Welcome To Saint Angel
Welcome to Saint Angel is a story of development gone mad. In the bucolic So-Cal valley of Santa Rosa de Los Angeles (Saint Angel), townsfolk split into warring camps. Developers want to turn the valley into a sprawling bedroom community and appropriate its meager water supply to grow lawns in the desert. Al Sharpe and his allies want to preserve its natural beauty and rural character. The battle between them is both comic and tragic. The story of one man’s fight to save the place he loves and a rural community’s struggle to preserve its way of life and tight-knit community, the novel speaks to the impact of unbridled development and suburban sprawl on the natural environment and on people’s lives.
When his professor wife and her lesbian lover die in a plane crash, Al Sharpe moves from San Diego to the high desert with his young daughter, Finley, to begin a new life in the canyons of Second Chance Acres. They build a sprawling tree house in live oaks, and Al finds his gift as an inventor. But once development begins in St. Angel, amity ends. The town splits into warring camps: Al’s “Dirt Faction” friends versus Ches Noonan’s developer pals, who buy up St. Angel Valley and seize its water supply. Hills are flattened and huge housing tracts go in everywhere; owls and coyote choruses vanish with the quiet nights. Their home under siege by L.A. suburbs metastasizing into the desert like a devious cancer, Al and his friends fight back. When Ches Noonan invites Realtors to Saint Angel for a “Realty Roundup,” they respond with a “Realty Revenge,” planting scorpions in Realtors’ motel rooms and infusing drinking water with ersatz blood to drive them away; hacker genius Tinkerspoon reroutes planes from LAX to buzz town, and local La Cienega del Diablo Indians put on war paint. It is a pitched battle between land rich Saint Angelinos and small land holders. “You can’t stop progress,” Ches Noonan says, but in the book’s madcap ending, Al and his friends manage to do just that, with a little help from mother nature.
The book is peopled by quirky characters: sultry, irreverent Penny Noonan, Patsy K. Jones—Finley’s hyper-sexed, hyper-cerebral pal—hi-tech slob Andy Sanchez (Tinkerspoon), who hacks into World Bank computers from a sanitized lab behind his tumbledown trailer, Sam Jenson, the novel’s cranky Caliban, Al’s pet pig Wallers, Little Les, Vietnam vet and publisher of St. Angel’s Dirty Underwear, who is run down on his bicycle by “Trinkling Dan the boss’s man,” pudgy Mike and Melanie (M & M), white trash and proud of it, wealthy Ches Noonan, who suffers an efflorescence of facial warts and terrific halitosis as he gobbles up local land, and easygoing, self-deprecatory, endlessly-resourceful Al Sharpe, who reinvents himself as circumstance requires to become a local hero.
[Available: March 15, 2018 & for preorder February 1, 2018]