Thursday, June 9, 2022

Edge of your seat intrigue that keeps one glued to the words...


Polished and engrossing, Reportedly Murdered prospers in every way a murder mystery should with Walters giving his readers a classic slice of journalistic intrigue that delivers much in the way of stylistic verve.

Moving along at a brisk clip Reportedly Murdered is paced like a police procedural with Walters wringing suspense out of the parsing of nuances as protagonist Gregory Thackery digs deeper into the "reportedly murdered" Bordeaux.

The writing is first class and there are more than enough unexpected plot twists to keep the attention of readers throughout as Walters pulls his readers into the ensuing drama, but he’s not one to give anything away. Keeping readers involved and “in the moment” until the final chapter has come to a conclusion.

The key to keeping Reportedly Murdered from becoming just another genre crime novel is Thackery. A much-conflicted character he’s the kind of guy who occupies the school of hard knocks for a living and Walters is quick to bring him to life by capturing little quirks in typical conversation, spontaneous explicit declaratives and a good smattering of wit!

Tight, focused scenes create a sense of realism that draws the reader into the story as Thackery struggles to make sense of the clues he unravels whilst taut layers of intrigue raise Walters’ narrative above the genre generic to something more profound.

Following tips, hounding sources, and having one door after another slammed in his face Thackery’s story is further lifted by a cast which leans into the story’s urgency and continued relevance. Especially when he finds himself as a person of interest in Bordeaux’s murder!

Generating the kind of edge-of-your-seat intrigue that keeps one glued to the words and the pages turning. Reportedly Murdered proves a first-class read and is unreservedly recommended.
Book Viral Reviews

Read the full review

An unputdownable mystery novel about a reporter-turned-detective with a colorful cast of characters

With Reportedly Murdered, Walters has a realistic reporter-turned-detective mystery. Each character, all unique and intriguing, is a viable suspect. The colorful cast is what keeps this story so rich.

Walters has a gift for writing dialogue infused with unique quirks and habits. I felt as if I knew all of the characters personally by the end of the story.

Reportedly Murdered is a fast-paced, easy read that is hard to put down. Set in New York City, it feels like a good old fashioned whodunnit detective mystery, even though Gregory isn’t really a detective.

Walters concludes the story neatly, giving readers the closure that we’re looking for. Fans of the mystery genre and detective fiction are going to enjoy this one. Here’s to hoping Walters continues the Gregory Thackery series.
Independent Book Review

Friday, February 18, 2022

Coming Soon - May 14th, 2022


How does Gregory Thackery, a novice reporter working for a third-rate newsweekly, scoop the New York Press, the New York Daily TribuneNew York News Journal, and the vaunted New York Dispatch, America's so-called "newspaper of historical memory"? Luck? Common sense? Hidden connections? Even the clueless Gregory doesn't know for sure.

“Geoffrey Walters brings deadpan wit and well-wrought prose to bear on a genre that too easily devolves into formulaic and unfunny noir, knowing all the while that—as Flannery O’Connor put it—‘evil is not a problem to be solved but a mystery to be endured.’”  Joshua Hren, author of Infinite Regress

Preview my book or request a review copy at: Reportedly Murdered

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Another Hike


Available through Sunbury Press
Another Hike

or Amazon
Another Hike

The Northern Appalachia Review is an annual publication making a place for the under-recognized literature of its region. The editors identify northern Appalachia as the Appalachia counties of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, and the northern portion of West Virginia, a part of America where authors have yet to be distinguished with a literary identity, though it remains rich in stories of conflict among humans and their defining landscapes.

The Review publishes authors from, living in, or writing about northern Appalachia.

Most importantly, it seeks work that best conveys the character of the people and places of the region and which represents it as both distinct from and part of greater Appalachia.

The publication holds a vision of serving as a catalyst to more novels, poetry, essays, history, memoir, drama, and other modes of literary writing that represent, in some way, our region.

The exposure offered by the Review generates support for the authors of Northern Appalachia, ensuring that the voice of this remarkable part of the country is acknowledged, appreciated, and preserved.

by Northern Appalachia Review

Trade Paperback - 6 x 9 x 1
264 Pages
FICTION / Anthologies
FICTION / Cultural Heritage

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Never Say Murder

My first novel, NEVER SAY MURDER, has been re-released. It's an amateur sleuth murder mystery originally published in 2005 by a small press. NEVER SAY MURDER is part one of a five part series featuring Gregory Thackery, a young man who always seems to become the prime suspect in a murder he must investigate.

