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"A clear new voice offering a startling, memorable debut. In this psychological thriller, a reclusive artist opens up to her new neighbors with life-changing consequences... In her debut, Strick successfully writes with the confidence of a seasoned author. Her prose is often striking… the narrative’s emotional layers grow increasingly complex;…characters…achieve beautiful realization… it is executed masterfully…"

From Kirkus Reviews

"KINGDOM COME, CA is an astonishingly fine book - and the fact that it is a debut novel makes its appearance all the more important. Judy Strick not only knows how to write a mesmerizing story, but she also knows the climate - physical as well as psychological - of her home, Southern California… Writing of this fascinating quality comes around too rarely. Catch it at it's nascent best… Highly Recommended."

by Grady Harp

"One of the best reads that has come my way in a long time. Kingdom Come, CA will almost blind-side you with a surprise ending. Superbly crafted, hugely enjoyable read!...Two thumbs up!"

by Grandma, Amazon Reviewer

"The characters, the setting, the writing all pulled me towards the end too quickly. The Southern California setting was dead-on and even the incidental details were perfect. But the characters are what really made this story for me. … I couldn't put it down. Hard to believe it was a debut novel. I only hope the author can be as prolific as John Irving."

by Katherine R Brandon

Kingdom Come, CA....Backstory

The true story that inspired the book

“I believe in everything; nothing is sacred. I believe in nothing; everything is sacred. Ha Ha Ho Ho Hee Hee.”
― Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

      A little background: My friend June was a brilliant artist. She was my mentor, considerably older than I, although that was irrelevant. We filled a void in both our lives. We were friends for twelve years. I adored her. June is gone now. Shortly after she died, a most strange occurrence took place.
      But first a word about the small, framed lithograph that had been hanging on my living room wall in an honored place near the front door. It had been in that exact spot for the last eight years. It was, and is, a treasured possession, a gift from June, an artist’s proof. The image is a deep black infinite sky, a void, in the center of which a throbbing, hot, red planet burns. On closer inspection the fiery orb is a fingerprint- the hand of the artist, a print of a print, entitled, “Big Planet”. It is surprisingly spiritual, all things considered, the artist being a devout skeptic. We used to have many a long and passionate dialogues about the elusive nature of life. We agreed on very little concerning that particular subject. June did not believe in “Voodoo mysticism”, I myself being of the mind that anything is possible- from total meaninglessness to a choir of heavenly angels and seventeen virgins. She would counter by calling me a hopeless romantic. “There’s nothing. It’s over when it’s over.”
      June had been fighting cancer for a many years; even before we first met. She had not stopped working on her art, until she could no longer hold a pencil; until her time was to be counted in days, perhaps hours.
      I went to say my good-byes shortly before I was scheduled to leave town for a week. I knew this was to be our last time together. She had chosen to die in her bedroom, a large room above her workshop downstairs. She lived a few blocks from the Hollywood Cemetery- “Convenient” she had once remarked. I was allowed five minutes to be with her. She was wearing a Chinese jacket and she had tubes up her nose. Even then she had great style. She was also very weak, her eyes closed, eyelids fluttering responsively, so I knew she understood what I was saying. And I held her hand, and I told her many times that I loved her. And I promised to remember her always. And as my time was coming to a close I said these exact words to her.
      “Now don’t get mad at me, but just in case you’ve been wrong about the whole black void business, give me a sign, anything. I’ll recognize it.”
      And at that moment she smiled every so slightly, and I swear it was a shadow of her old sardonic smile; and her hand pressed my hand, light as a butterfly kiss.
      She died four days later, on a hot August Tuesday. There was to be no funeral. She had been cremated as requested.
      I returned to L.A. the following Sunday night, thinking of June, especially as I approached home. I missed her profoundly. My house was dark, except for a light at the back. I walked into the darkened living room, dropped my bags and was joyously greeting by my dogs, who in my absence had been cared for by a trusted dog sitter. When I switched on the house lights, nothing seemed amiss, only different, the way things will after an absence.
      Then, an odd thing...
      I went into the kitchen, only to find “Big Planet”, in it’s frame, lying on the kitchen counter. At first I was puzzled. Why was it not on its wall where it belonged? Perhaps it had fallen. I inspected the plexiglass frame for damage- not a scratch. And the wire was unbroken.
      Very Odd.
      I walked over to the living room wall where the litho had been proudly displayed lo these many years. The nail was unmoved, the plaster intact.
      So why was my print now lying in the kitchen?
      And I closed my eyes and saw that fiery image, floating in the blackness, behind my brain.
      And I felt a connection so strong that I knew, there was no doubt in my mind, ‘a sign...I’ll recognize it...’ June had sent me a sign.
      Of course my skepticism quickly kicked in- just an odd coincidence. I really don’t believe in magic.
      The next day I grilled my dog sitter about the wandering print. What she said still amazes and perplexes me.
      Her words: “I came in yesterday, before you came home, to feed the dogs. And then the strangest thing happened. As soon as I walked in the living room, that picture flew off the wall. I was nowhere near it. The damn thing just came flying off the wall and flew right at me. I put it on the kitchen counter so you would be sure to find it.” She said this with no prompting from me. I had told her nothing of the print’s history.
      “Flying off the wall.”
      To this day I don’t know what to think about it. This incident was the source of my inspiration for “Kingdom Come, CA”, and for all the strange and unexplainable things that unfold in its pages, all the characters and inhabitants of this small town in the middle of nowhere, all their quirks and secrets and halting attempts to find both love and enlightenment, and a good cold beer every now and then. And of course there’s the transcendent and strange relationship between six-year old Finn and the reclusive Ruby- and the startling and unexpected ways in which they find themselves communicating.“