To Pay Paul

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Seamus Quinlan is the last remaining descendant of a family marred by various cancers and illnesses. His family home in Washington is located downwind from the Hanford Nuclear site. The Hanford site, which served as one of the central locations in the making of the atomic bomb(Manhattan Project), is now decommissioned. However, the waste that resides there still poses a risk as nuclear material has seeped underground, and the daily breeze carries with it the toxic material. Seamus works as a lecturer and geophysicist and is well versed in the potential cataclysms looming with Hanford.

Seamus has come home to visit his father Gerald as he is rapidly diminishing from cancer. The past weighs heavily on both men, as the shadow of death and grief has never disappeared. Both men, along with other relatives, worked at Hanford and gradually came to learn the risks posed by the nuclear materials cultivated and stored there. Gerald succumbs to his illness. Seamus must handle the burial of his father on his own.

The tragedies inflicted upon Seamus mount when he and an associate named Cody fall through the ground when Seamus attempts to clear room on the family cemetery plot. Opportunities to climb out of the hole are non-existent, as are the supplies needed to hold out for an extended period of time. The duo forms a bond over a period of a couple of days that alleviates the tension of the peril. Through a stroke of good luck, the two men are discovered, and they become public figures. Seamus has looked at his own mortality head-on and is determined to live each day to its fullest. However, the decaying eyesore of Hanford and the mysteries of tectonic shifts pose a threat to not only Seamus but millions of people.

To Pay Paul is a stand-out dramatic narrative that reflects on the sins of the past while also pondering the uncertainty of the future. Seamus Quinlan lives a life where the prospects are bleak, a long-term future doubtful. He dwells under a dark cloud, but his resolve to keep going in spite of this makes him a strong character. Despair yields to hope as Seamus realizes that the desire to live another day is worth fighting for. Author Michael Scott Curnes has penned a poignant, often bittersweet story about survival and connection in personal turmoil. The reader will be drawn into the unfolding action in Seamus Quinlan’s life but also to the existent hazards posed by Hanford.


Reviewed By:

Author Michael Scott Curnes
Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 274 pages
Publisher Down Wind Press
Publish Date 01-Jul-2022
ISBN 9781777298852
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue August 2022
Category Historical Fiction
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