Bill Fitzhugh — Books and things…
My newest novel, A PERFECT HARVEST, is set for publication August 12, 2021. It’s the fourth and final novel in what I’m calling The Transplant Tetralogy following up on HEART SEIZURE, HUMAN RESOURCES, and THE ORGAN GRINDERS.
A tale of Cold-Blooded Altruism.
A PERFECT HARVEST is the story of Miguel Padilla who has been diagnosed with two terminal diseases. Miguel decides he has to do something meaningful before he dies. When his best friend suggests donating a kidney to someone, Miguel seizes on the idea and ultimately decides he wants to donate… everything! In other words, he says he would prefer to be ‘harvested to death’ than to die of his diseases. When news gets out about his outrageous plan, a Broadway producer shows up wanting to buy the rights to turn the story into… an opera! Okay, maybe something more like Les Miserables… Alright, fine, closer to A Little Shop of Horrors, but classy. It’s a tragicomedy in two acts with a surprising number of songs, at least for a novel.
The idea came about like this: After the publication of THE ORGAN GRINDERS, I received an email from the lyricist and playwright Leonard Gershe (“Butterflies Are Free” among other things). He said he enjoyed the book and suggested in jest that I turn it into a musical. He even wrote the lyrics for one of the songs. He further suggested rewriting some of the Great American Songbook (“Love is just around the cornea…” and “I left all my parts in San Francisco…” and “All of me, why not take, all of me…). It was all very funny but, as I had no intention of trying write a musical, I filed the email and moved on.
Some years later, I saw a story about a man in Georgia who was diagnosed with a terminal disease and who wanted to donate all of his organs to save the lives others instead of dying and taking the organs to the grave with him. (Since then, several other people in the U.S. have wanted to do this but none have been allowed.)
It was a great story but I didn’t know how to tackle it comedically until I remembered Leonard’s idea about turning THE ORGAN GRINDERS into a musical. A PERFECT HARVEST is the result. Instead of rewriting tunes from the Great American Songbook, I opted to rewrite tunes in the public domain (so, you know, it could actually be performed without any copyright issues). There are about a dozen songs in the book, all of which would be right at home in a Monty Python movie about the transplant industry. Here’s a link to order your copy today: BUY IT NOW
Speaking of THE ORGAN GRINDERS… Farrago Books is reissuing this wild and funny tale of murder, xenografting, eco-terrorism, and transgenic baboons in mid-July 2021. But it’s NOT THE ORIGINAL version; this is a newly edited version (the writer’s remix). It’s shorter and more focused than the original, somewhat sprawling, tale. In coming up with new covers for the transplant books, Farrago’s artists used up all the obvious organs (heart, lungs, kidneys) for HEART SEIZURE, HUMAN RESOURCES, and A PERFECT HARVEST. Let’s face it, after using those organs there aren’t a lot of recognizable organs left. I mean, livers? They’re just shapeless blobs. So they went with a BOLD option: the intestine!
HUMAN RESOURCES… (Book 2 of The Transplant Tetralogy)…
Jake Trapper isn’t your average organ acquisition specialist. He’s the best in L.A. But Jake has a soft spot for underdogs and his current case is a young girl from a broken home. She needs a kidney. So Jake makes a deal with a broker and gets seduced into the gray-market kidney business. When a potential organ donor is killed, Jake meets LAPD Homicide Detective Megan Densmore who enlists Jake to help with the investigation. Enter Special Agent Fuller, a Fed looking into the black market angle. He’s an oddball with an architecture fetish and an endless supply of strange tales to tell. As more bodies surface, Special Agent Fuller turns a suspicious eye toward Jake and the noose tightens, threatening to reveal Jake’s dirty little secret. Human Resources is a darkly comic thriller with heart, and lungs, and kidneys…and a botched monkey kidnapping.
HEART SEIZURE (Book 1 of The Transplant Tetralogy). This was an idea I came up with while writing THE ORGAN GRINDERS. I like to describe it as “Midnight Run” with a human heart instead of the late Charles Grodin. Here’s the pitch: Grandma Rose needs a new heart and has finally made it to the top of the transplant list. Unfortunately, the President needs the same heart, so his Chief of Staff sends the black helicopters to snatch it. Rose’s son (Spence) discovers the plot and hijacks the heart from the hijackers and the chase begins. Along the way, Spence inadvertently kidnaps a young transplant surgeon who decides to throw in with them. Meanwhile, the President’s people are trying to get the heart back while the President’s political opponents are trying to make sure whoever stole the heart gets away. It’s a wacky road trip with lots of heart.
My new friends at Farrago Books are reissuing all of my novels during the course of 2021. They started with The Assassin Bug books and asked me to write a short story that would serve as the prequel to the story of Bob Dillon and his pal, Klaus. The result was The Bug Job which you should be able to get for free if you sign up with Farrago here: https://farragobooks.com/fb-author/bill-fitzhugh/
Book 1 of The Assassin Bug series is the infamous PEST CONTROL (the only known comic suspense novel involving insects and assassins to be turned into a stage musical…). Bob Dillon just wants a truck with a big bug on top for his All Natural Pest Control company, one that employs the predacious insects known as assassin bugs. As you might imagine, things go awry and hilarity ensues as the CIA attempts to hire the man they think is The Exterminator. The world’s most dangerous assassins descend on New York, hunting Bob who they see as competition. Fortunately Klaus, the world’s best assassin, sees what’s happening and he comes to Bob’s rescue.
Book 2 of The Assassin Bug series picks up right where PEST CONTROL left off. This time the government wants Bob and Klaus and their assassin bugs to lend a hand in the War on Terror. Things do not go exactly as planned…