New from Down & Out Books: Cold War Canoe Club: Stories by Jeffery Hess

New from Down & Out Books …

Cold War Canoe Club: Stories by Jeffery Hess


Publication date: May 22, 2017

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Synopsis … “With his finger firmly placed on sailors’ wartime experiences, Hess delivers a potent, thrilling collection of sharply drawn tales.” —Kirkus Reviews

The stories in Cold War Canoe Club are like vertical launch missiles that explode to reveal a darker side of the US Navy in a time when most of the action took place away from the headlines. Welcome to the period between World War II and the Desert Storm, when enemies were just as likely to be seen on radar as aboard the same ship.

The characters who populate the stories Hess has written face their own doom through dangers—foreign and domestic, including shipmates, spouses, secrets, lies, greed, lust, and bad decisions.

As Cold War Canoe Club unfolds, we witness the darkest recesses of war ships and the men who sail aboard them as well as the women who wait for them in port and at home.

There’s a submarine sinking in frigid waters, a pregnant Navy wife distraught over the Cuban Missile Crisis, a race riot aboard an air craft carrier, fist fights, loose women, bad luck, and bad decisions.

Hess’s sailors and veterans haunt deeply with the authentic sense of people being on ships at sea or at the ends of their ropes as civilians. These stories bristle with noir intrigue and energy, while transporting readers to worlds few have ever seen. A dark exploration of service men, officers, gentlemen, lowlifes, and those trying to navigate troubled waters across oceans and on land.


“Jeffery Hess combines a flair for gripping storytelling with a powerful lyrical sensibility to produce that rarest of birds: a book full of page-turners that read like literary fiction. Like Tim O’Brien and Kevin Powers, Hess writes with absolute authority about the military men whose lives he sees with utter clarity and intimacy.” —Pinckney Benedict, author of Miracle Boy, The Wrecking Yard and Town Smokes

“Eerily timely and rendered with gritty realism, Cold War Canoe Club beckons us to recall a time when actions and attitudes appeared motivated by an entire world perpetually hovering along the brink of utter destruction. Each tightly woven gem of a short story represents a microcosm of the Cold War macrocosm, and dares to expose Hess as a genius for his artful juxtaposition of humanity’s brash boldness with humanity’s amnesic naiveté.” —Tracy Crow, author of Eyes Right: Confessions from a Woman Marine and editor of Red, White, & True: Stories from Veterans and Families, WWII to Present

“Hess is one of those rare talents who tells a great story with compelling characters, pacing and action.” —Terrence McCauley, author of Sympathy for the Devil and The Devil Dogs of Belleau Wood

Cold War Canoe Club presents an eclectic array of situations and stories all tied together by Hess’s hard-edged prose style and deeply-developed characters. In the smart, snappy tradition of Elmore Leonard and James Lee Burke, Hess is a writer who pulls no punches and delivers authenticity in rapid-fire doses.” —Steph Post, author of Lightwood and A Tree Born Crooked

“Smart, poignant, often slyly funny, these are stories that will both take your breath away and take you places you’ve never been before. A true and honest salute to much more than those who serve in the Navy, rich with history real and imagined.” —Fred Leebron, author of Welcome to Christiania and Out West

“Jeffery Hess reminds of the glory days or noir: wayward women, brawling sailors, and shadow-lurking heroes who were too hung over when redemption dawned. If you want a quick literary jab to your heart, any of Hess’s short fiction will do. Just finish burying that body, pal, and read.” —James R. Duncan, author of Blood Republic