Susan Wolf Johnson

"An auspicious debut."

- Kirkus Review

The disappearance of a Tampa Bay blue blood rattles the skeletons in his family's closet. In Johnson's first novel, it's the summer of 1972, and Daniel Westcott, 68, has been named king of the pirates, to be crowned at the annual Gasparilla Queen's Party. But Westcott, who has never missed a Queen's Party, fails to attend his own coronation, and his enigmatic absence prompts an uneasy homecoming of his grandchildren, Becca, 21, an aspiring Broadway musical actress, and her estranged...

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Book Synopsis

On a summer's evening in 1972, while the band plays amid the sizzling heat at the Tampa Yacht Club,Gasparilla pirates and their ladies eagerly await the arrival of their newly crowned king, Daniel Westcott. But to their dismay, Daniel never shows up.

By the wee hours of the next morning, the townspeople are scratching their heads as members of the Westcott family deliberate whether or not to call the police. As the story unfolds, King Daniel has disappeared without a trace.

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An Ecumenical Passage

Daniel stood up and brushed smooth the creases in his overalls. His arms had grown hard and thin, and his belly had wasted, worn clean away. He was rugged and lean, a slide back to youth, and he imagined this time as an ecumenical passage, a time of shedding past sins. It was so clear now, what was not at all discernible in his life, and if he had to define it, he could, for the sense of what he felt this morning, watering the dead lawn and watching the worms slither up from the earth, was an adage, an apothegm that he could identify in one word: separate. And it was all so simple, the fallen leaves of an oak tree, squirrels rushing acorns to their nests, the lap of waves on Old Tampa Bay, a cardinal's song, the gusting wind, and sun, and heat, ice, flame, red and blue, and separate, and not as he viewed the world when he lived within its rainy arms.

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