‘Goodfellas’ meets ‘Goodwill Hunting’: Ex-Juneauite’s novel introduces columnist to organized crime

Author would be here on a book tour, but, y’know.

He’s written movie reviews, news releases, jokes, screenplays — and even helped shape the Capital City Weekly. And now, Kevin Myers has written a published novel.

“Hidden Falls” was released July 15, and Myers said in a video interview that he had initially hoped to travel back to Juneau to promote his new book.

“The initial plan was I’d be up in Juneau about now for a book tour,” Myers said. But COVID-19 altered those plans.

Myers said in some ways it’s strange how much has changed since he completed “Hidden Falls” a couple of years ago, and some of those changes color certain passages now.

[Former lobbyist writes a political thriller set in Alaska]

“You do go back because everything has changed,” Myers said. “You read passages where they’re going to bars and hanging out. You feel, like, a sense of angst. I think the other surreal part is I finished writing this sometime in 2018 and signed the deal in 2019, and then it came out two weeks ago. So really, you’re two years removed from having written it. You have to get back into it. I’ve written another novel since putting that one to bed.”

However, Myers said there is at least one advantage to releasing a book amid a pandemic — people tend to have a lot more time on their hands to read.

“Hidden Falls” is about a Portland, Oregon, newspaper columnist who finds himself tangled up with organized crime in New England following the death of his father. It draws on Myers’ eclectic experiences and makes use of narrative chops built telling jokes, directing a low-budget film and writing in many different styles.

The events of the book place protagonist Michael Quinn among two disparate groups that have found their influence on the wane in recent years —organized crime and regional newspaper columnists.

“Somebody on Amazon called it ‘Goodfellas’ meets ‘Goodwill Hunting,’” Myers said.

Myers, who grew up in New England, said he is amazed by how entrenched sports betting with ties to organized crime was in everyday life — even as a tween and teen. Likewise, he grew up fascinated by columnists and the influence they wielded, and later worked for a firm that syndicated columnists.

“The protagonist talks about how being a newspaper columnist was a lifelong goal,” Myers said. “There used to be these figures. Now, they exist, but they exist on sort of these national stages. There used to be these regional icons.”

Sports are also something of a throughline in the book, Myers said, and the book’s chapters are all titled after Boston sports figures.

Myers said that’s because for a certain type of man, like some of the book’s characters, sports are one of the few avenues open for forging connections or expressing emotion without necessarily putting themselves in a vulnerable position. However, he said sports fandom is not a must to enjoy the book.

“I don’t think you have to be a sports fan to like this at all,” Myers said. “I think if you are a sports fan, there are some references that will add some richness to it. If you’re not a sports fan, it can shed light on why sports are meaningful.”

• Contact Ben Hohenstatt at (907)308-4895 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt

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