Visionary Frederick Crook delivers us to 2130 Earth where the rule of law exists in memory only and scores are settled with mortars. Have we come full circle, or are we on the precipice of something new and greater?




KnightDevil_400croppedIt is July 2130, less than a year after the destruction of the Cape Canaveral Spaceport, the last of its kind in America. Major Reginald Mattersly of the British Army’s SRR has been slowly making his way to the west coast, where he wishes to find a home on the beach and live out the remainder of his life.

These plans are cut short when he is ambushed in Nevada by a mysterious trio of armed men. To his rescue comes a man of the 82nd Airborne who calls himself Elias Mulhaney. The two of them continue on to a town called Lovelock, currently embattled with their neighbors in Reno.

The mayor of Lovelock, Jazz Hernandez, is the prime target of her former lover, Gillespie, the mayor of Reno. His mentality: If he can’t have her, no one can.

Mattersly and Mulhaney band together to infiltrate the city of Reno to rescue her kidnapped niece, Nora, and destroy the factory that provides Gillespie’s military power.

In a post-Great Exodus Earth where there is no law and no national government, can there still be justice?



“I have to reload here,” Mulhaney said. “Both belts are about out.”

“Do it. Quickly,” Reginald replied.

Just as he finished speaking, an explosion rocked the parking garage.

“What the hell was that?” Elias wondered aloud and froze. “Artillery?”

“Just reload, now!” Reginald ordered. Seeing no one beyond his driver’s window, the major dared open his driver’s hatch to listen.

Another explosion rocked the building, this time more violently. Angel opened the infantry hatch and took a look behind them. Bits of concrete and dust filled the air around the two machines. Just as she was ducking back inside, a third explosion struck the building, directly above them. The outer hull was struck with falling concrete from the ceiling.

“Mortars!” Reginald shouted into the microphone for the benefit of their new ally, Sergeant Schamski. He slammed the driver’s hatch, locked it, and extracted himself from the seat, leaving the helmet behind. “Angel, get into the driver’s position and move if I tell you. We are being shelled!” With that order given, the major snatched up his Dragunov and lowered the rear ramp.

“Major, I don’t know how to drive this thing!” she protested.

“Just do it! Shut the door when I get clear!” he shouted as the next mortar round struck against the side of the parking structure, this time on their floor. Mattersly was shielded by flying bits of concrete by Necromancer, which was immediately covered in dust.

Reginald used the dust as cover for his run to the southwest corner of the building. He had judged from the trajectory of the first three rounds that whoever was launching the mortars would be found in that direction. He crouched low as he met with the wall, pulled his beret from his tunic’s breast pocket and placed it on his head. The action was more out of necessity than pride, for the gray surface of the cap would not reflect the sunlight.

Another mortar round struck nearly the same place as before, only one floor below. Wasting no time, he took a peek over the top of the waist-high wall, where his eyes found another large hotel across the street. Having adjusted his eyes for distance, he immediately located the mortar crew, which had taken a room on a floor slightly below the level of the garage on which Necromancer and Wolfhunter were trapped.

He quickly reset his eyesight to normal and brought up his Dragunov, being careful to remain in the shadows. Reginald watched as the crew fired a sixth round. In seconds, it was clear that this one was going to be rather close. He lay flat and covered his head as the round struck just left of his position, taking out the short wall and the leading edge of the pavement. Mattersly felt several bits of concrete strike him and was covered by dust.

His ears rang despite the audio devices’ cancellation attempts and his eyes burned from the dust. Reginald noted that Necromancer had again opened fire on targets trying to come up to their level. Without further thought, the major rose upon one knee, lifted his rifle to his shoulder and located a target. It was the mercenary attending or perhaps firing the mortar.

Reginald squeezed the trigger and dropped him. Training told him to move to another location, but he had found Renoite militia to be undertrained and inexperienced. He found a second target. This one was another militiaman which came to the aid of the man Reginald had just brought down. With another squeeze of the trigger, the second man was felled.

This time, Mattersly did drop to the floor to crawl to another location. It was none too soon, as the place where he had just fired from was struck with a smattering of assault weapon rounds, returned from the militiamen supporting the mortar. As the two Stryker’s fired at targets that he could not see, the major lifted his body onto his knee and prepared to take another look. Just then, the seventh round struck the parking garage, close enough to knock him flat.




