At Least See if It’s too Hot for You to Handle

What happens when a man comes apart? (Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
What happens when a man comes apart?
(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)

Why should you read my novel, Crazy of Natural Causes?

Maybe you follow me. Maybe you’ve read one or both of my other novels, The Audacity of Dope (2011) and The Intangibles (2013). Maybe you’ve read my non-fiction books. Maybe you’ve read my newspaper columns, blogs and stories over the past 35 years. Maybe you know me.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

I hope you’ll read it because it’s good. Because it’s entertaining. Because it’s amusing. Because it’s original. Of course, that requires a certain leap of faith. You can’t know that unless you give it a try. You can sample it at its page on the Amazon website. You can read the whole book for free if you’re a member of Amazon Prime, though that’s a bit misleading since you have to pay for Prime. I suppose you’re actually paying a part of that fee, though you probably joined because you buy from Amazon frequently so it’s a comparatively minute amount.

Let me tell you about Crazy of Natural Causes by describing it in progressively more detailed form.

Crazy is a fable of life’s absurdity.

Crazy is often amusing and sometimes funny.

Crazy is a story of a flawed man’s redemption.

Crazy is about how a man surmounts obstacles thrown in his path.

Crazy is a story of a man’s adaptation to a series of events: his success and failure as a football coach, his failure as a husband, his near death, his recovery, the mystery of what happened, the disappearance of a chunk of his life, the woman who left him and the woman who follows her, the young people who help and inspire him, the pain that lingers, the enemies oppose him, and the wisdom he gains from studying the life of Jesus. Most all of it is unconventional in one form or another and to one extent or another.

The mountains of Kentucky is where most of Crazy takes place.  (Monte Dutton sketch)
The hills of Kentucky are where most of Crazy takes place. (Monte Dutton sketch)

Chance Benford is nothing if not original. He is a resourceful man, which is fortunate because almost everything that happens to him is unexpected. The novel concerns religion but is not religious.

In the current Amazon sales rankings, Crazy is ranked in “football,” “spirituality,” “agnosticism,” and “health.” That may pique your interest. It may confuse you. At one time, it was ranked No. 1 in “football coaching” and “agnosticism,” and that made me laugh. You may want to see how, somehow, it all winds up making sense.

Crazy is the most original of my three novels in that it is drawn the least from my own experiences. I’m incapable of getting myself completely out of my fiction because writing it requires feeling as if I know the characters and have them do what I imagine they would do under the various circumstances. Benford isn’t specifically based on anyone. I’m not sure he even reminds me of anyone. While recovering from his catastrophic accident, he reads the Bible. I read the Bible to understand how it might affect him. I’ve never been a football coach. I’ve never been in a serious accident. I’ve never made a living as a public speaker. Chance isn’t I. Chance is what I thought a man in his circumstances would be.

I’m really proud of what I’ve done. But then I would be. Whether or not Crazy of Natural Causes succeeds is a consequence of how others evaluate it. As you may recall, one of my slogans about writing is, Nobody writes shit on purpose. Lots of shit is out there. Shit is in the eye of the reader. So is quality. So is value. So is the presumption of what you think of it.

  (Monte Dutton sketch)
(Monte Dutton sketch)

I believe young people will find it appealing, but it is not geared to them, and it is undoubtedly too frank for some parents to entrust to their kids. Some of the language is appalling (see previous paragraph), but that’s because some of the language I hear, and, yes, use, is appalling. It deals with sensitive themes: religion, sports, drug use, corruption, ambition, hetero- and homosexuality, and some others that do not occur to me at the moment.

It’s controversial, or, I hope so. That’s the way it was intended.

Chance is a good guy, not a saint, not a sinner, someone caught in between, which makes him like most everyone I see, myself included.

Some will call it literature. Some will call it smut. Some will call it wise. Some will call it irreverent. Some will call it sacrilegious. Some will read me into it. In this instance, they will be wrong, but they have that right.

It’s just a story that was interesting enough for me to want to write. A novel is way too difficult to write (and write, and write again) for anything other than love.

I like Chance Benford so much that I had to create him.


(Joe Font cover design)
(Joe Font cover design)

              Here’s how you can get to know him, too:

(Melanie Ryon.)
(Melanie Ryon cover design)

              If you, too, like Chance Benford, you’re probably going to like Riley Mansfield:

              If you’re interested in how I came to write all this fiction, you’ll probably like this:



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