Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Acorns from Oak Tree Press: John M. Wills' The Year Without Christmas

Today marks the first of what I hope will be many features of new crime fiction from Oak Tree Press. This small publishing house was formerly based in Taylorville, Illinois-- a small town just a few miles from where I was born and raised. I've since become acquainted with some of Oak Tree Press's very busy people behind the scenes as well as a few of their authors, and I'm looking forward to shining a spotlight on their books.

Join me today in welcoming author John M. Wills as he tells us about his latest book, The Year Without Christmas!

Available Now!
Just in time for the holiday season comes, The Year Without Christmas. Set in a small Midwestern town, it tells the story of a family struggling to maintain control after a horrible tragedy befalls them. Eric Doyle is a police officer on the Websterville, Michigan Police Department. One night he and his partner respond to a burglary in progress call. They surprise the subjects inside a warehouse and a shooting takes place, one that sets off a series of unimaginable events.

Eventually, Officer Doyle finds himself on the streets of Chicago during a brutal winter without a cent to his name. His family is unaware of his whereabouts. They can only hope that he is simply missing, not dead. As they try to maintain some sense of normalcy during Eric’s absence a series of events threaten to cause their world to collapse around them.

An element of mystery also surrounds this story, one that involves a Catholic priest. Although this man of the cloth is persistent in his pursuit of Eric, the former cop sinks deeper into depression and pushes the priest further away. The problem is that no one else has ever seen or heard of Father Callahan.

Will the officer recover and return home? And what’s to become of him on the mean streets of Chicago? The tale covers such contemporary issues as PTSD, alcoholism, childhood illness and homelessness. It’s a story that will have you reaching for tissues at several points throughout the journey.

With thirty-three years in law enforcement as a Chicago police officer and FBI agent, John M. Wills writes with the gritty realism of someone who has worked the streets and dealt with criminals all over the world.

Although the book has a happy ending, after all, it is a Christmas novel, the story itself pulls no punches as it strikes at the very heart of what it’s like trying to survive on the street. The unsavory characters, crime, the daily search for food and sanitation needs, are all part of this true-to-life tale of a man losing his desire to live.

What role will Father Callahan play in this drama? Pick up a copy of The Year Without Christmas to find out!

John M. Wills

John M. Wills is a former Chicago police officer and retired FBI agent. He is a freelance writer and award-winning author in a variety of genres, including novels, short stories and poetry. He has published eight books and written more than 150 articles relating to officer training, street survival, fitness and ethics.

John also writes book reviews for the New York Journal of Books and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. His book, Women Warriors, is available online and at the National Law Enforcement Memorial Gift Shop in Washington, D.C. John’s October 2013 release is The Year Without Christmas: A Novel. Visit John at:


  1. Cathy - I am a fan of smaller publishing houses like this. So glad to hear they're doing more and different kinds of stories, and this sounds like a good one.

    1. Thanks, Margot. Oak Tree Press is a dynamic little publishing house with titles everyone can enjoy.

    2. Margot, Barbara Peters recently said that there are so few big publishing houses left, that there's quite a bit of room for growth for the smaller ones, and I'd certainly like to see Oak Tree Press get its share.

  2. Another great interview, John. Having read John's book, I can highly recommend it. I also am an Oak Tree Press, so love this Acorns From Oak Tree Press feature, as well.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Jackie. Cathy does a wonderful job promoting authors.

    2. I'm glad you like it, Jackie. Thanks so much for stopping by!


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