Frederick H. Crook is a masterful storyteller. He pits good against evil with a way different from most writers in the genre. The dialog is crisp and believable.” ~ Frank Scozzari

The entire book takes place over the course of a few days and honestly, I was bummed when it ended. You will never get bored reading this book.” ~ Melissa Massey-Maroni

I loved each page of this tale of hope. Anyone who still believes in the magic of heroism, should definitely have Of Knight & Devil in their bookcase.” ~ Susan Lynn Solomon




Frederick was born in Chicago in 1970 and now lives in Villa Park with his wife, Rae and their three dachshunds. He began by writing fictional works all through high school, but didn’t take himself seriously until 2009, when Frederick began writing his first novel, The Dregs of Exodus, which was self-published in late 2010. This was followed up with another novel, The Pirates of Exodus in 2012.

Throughout that year and 2013, he continued writing and published AuthorPic2four short stories in eBook form for Kindle. Runt Pulse, The Fortress of Albion, Lunar Troll, and Campanelli: The Ping Tom Affair.


His third novel, Campanelli: Sentinel, was picked up by Solstice Publishing in late 2014. Minuteman Merlin was released for the Kindle by Solstice Publishing in March of 2015 and followed up by his fourth novel, Of Knight & Devil in September.


He is currently an editor for Solstice Publishing and working on novel number five, another Frank Campanelli dystopian crime thriller.


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Thanks for dropping by Blog Funkhauser Frederick. Good luck with the book and all the best for 2016!


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The Authors Frederick CrookMy friend the scientist could talk for hours with future guy Frederick Crook. Dark themes, distant places, bad guys and star ships, he goes places we dare to follow, if only for the measure of hope he offers: ‘when there’s nothing to lose, there’s everything to give.’ I like that and so might you. Hello, Frederick Crook.


AuthorPic250300Frederick was born in Chicago in 1970 and now lives in Villa Park with his wife, Rae and their three miniature dachshunds. He began by writing fictional works all through high school, earned an Associate Degree of Applied Science in Electronics in 1994 and the Bachelor of Science in Technical Management from DeVry University in 2005.

In 2009, Frederick began writing his first novel, The Dregs of Exodus, which was self-published in late 2010. This was followed up with another novel, The Pirates of Exodus in 2012.

Throughout that year and early 2013, he continued writing and published four short stories in eBook form for Kindle and Nook. All of these stories share the same premise, but all are independent from one another, though the short eBook, Campanelli: The Ping Tom Affair and his third novel, published by Solstice Publishing, Campanelli: Sentinel, share the same main characters.

Minuteman Merlin was released for the Kindle by Solstice Publishing, March 1st of 2015.

He loves writing and enjoys meeting and talking to readers at book signing events.



It is 2110 and migration to the colony planet, Alethea, has depleted Earth of billions of people. As a result, migration has been declared illegal by all world governments. Human trafficking becomes highly profitable for organized crime and their influence reaches beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. Many starships returning from Alethea are diverted from the scrapping process and secretly refurbished, allowing the population to shrink further.

Frank Campanelli is a blind Chicago Police detective who depends on his fully functional bio-electronic implants to see and do his job.  After assisting on a botched infiltration of a top human trafficking network, he and his partner, Marcus Williams, are transferred into the CPD’s Organized Crime Division to head the newly formed Sentinel group and bring down the Ignatola family business.

Cover art by Arvin Candelaria & Velvet Lyght of “Stories by CL”.


Nebraska, 2121. A widower by the name of Merlin lives in his converted Minuteman-3 missile silo with his Black Lab, Chief. Suffering from stomach cancer, Minuteman Merlin is under the care of Doctor Larry Hammonds. On this post-Great Exodus Earth, the cure has left for the stars along with the vast majority of Mankind, so the doctor must treat him with the long-outdated methods of chemotherapy and radiation.

In the small town where he receives this medical treatment and trades goods, Merlin confronts a child abuser. The situation goes horribly wrong, resulting in the death of the victim’s father and the destruction of Doctor Hammond’s office. To make amends, he opens his home, giving the physician a place to practice medicine and the boy a place to live.

A man with nothing left to lose has everything left to give.

Cover by Arvin Candelaria & Velvet Lyght.




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Proustian Questionnaire Image BIG

What are your thoughts on muses and do you have one?

I’ve never had one specific muse. I am inspired mostly by the old men of science fiction. Heinlein, Asimov, Asimovand Clarke.  I’ve also been influenced by Stephen King and Dean Koontz. The ideas that came to me after I wrote my first novel, The Dregs of Exodus seem to just occur to me. “Dregs” was an interesting scenario about a dystopian future given the right circumstances. I’ve been working backwards for the most part, writing about the experiences of other characters in other times and locations.
Characters have a great capacity to love, yet they’re starved. Why do you think this happens in fiction and in real life?

