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Russell Newell Talks about “The Boy and the Bastard”

IR Sticker IR Approved What is the name of the book and when was it published?

The Boy and the Bastard, published on June 17, 2015

What’s the book’s first line? 

“Gus, you smoked the golden boy!” a young man about 27 years old announced as he burst into Gus’s office, a small crowd trailing behind him.

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”.

The Boy and the Bastard is Finding Nemo meets Gone Girl — or Finding Nemo if Nemo had been kidnapped by a cult and had a forbidden love interest!

Told from the point of view of both the father, Gus Delaney, and his seven year-old boy Jack, The Boy and the Bastard is about loss and perseverance, faith and redemption. It’s about what happens when everything you know and love is stripped from you. It explores Kahlil Gilbran’s truism that “Love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.”

When Jack disappears on Christmas day, 1977, Gus’s life unravels as he searches to find out what happened. Was he kidnapped? Is he still alive? Is his ex-wife involved? When the police begin to suspect Gus, he loses everything and descends from the pinnacles of success, where the world adores him, to a private hell on Earth, abandoned and alone.

Meanwhile, Jack is brought into a bewildering world by strange people who tell him he has been chosen and must forget about his old life. Isolated from the outside world, Jack learns to forget about a father he believes stopped looking for him long ago, until unfamiliar, forbidden feelings and the revelation of a dark secret cause him to question everything he once believed.

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event? 

In the summer of 2000, a sixteen year-old girl named Molly Bish disappeared while she was working as a lifeguard at a pond in rural Massachusetts. I thought that a child being kidnapped must be the most horrific thing that any human being could endure. I wanted to explore what it must be like to not know if your child is alive or dead, or being tortured or molested. I decided I’d write about a parent going through the disappearance of a child and see how the character would react to such a devastating event. And then I wanted to capture the horror from a child’s point of view – what it must be like for a young boy to be taken from his family. I did a lot of research.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book? 

The Boy and the Bastard is a thriller, an epic love story, and a coming of age, all in one book. It’s a hero’s journey packed with suspense, imagination, and inspiration that will make the reader think about fate and destiny, childhood and family. It is an authentic and detailed telling.