Look for more soon on the forthcoming FAIRMOUNT, the story of a very unusual political asylum case.

“This novel will stick with you long after you are done reading. I was blown away…”    Gina Stamper, Novel News Network

“Fun and fresh! … You won’t want to put it down.”    C. Gonzales, The Indie Express

“In a city where values of truth and morality are put to the test…whose voice can be heard?”    Christian Sia for Readers’ Favorite

A novel of Philadelphia

A LITTLE CHEAT SHEET ABOUT THE BIG IDEA Trust me to see you safe, or 

It’s just a quick, pleasant trip to Philadelphia, a snarky book with mystery and scandal and a woman who’ll keep you guessing and a man searching for stability in a world that keeps changing the rules. A writer’s book, not edited into easy conformity nor inclined to shield you from the awkward or untimely, but nothing a reasonably intelligent reader can’t handle. Trust me to see you safe, or else you can read the full Prologue on the Excerpts page.

Worthy is deceptive, an enormous joke, a satire on certainty. It’s about the importance of moving through life with grave respect, conscious of doing harm as well as good however noble the cause or intention. It insists that no one really knows anything, whatever they think, and that fortune but also courage and intelligence and determination are neither earned nor deserved. It suspects that, lacking direction and agreement, no one knows which ideas are important, and it maybe tosses a few pearls at random. As Con Manos, the narrator of the novel, says:

“…even back then I realized most of philosophy is basically crap. Look at Kant and Hume; it’s just simplified shit wrapped up in dense layers of jargon. Validity is determined by timing and credentials, that’s all there is to it. Value’s all in the packaging, otherwise no one will notice except to mock.”

Also please note, any literary types out there: Worthy is structured around a minor experiment on the limits of narration, a kind of deconstructed Bakhtin carnival. Really, can an author ever genuinely detach from their characters? In this book people tend to melt into each other, and if it seems that Con Manos is telling the story of Ruth Askew, it might be a little more complicated than that.

A final point: We live in the past as much as in the present, we walk through offices and sleep in bedrooms we left years ago. Therefore some aspects of the city and other locales of Ruth’s world probably  no long exist.

And if at first you’re offended and contemptuous, well, keep reading, because I’m not going anywhere you think – politically, ethically, any other way.


Ruth Askew, a minor city celebrity, is spouting some highly incompetent philosophy about the end of virtue – a fortunate woman mysteriously pushed to extremes. Con Manos, a journalist, is searching for certainty, meanwhile attempting to uncover a political scandal or two. Add in some undistinguished members of City Council, a popular radio station, a disorganized charity, a prestigious Philadelphia newspaper, and any number of lawyers and other professional criminals. In Worthy Of This Great City the compelling stories of two stubborn individuals intertwine in a brisk, scathing satire that invites you to questions everything you think you think about today’s most discussed issues: populism and liberal elitism, the possibility of truth, the reach of profound stupidity, and the limits of personal responsibility in these post-truth, morally uncertain times.


“Everybody thinks God is on their side.” Ruth put her coffee cup down on its heavy restaurant saucer very deliberately. Then she sent me this pointed, defiant look from those huge blue eyes.

I’m a journalist, I should explain, and I knew this woman just well enough to be immediately suspicious. But she was very intense, now I noticed, waiting for me like it mattered. That was interesting. Here I’d always considered Ruth one of those breezy, satiric women proficient at deflecting intimacy.

Only I didn’t need it and I didn’t really care. Frankly there were things I never wanted to hear from her. We’d met by accident at one of those ubiquitous Center City cafes that’s all calculated simplicity: quinoa salads, homemade soups, cranberry muffins, that kind of crap. It was lunch hour and the place was loud with competing conversations in those well-educated downtown voices, the entire scene as fundamentally deceptive as casual business attire. You could practically feel the pervasive atmosphere of unacknowledged cynicism on your skin, the deodorized vinegar emanating from all those dissatisfied young professionals amazed to have already acquired such long but mysteriously undistinguished pasts.

So Ruth Askew, running into me in those exceptionally ordinary surroundings, flat imprisoned me in unwanted intimacy in order to entrust me with a revelation of startling profundity and enormous human significance, effectively summoning me into history, granting me an unprecedented experience that would surely transform my life, or anyway something along those lines. Because she’d been all too impatiently awaiting a sign from Heaven and was toying with the idea that God had delivered me to her for use as disciple and authoritative witness. They’re always looking for witnesses.



Philadelphia Skyline by Jason Murphy CC 4.0