Well, that depends on the characters, of course and the nature of the story. Starved enough, I suppose, you have a villain on your hands.
Without giving spoilers, would you say you’re a “happy ending” writer?

Not with everything, that’s for sure. There are stories that I’ve written with indisputably positive endings. The rest tend to end on a mixture that I feel makes for a realistic outcome.
What would you like to be remembered for?

I want readers to remember me as an author of dystopian sci-fi stories that did not rely on a disaster to create them. I think many people are turned off by dystopian adventures because of the massive deaths that go along with a 2012 or a Deep Impact scenario. I wanted my work to have a positive back story: The vast majority of Mankind is making a new home on the colony planet, Alethea.
If you could dine with any historical figure living or dead, who would it be and why?


I’d have to say Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I’d like to know what it was like to be pulling the strings behind
the scenes of the world’s biggest conflict.
Past, present or future? Where does your mind dwell?

I’m in the past for the most part. I really enjoyed the music of the ‘70’s and ‘80’s, and I really enjoyed the way of life back then quite a bit more than these days. All the gadgets that we live with on a daily basis are intrusive in many ways and not necessarily helpful. The reliability of something like the provider of our internet, TV and phone is often subpar because they try to stuff too much capability into it. In the ‘80’s, I had my music on LP’s and cassettes, 40-ish channels on the cable television, and we had a landline phone. It was so quiet and pleasant back then.
What informs your writing most?

I have to have music running, especially lately. My mind is like an old tube-amplified AM radio. It drifts without any outside influences. I can’t even begin to list what I listen to, but you can bet it’s from the ‘70’s or ‘80’s. I like some new stuff, don’t get me wrong, but in a world where a Tom Petty rip-off wins a Grammy for the best song of the year it’s hard to find stuff that I like.
Growing up in the Seventies, school kids were encouraged to think globally and act locally. Have you ever flirted with this philosophy?

In the ‘70’s, I was attending a Catholic school in Cicero that, fortunately, no longer exists. Thought was not encouraged in any form, let alone actions derived from such behavior. While I tend to mind my own business when it comes to most things, I do recycle and think I do a lot to minimalize my negative impact on the Earth, though I think she’s a lot tougher than us and will be glad when we’re off her back.
Guilty pleasures: we all have them. What is yours?

Pretzels in white chocolate are awesome. A Maker’s Mark cigar with its tip soaked in its namesake is bliss. Sneaking a beer before noon is as cool as it sounds.
Your greatest victory?

I hope I haven’t experienced it yet, though the day I left a mind-numbing office job a few years ago without being jailed for assault has to be it. I lost the job but I regained my true self and no one had to get hurt. Setting myself free that day felt better than achieving my degrees.
Tell us about the one that got away. Person, place or thing.

Actually, anything that I’ve gone for and failed at has turned out for the better. I’ve tried for that automobile that I knew I couldn’t afford and was pissed off when the financing companies denied me, but looking back at it, I know it would have ruined me. I’ve tried for that house that I knew I couldn’t swing and was shot down by the mortgage companies. I’m happy about that, too. I’ve pursued some women in my time and I can’t say that there are any that I regret not catching. There’s a saying that I like to keep in mind about such things in life. I don’t know who said it and I can’t even remember when I heard it, but it’s this: “Never pursue a woman or money. Both will leave you in the dust.”

What are some of the overriding themes in your work? Do you have a favorite?

I think that readers should understand that things that change our world are not always for the better. There is a negative aspect to everything we achieve, no matter how small. For instance, the “Great Exodus” that I feature in all of my works is a beneficial event for most of Mankind, except for the people that remain on Earth. Things will happen in our reality that may seem all good for us, but the experience will always produce some sort of negative cost. Most of the time, the bad side of something is a trade that we can live with, but sometimes it’s not. It’s as important to not be naïve as it is to not be jaded.
Who do you admire and why?

I admire men and women of the arts that have become internationally recognized and are genuinely happy. I think Stephen King, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg are prime examples of that. There are musicians that put that feeing across as well. Now, perhaps these are merely facades of contentment, but who is to say other than they?
Are writers fully formed works of art or works in progress?

I don’t think anyone is a fully formed work. We’re all works in progress because we as people are always changing as we get older and experience the world. It’s important to keep evolving and working toward our goals, changing things when we find the need. If we don’t keep changing, then our art will be stagnate and forgettable.

Thank you Frederick Crook for you insights. Be sure and check out F.C.’s YouTube channel. He has a je ne sais quoi for book trailers!

TOMORROW: Baseball aficionade. writer and all round New Yorker Ralph Peluso

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