“This story would not have been possible without the intervention of a rambunctious mutt named Howdy, but let me save this prequel for the end. It’s priceless.
My mother, Jean Angley, grew up as Jean Marie Davis in the coal-mining region of northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA). Born during the Great Depression, and the youngest of 13 children in her Welsh-American family, it would seem misfortune was in her cards. But I think that’s also what made her the bravest, strongest woman I’ve ever known.
My dad was from a large, Irish-American-Catholic family, and after working as a coal miner in the 1940s, he and his new bride moved to New Jersey where he pursued a job in a leather tanning factory. When my mom was pregnant with me in 1959, already the mother of four other young children, one of whom was still an infant, my dad suffered a stroke. The only good thing it seemed about living in the Projects in Newark, NJ, was its proximity to New York City…and Columbia Presbyterian hospital. My dad was rushed across the Hudson River and into the operating room.
Brain surgery in the 1950s was nowhere near as refined as it is today. Back then, most people died on the table. The surgeon told my mother as much. I can only imagine her fear, the mother of four, with number five on the way, facing the loss of her husband and the sole breadwinner who had no life insurance.
I’ve heard tales that my dad was the very first person in the history of medicine to have survived this particular operation. But he was not out of the woods yet. He was in a coma for three months, and when he finally came out of it, he was permanently paralyzed on the right half of his body. All the while my dad was in the hospital, my mother made the trip back and forth between Newark and NYC by bus, visiting with him and praying for him. Throughout all this she not only had to care for her four children, she also gave birth to me. It was tough, and while I was too young to even be aware of what she endured, I often think about how she must have struggled through it all.
My dad pulled through and continued to work hard every day of his life until his death in 1985 from Black Lung Disease that he developed during his coal mining days. Although my parents never finished high school, all five of their children have college degrees. Today, my mom remains my heroine…a tough old gal with a great spirit and endless love.
The Prequel: One day in the late 1940s, my future mom and future dad were walking toward each other across the Breslau Bridge in the Wyoming Valley region of NEPA. They hadn’t yet met, but that was about to change because of a dog named Howdy. As my dad walked Howdy, he clutched the simple rope leash around the dog’s neck to keep the energetic pooch under control. Somehow, Howdy broke loose, and my dad gave chase. He ran frantically after his dog, gradually approaching my mother, and screaming at the top of his lungs, “Howdy! Howdy! Howdy!” My mom had no idea he was calling his dog; she thought to herself, “Well, this has to be the friendliest boy I’ve ever seen.” She grabbed Howdy, met her soon-to-be husband, and never left his side until the day he died.”
Mike Angley, Special Agent (ret)
Colonel, USAF (ret)
Author of the Child Finder Trilogy
Mike Angley is the award-winning author of the Child Finder Trilogy. He retired from the Air Force in 2007 following a 25-year career as a Special Agent with the Office of Special Investigations (OSI).
His debut novel, Child Finder, received the Silver Medal for Fiction in the 2009 Military Writers Society of America’s Annual Awards program. When it debuted in June, the esteemed Library Journal placed it on its Summer Reads list and called it a “compelling debut novel,” and a “real find.”
If you would like to read a sample of the first few pages of Child Finder, please click here. hapter b
The Child Finder Trilogy…
…inspired by real-life experiences… follow the paranormal adventures of an Air Force Special Agent as the government exploits his psychic abilities to rescue abducted children. Major Patrick O’Donnell, an Air Force Special Agent assigned to the Pentagon, begins experiencing haunting nightmares about children who have been abducted and murdered—before their bodies are found. It quickly becomes apparent that he has a special psychic gift that the government is all too eager to exploit.
He is drawn into a TOP SECRET black world community overseen by the FBI that leverages his skills to solve child abductions. Soon Pat discovers that this black world has an even darker underbelly when those close to him begin to die mysteriously.
Rescuing abducted children is a noble pursuit, but it comes at great cost. Pat must battle dark, murderous forces within his own trusted inner circle, as well as unimaginable evil that threatens his family. Before his journey ends Agent O’Donnell will learn explosive government information that will rock his understanding of life, the universe, and his own faith. Perhaps some secrets are best kept hidden . . .
Your trilogy sounds exciting, Mike. Thanks so much for sharing your family story and your new book with us!–Lyn