“Mike adjusted the cellphone to his right ear. He would rather be talking to Jennifer face-to-face. Rather he could see her dark eyes, her smile. Even now, approaching seventy, she took his breath away. The pandemic changed everything about their contact. She refused to see him, not confident about being near anyone, not him, not her son. Not with or without a mask. Indoors or out. Not yet. They met long ago and fashioned a relationship outside her son's alcoholism, outside other needs, his and hers. And now this.”
My 110,000-word literary novel, THE LAST GRAVEDIGGER, exposes human weakness and conflict but also celebrates enduring love in 2020’s darkest hours.
His father's suicide and bitter conflict with an older brother haunt Mike. Jennifer’s alcoholic son, Andrew, is a ticking timebomb. Despite these obstacles, the couple achieves a balance, living apart, but linked by great affection. Isolated by the pandemic, they share the stories of challenge and courage that have twined these three lives together.
Andrew's sobriety plummets as COVID-19 surges. Jennifer contracts the virus and fights for her life. Mike steps up in her absence and struggles to build trust with the younger man. These efforts swing widely with Andrew’s drinking, but Mike perseveres. Jennifer, placed on a ventilator, holds out hope through fever dreams and waking reveries. Is the strength of their relationship enough? At stake is not just a confrontation with alcoholism and decades of contention, but with the greatest fear … what if she dies?