Announcing: A new book

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00073]

One miserable spring night, a tired, bitter, despairing old lighthouse keeper prepares to jump off the top of Lake Superior’s Devils Island Lighthouse. It seems the end for Owen McClatchy, but it’s the beginning, during a wondrous summer of 1928.

So begins The Lighthouse on Devils Island, a novel I’m releasing in the middle of July. I basically finished it in 2003 and put it aside on a pile marked “unpublished.” Now, after writing three books about St. Louis published by Reedy Press, I’ve tweaked it and brought it out. If you like lighthouses, if you like heartwarming yarns with happy/sad endings, The Lighthouse on Devils Island is for you.

Here’s a bit more about the book. No spoilers. Promise. The instrument of McClatchy’s redemption is most unexpected: new first assistant keeper Sam Brown and his family, just up from St. Louis. McClatchy sees Brown as incompetent, his wife as impertinent and his two kids as the devil underfoot. But by summer’s end, the Browns help McClatchy realize he hasn’t wasted his life on a lighthouse and enable him to jump into whatever life has for him.

Based on the real Devils Island Lighthouse in Lake Superior’s Apostle Islands archipelago, The Lighthouse on Devils Island is full of carefully-researched details about the drudgery, loneliness, beauty and heroism of a time and place when everything depended on keeping the light burning. The cover artwork is by Austin Miller, a terrific artist who lives in the Apostle Islands. It’s about a wonderful vacation spot, which Lorraine and I have visited for the last two decades.

For more information or to order an autographed copy, e-mail


Published by Jim Merkel

Reedy Press published four of my books, Hoosiers and Scrubby Dutch: St. Louis's South Side, 2010; Beer, Brats, and Baseball: St. Louis Germans, 2012; The Making of an Icon: The Dreamers, The Schemers, and the Hard Hats Who Built the Gateway Arch; and the Second Edition of Hoosiers and Scrubby Dutch: St. Louis's South Side, 2014. They're available in bookstores and online. For an autographed copy, send a check for $21.50 made out to Jim Merkel, to Jim Merkel, 4216 Osceola St., St. Louis, MO 63116.

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