"Walters manages to deliver, no matter what your preference in fiction may be. Fast paced and a fast read, he weaves a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat and manages to mix in some new elements." —POD-DY Mouth

"Mr. Walters bares down description to its elements and spins a tale of believable events and motivational reasons for his character to find the truth. The style is blunt and fast paced. Following the hero’s journey, NEVER SAY MURDER has a well defined story line." —Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine

"The narrative premise is solid, and the author demonstrates a particular talent for creating a viable set of suspects." —Kirkus Discoveries

"NEVER SAY MURDER is almost a pulp detective story, except there is no detective involved. But Walters infuses his tale with all the great qualities of Nero Wolfe's Archie. Greg is the hero and narrator of the story. There is a murderer out there and colorful characters who have something to hide. The plot takes place in New York, the Gotham of murder. A great tale!" —Midwest Book Review

"It's a fast pace enjoyable, at times a bit funny, [whodunnit.] By funny, it's just the way the writer presents his characters. I could envision them. The characters are well developed and interesting. The plot is quite good, really. All in all, good reading! And NEVER say, 'I could just murder that person!'[;] you could become a suspect." —June Ahern, Amazon Reviewer

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Shattered reflections on Hemingway

Shattered Reflections on Hemingway

It’s safe to say that Hemingway set me on the course of the writer’s life. He certainly loomed large in my development as a writer and as a man.  Through my 20s, I read most of his novels and stories, particularly In Our Time, The Green Hills of Africa, and The Sun Also Rises (of which I’d read the latter twenty times or more).  He led me to Turgenev and Twain and Sherwood Anderson, and at least one book of the Bible, Ecclesiastes.  With some sense of urgency, I traveled to France and Spain.  I worked on a newspaper.  I began to drink heavily.  Although it’s been at least 25 years since I’d consciously let go of Hemingway as any kind of a model, here I am having another go at him.

I’ll start with the interview I recently viewed.  If you’ve read what Hemingway has said about himself, or what others have written about him in biographies—or, Heaven knows, hagiographies—you are told that he could speak French fluently, read Flaubert’s Madam Bovary in the original, knew German, and also spoke Spanish.  In The Sun Also Rises andThe Old Man and the Sea, as well as several short stores, he peppered his prose with Spanish words and phrases.

I don’t mean to be nit-picky but for crying out loud, after listening to the interview, I have to ask: Was this the level of his Spanish when he was driving an ambulance during WWI in Spain, or when he fought with the Republican Communists during the Spanish Civil War, or when he was chumming around with Fidel Castro and Che Guevara in Cuba?  He must have missed a lot of the conversation or had an interpreter.

And note, Hemingway was being interviewed at the end of his career, not at the beginning.  Was he just having an ‘off day’?  Had his brain already become pickled from years of heavy drinking?  I speak Spanish more fluently.  Gwyneth Paltrow speaks better Spanish.  All these many years I continued to hold this idea of Hemingway as a towering intellect, a man of letters and languages; but in the interview, he used soy instead ofestoy. He virtually ignored a complex question asked by the interviewer on how Cuba had influenced him as a writer and, instead, launched into the probably rehearsed, linguistic theme of The Old Man and the Sea on the difference between la mar and el marin very pedestrian Spanish.  Oh well.

I began to break free from Hemingway’s magnetic personality after I quit drinking at the age of 29 and sobered up.  Shortly thereafter one clear-headed day I asked myself: Why in the world cannot I write ‘can’t’?  Why do not I write ‘don’t’?  Why will not Hemingway let me write ‘won’t’?  Good grief.  Hemingway adamantly didn’t use contractions so I didn’t use contractions.  Scales might have fallen from my eyes.  I’m no polyglot but name me a language that doesn’t ellipse and elide, compress, blend in, or telescope in spoken and written forms.  English does.  Spanish does.  That’s how people talk and write—and Hemingway’s writings are almost nothing but talking.

I’m inclined to think that his hard-headed dicta was a manifestation of his addictive personality, the obsessive compulsive behavior of the alcoholic.  I know all about it.  Maybe if he’d loosened up a little bit, he would have grown as a writer; but instead he held to this narrow principle his entire life.  Couldn’t he have taken a risk and tried something new?  Couldn’t he slip the surly bonds of his own hidebound code?  He could hunt kudu in Africa, elk in Idaho, game fish for marlin in Cuba and Mexico, sip brandy and chomp a cigar as he watched Che Guevara murder his political enemies in Cuba—but he couldn’t use a contraction? 

Click the link to read the entire article:

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Reflections on Gerard Manley Hopkins and “The Wreck of the Deutschland”

Reflections on Gerard Manley Hopkins and The Wreck of the Deutschland

I'm no Bertie Wooster when it comes to singing in the shower. In fact I don't sing, I mostly read poetry aloud, and I usually don't shower; I bathe because the book would get wet. The wall tiles in the bathroom make for theater-like surround sound.

I've read anthologies of sonnets, collected works of individual poets like Robert Herrick or Robert Frost or Emily Dickinson. I've done Shakespeare in the tub. For example, I did Macbeth in about 10 days. Hamlet took longer. Recently, I read Sophocles's Antigone.

