Joshua Skettleton, a narcoleptic Confederate soldier, is bat-shit crazy. The hope that he'll see his son Josh again and the friendship of another soldier, Jeb Charles, help him to cling to some semblance of humanity while the rank butchery, race, religious hatred and greed of the rich tear his soul apart and nearly destroy his body. Two separate stories intertwine in the book, that of his arrival home and his fight to remain alive in some of the most horrific battles of the Civil War - with the help of Jeb Charles. In alternating chapters, we see Skettleton's progress as he travels the final six miles home and then flash back to his participation in the battles of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Courthouse, Petersburg and more. His attempt to reach home is interrupted by Lester and Constance Engles, a mad couple who give him food and shelter in exchange for a sympathetic ear and the skill he exhibits with his Mississippi rifle, while exploiting him for their own ends. When the book switches to the battle scenes, Skettleton suffers from the uncontrollable urge to fall asleep in the middle of the horror, which allows him to cope and stay alive. Jeb Charles, who's been with him since the beginning of the war, keeps Skettleton alive despite the man's mental illness and propensity to doze off at the worst possible moment. Truly horrific battle scenes and the unfolding tale of his time coming home combine in the end as Skettleton discovers just how mad war has made him, but by then it's too late to salvage even a small piece of himself. War, religion and greed combine to plunge him into a Southern fantasy world where a racist horror is the norm and reality becomes a dream.
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About the Author
Carl Reader trained as a journalist at Temple University and has worked as a reporter, photographer and editor in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Montana. He's published short stories in literary magazines and on the Internet and has self-published a children's Christmas story called THE TWELFTH ELF OF KINDNESS.That book was partially published in Russia under the Sister Cities program. He's also self-published a novella called THE PERSECUTION OF WILLIAM PENN, which has been well-received in several college libraries. He works as a professional photographer and freelance writer.