us.
A waitress approached our booth and slid paper placemats with
historical facts on them in front of us, along with four sets of utensils,
each set wrapped in a napkin. She seemed a bit surprised to see
unfamiliar faces and caught me watching her expression closely. She
laughed and said, “Don’t mind me, I’m just not used to seeing faces I
don’t recognize—’specially so early on a Sunday morning. Usually we
get the before-church crowd or the hangover crowd at this hour of the
We all smiled somewhat awkwardly.
“You folks visiting the area?”
“No, actually we’re moving here. I just transferred to the warehouse,”
Dad informed her.
“Oh hey, that’s great. My boyfriend works over there. Hell, half the
town works there.” She chuckled. I couldn’t help but like her instantly.
“My name’s Doris. It’s nice to meet you folks.”
“Thanks. Nice to meet you as well,” my mother replied. “We’re the
Mackenzies. I’m Karen, and this is my husband, Frey. These are our
sons, Blake and Caleb,” Mom said, pointing lightly to each of us as she
said our names.
“Mmmm, mmm.” Doris shook her head from side to side. “There
are going to be some very happy girls in this town when they see you
I blushed, and Blake laughed.
“Can I get you folks anything to drink? Coffee? Tea?”
“Coffee sounds good,” my father answered.
We all agreed, and Doris said, “Four coffees, comin’ up. I’ll be right
back with them and your menus.”
“She seems friendly.” Dad chuckled
Doris returned some time later with a tray of mugs and a pot of hot
coffee. She handed out the menus and proceeded to pour the steaming
beverage into each of our white ironstone mugs.
“I’m sorry I kept you people waiting like that. I hope I haven’t
held you up from anything. I just can’t help but talk whenever I see
somebody I know. And when I see somebody I don’t know, well I’m
likely to never shut up till I do know ’em.”
“It’s no problem at all. We’re actually putting in a little time before
we meet up with the realtor anyway,” Mom said.
“May I ask, what places you folks lookin’ at? I know most of the
people who’ve moved in and out of this town and might be able to give
you background info. And if you don’t believe that, maybe I’ll admit
that I’m just a little bit curious.”
Dad replied, “Well, to tell you the truth, there aren’t that many
places right here in town we really took an interest in, so we’ve mainly
focused on things in the surrounding areas.”
Doris good-naturedly slapped Dad on the shoulder. “I don’t blame
you at all. Everything in town is rather plain, and the taxes are higher
too.” She stood with the pot of coffee in one hand and her other hand
on her hip.
We were all halfheartedly glancing over our menus. I had
decided before I went inside that if they offered apple pancakes that
I’d be ordering them. Luckily they were listed next to blueberry and
banana as options. I liked blueberries, but bananas were evil. I hadn’t
eaten one since I was nine and took a big crunchy mouthful of one.
That’s right, crunchy. Now we all know bananas shouldn’t be crunchy.
Thankfully, I had the common sense to spit out my mouthful, only to
discover a cluster of black worms. Suffice it to say, bananas and I have
not gotten along since.
“Yeah, so we’ve been looking at places in the county. There’s one
we’re quite taken with that’s just lovely. Frey and I were there Friday,
and we’re taking the boys to see it today. Blake’s actually the one who
spotted the place to begin with.” Mom pointed to Blake as she said this,
in case Doris had forgotten which one of us he was.
“Whereabouts is it?”
“It’s at the end of Wakefield Road,” Blake answered.
Doris’s expression changed, and she seemed to pale somewhat. “You
don’t mean the old farmhouse at the very end, do you?”
Blake gave her a quizzical look. “Yeah. That’s the one. Anything we
should know about it?”
“Umm … well … no, not really. It’s just, well, no one’s lived there
in a long while.” Doris put the pot of coffee down on the table and took
out her pad and pen. “So, what’ll you folks have this morning?”
An hour or so later, when we were back at the motel, I got the
chance to ask Blake something I hadn’t wanted to bring up in my
“Okay, so what the hell happened at breakfast? Whattaya make of
“Hard to say. Maybe it was her dream home or something.”
“I dunno. Seemed like something more than that.”
“Think about it, though. She said she didn’t even know the place
was up for sale, which I betcha anything means that she was saving up
and hoping to buy it herself someday. You heard her say how all the
places in town are so boring and the taxes are high. Plus, she’s got a
boyfriend—they probably live together, and I bet they’ve driven out on
weekends and looked at the place together and made plans for it in their
heads and everything.”
I nodded. “That makes sense.” I thought about it for a minute. “Shit,
we probably ruined her day.”
“It’s not like it was intentional.”
“True enough.” I took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Still, would
be cool if there was something really interesting about the place.”
“Don’t worry, I’m sure there will be.”
* * * * *
Thank you for sharing this glimpse into One Boy's Shadow, Ross. Like I said, it's a wonderful story. And it haunted me for quite some time after I read it.
Oh! And Ross is has another novel in progress, and that makes me very happy! I'm really looking forward to more work from him. Psst....he is a young author to watch for. Take my word for it.
Here's some info on Mr. McCoubrey, buy links and how to connect with him.
Hook up with him!
Thanks, Ross, for sitting a spell with me!