But I also do a few revivals, a couple of long poems that I read again and again: Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Keats's On the Eve of St. Agnes,and one of my all-time favorite poems to read aloud, The Wreck of the Deutschland by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Reading Hopkins's poem aloud is a revelation, and I'm convinced that it's the only way that it should be read. And being submersed up to your neck in water, upon reflection, adds to the understanding. Not to be flippant, but Hopkins wrote the poem in memory of five Franciscan nuns who drowned in the wee hours of the morning of December 7, 1875. They were passengers in a ship called the Deutschland that ran aground and broke up in a terrible storm at the mouth of the Thames River in England.

I tried to read the poem many times because I had to. Right? It's his most famous, the pinnacle of his poetic achievement, the consummation of his sprung rhythm theories, the triumph of sound over sense. And it's a religious poem that even a secular could enjoy, bad things happening to good people, a theme that atheists use to deny the existence of God, and Christians ponder to understand the mystery of suffering.

My first introduction to Hopkins was in a college literature survey class. I can't remember why I chose the poem Spring and Fall or if it had been assigned, but my task was to read it aloud to the class, give a brief bio of the author and analyze it.

This was a secular college and I'd already disavowed my vaguely Christian upbringing and proclaimed myself an atheist. Yet I learned that Hopkins had been a priest (which didn't put me off), was a bit of an eccentric (like me) and was an original, developing his own unique metrical theories (much like Emily Dickinson, a poet I greatly admired).

And to top it off, reading Spring and Fall is a blast. It's lilting and lovely and sad and musical. It begs to be read aloud. This poem led me to read some of his others, particularly his rule-breaking sonnets.

Spring and Fall
to a young child

Márgarét, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! ás the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

The next time I heard the name of Hopkins, I was watching an episode of The Waltons when John Boy reads The Windhover to his mother on her birthday. I was glued to the TV set every Thursday (I know that dates me), so John Boy's reading of it gave Hopkins for me some extra cache.

In retrospect I think John Boy should have been reading this to his girlfriend and not to his mother but that's a different essay. I also have to note that I had an Oldsmobile Achieva and I couldn't say the name of that car without thinking, “the achieve of, the mastery of the thing,” despite the fact that it could barely make it up a hill at 30 miles an hour.

The Windhover

To Christ our Lord

I caught this morning morning's minion, king-
    dom of daylight's dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
    Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
    As a skate's heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
    Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird, – the achieve of, the mastery of the thing!

Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
    Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!     

   No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
    Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermilion.

My first encounter with The Wreck of the Deutschland occurred in a modern poetry class. I couldn't penetrate it. I tried, believe me. It bored me to tears, until the day I broke it open in the tub. I read it aloud and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It sings. There's so much sound, so much melody, words sliding into other words, alliterations, internal rhymes and strong rhythms. And that's how I took it at first, and maybe that's where Hopkins wanted me to take it, where he excels or impresses or has influenced modern poetry. In the delicate balance of sound and sense, Hopkins heavily tilted to sound. But wow, the achieve of! I'd finally read it from start to finish, and I enjoyed it, too.

And I read it aloud again and again over the years before, during and after my conversion to Catholicism, and one day it struck me. In the same way that this ship gets stuck on the shoal and breaks apart in a gale-force storm and people begin to drown one by one, I too was drowning in a sea of words. That's it! Hopkins wanted me to drown, to become overwhelmed. When you read that poem, particularly the last half, it's difficult to find a literal reality to cling to. But every now and again, you'll bubble up to the surface and see the “jay-blue heavens appearing” or the “moth-soft Milky Way.” But then back down you'll go, into the raging sea, and as you are ready to give up the ghost – as those five nuns and others did that night – Hopkins asks you to contemplate ultimate things, God, suffering and the Cross.

Read more at:  Dappled Things

Monday, February 5, 2018

Volunteering at English Plus in Zihuatanejo, Mexico

The author is volunteering as an English club facilitator at English Plus in Zihuatanejo, Mexico until April. Geoffrey wants people to know that it's always summer in Zihuatanejo!

(Also, click link below)
English Conversation Club

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Wound

Dappled Things literary magazine has published one of my poems.  They've featured it online: The Wound

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Goodreads Book Giveaway

A Waste of Shame and Other Sad Tales of the Appalachian Footh... by Geoffrey Smagacz
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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Appalachian Authors Guild Anthology

Two of Geoffrey's poems have been published in this anthology, which can be purchased for $10 here: Proceeds go to the Appalachian Authors Guild.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Goodreads Book Giveaway

A Waste of Shame and Other Sad Tales of the Appalachian Footh... by Geoffrey Smagacz
Enter Giveaway