The Death Tax



S.A. Hogan

About The Death Tax:

There’s a new reason to fear April 15th!

Why do a million hummingbirds descend upon a certain Missouri lake every April 15th, killing one more resident than they did the year before?

Once a man with a seemingly limitless future, Lake Tanaka resident Dr. Kevin Cousey struggles to find a purpose in life after a prankster mangled his hand with an M-80 twenty years ago, costing him his career, his family, and very nearly his life. He thinks he has found it in the lethal hummingbird attacks that occur at the lake every year, as well as an ally in small-town newspaper editor Paul Mahr, the only other person who sees a pattern and seeks to connect the pieces of the mystery that haunts the lake. These pieces include a thirteen-year-old French exchange student with a passion for hummingbirds, the Navy diver-turned-corporate millionaire with the mysterious past she was staying with at the time of her disappearance, and the patron saint of birds.

The Death Tax is a cross between Hitchcock’s The Birds (with a purpose, no less), Nabokov’s Lolita in its darkest incarnation, and a murder mystery, tackling such thorny issues as pedophilia, social apathy/intolerance, and religious hypocrisy along the way. Likewise, it is a celebration of nature, from its assuming the mantle of vengeance where man has failed to all the subtle nuances of light and atmosphere that occur on the water and in the sky between the twin glories of sunrise and sunset: no less than an ode to Steinbeck’s loving descriptions of the Salinas Valley. The Death Tax is at once nasty, unflinching, unlikely, and beautiful!

Just as Hitchcock’s Psycho forever changed the way people think about showers and Dickey’s Deliverance forever changed the way people think about canoe trips, The Death Tax will forever change the way people think about hummingbirds.

Forever broadened and humbled by four years as a Christian lay missionary in Ghana and seven-plus years as an English instructor/curriculum developer in Thailand, S.A. Hogan has long sought to consolidate his three loves of creativity, travel, and humanitarianism. His long-term goal is to use the proceeds from his literary works to help disabled Ghanaians in a meaningful way, especially in the area of no-interest business startup loans and pay-it-forward business mentorship.

Imprint: Addison & Highsmith Publishers
approx.. 280 pp., 6 x 9 in. (229 x 152 mm)
Date of Publication: March 15, 2022
ISBN 978-1-59211-141-1
US$29.99; UK£24.99

US$19.99; UK£16.99

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