Ben Jones, is a single, 38-year-old truck driver on the verge of losing his small trucking company. Ben's route takes him back and forth across one of the most desolate and beautiful regions of the Utah desert where he meets a mysterious cellist and the embittered owner of a small diner. That’s the plot, in brief, of James Anderson’s debut novel, “The Never-Open Desert Diner.”
Now in Anderson’s new book, “Lullaby Road,” winter has come to Route 117, a remote road through the high desert of Utah trafficked only by eccentrics, fugitives, and those looking to escape the world. Ben Jones, still mourning a heartbreaking loss, is just trying to get through another season of treacherous roads and sudden snowfall without an accident. But then he finds a mute Hispanic child who has been abandoned at a seedy truck stop along his route, far from civilization and bearing a note that simply reads “Please Ben. Watch my son. His name is Juan” And then at the bottom, a few more hastily scribbled words. “Bad Trouble. Tell no one.”
Despite deep misgivings, and without any hint of who this child is or the grave danger he’s facing, Ben takes the child with him in his truck and sets out into an environment that is as dangerous as it is beautiful and silent. From that moment forward, nothing will ever be the same. Not for Ben. Not for the child. And not for anyone along the seemingly empty stretch of road known as Route 117.
James Anderson was born in Seattle and raised in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. He is a graduate of Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and received his Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from Pine Manor College in Boston. For many years he worked in book publishing. Other jobs have included logging, commercial fishing and, briefly, truck driver. He currently divides his time between Ashland, Oregon, and the Four Corners region of the American Southwest.
On Thursday, January 25, at 7 p.m. James Anderson will read from and sign his book at The King’s English Bookshop in Salt Lake City. A video trailer for “Lullaby Road” will be shown and video director Kent Youngblood and actor Comse Skywalker Duarte will participate in the event.