The Altar Boy by Phil Stephens.
It starts with black-robed nuns, priests, bishops, the select fraternity of Altar Boys, and the ancient ceremonies of the Catholic Church.
Music of the ’60s, boyhood shenanigans, Cootie doctors, and coming of age. Set in the socially and politically tumultuous period of the 1960s, The Altar Boy is the fictionalized memoir of Carl Sanders, a funny, sensitive kid, who’s caught in the middle when his family is fractured by the intrusions of a priest. We follow Carl’s confusion and pain as he watches the pious façade of the Church fall away to reveal unholy carte blanche, cover-ups, and collusion.
The book opens in the late 1980s. Carl and his brother down beer after beer at a favorite pub, trying to piece together their family’s chaotic past. The stakes are high—someone is about to return after a 20-year absence, threatening to re-ignite the family conflict. As the brothers’ painful recollections of their past become more traumatic, Carl drifts back in time to the era he tried for so many years to forget.
The story is realistic, poignant, and at times very funny. Stephens shines a timely spotlight on the then-unquestioned power of the Church, while taking the reader back to the ’60s era of rock ’n’ roll, Catholic schools, social upheaval, and boyhood pranks.
Rave Reviews Book Club February Book of the Month read. Also named the gold medal winner in the 2016 International Publisher Awards for Best Contemporary Novel, The Altar Boy is garnering positive reviews from readers everywhere. In the video on the Phil Stephens author page, the author is interviewed by popular talk radio host Jordan Rich about the book — and the real-life story behind it.
From Enos Book Reviews April 2018: Honest, believable, and relentlessly gripping. A fascinating historical backdrop with an authentic period feel that manages to enliven and enhance a rambunctious era of 1960’s governed by the power of catholic church, ‘The Altar Boy’ is a fictionalized memoir of a young compelling character of a boy -Carl Sanders.
Author Phil Stephen capably sketches a proactive well documented and powerful narrative that flips back and forth in time revealing the complexities of Carl Sanders childhood and teenage days as he navigates through some emotionally memorable long-gone moments and some flawed, persistent family issues evoked by the appearance of a powerful catholic priest. After 20 years, Carl and his elder brother Mike struggle to deal with the upcoming tension that is sure to torment the family peace and flare up the complicated days.
Thoroughly entertaining and captivating plot with hard to foresee twists, ‘The Altar Boy’ is an engrossing family saga that tackles an ambitious re-imaging of history with intricate details that are honest, believable and relentlessly gripping.
Definitely a-not-to-be-missed historical fiction for those who care for well-rounded work with dramatic twists and a charming sense of humor and vulnerability cherished in one setting, author Phil Stephen’s novel ‘The Altar Boy’ is a 5-star read worth recommending.
Paperback: 272 Pages
Publisher: Phil Stephens; 1st Edition (September 8, 2016)
Coming of Age Fiction
At The Edge Of The Stairs by Phil Stephens.
At The Edge of the Stairs is a gripping tale of a young woman’s love that is so strong it transcends the barrier between this dimension and the next. It is the incredible story of Crystal Maiden Arabella and Abraham Gallagher. It follows Maiden’s paranormal reincarnated journey to reunite with her lover almost twenty-three years after her death.
Crystal Maiden, or Maiden as she is called, is caught in a deadly house fire with no way out. The first fire department responder on the scene is a rookie named Abraham Gallagher. With no hesitation he and fellow fighter fighters plow through the dangerous fiery maze of the first floor. There, at the edge of the stairs, he finds Maiden injured and unconscious, but alive. As he carries her out of the house to safety and lays her on the ground, a strong emotion immediately takes hold of him.
Over the next several days he visits her in the hospital and falls deeply in love, as does Maiden with him. Once Maiden has recovered, they plan to get married, but their plans take a tragic turn as Maiden is killed in a car crash two weeks prior to the wedding. As she lay dying in Abraham’s arms, she vows she will reincarnate herself and come back to him…and she does.
Paperback: 342 Pages
Publisher: Pen It! Publications, LLC (November 26, 2020)
About The Author: Phil Stephens is an Indiana native and a graduate of the Indiana University Kelley School of Business, and of the Dale Carnegie Course. He spent many years working in Fortune 500 America. Raised in a solidly Catholic family, he attended Catholic grade schools in the 1960s and served as an Altar Boy. His writing has appeared in the local newspaper and Pen IT literary magazine. His passions include reading in his favorite genres—history and horror. He also enjoys cooking, exercising, and the environment. Stephens resides in beautiful Brown County in Southern Indiana with his wife Marie, and has an adopted granddaughter, Crystal Maiden, in the Philippines.
Phil’s book was named the 2016 gold medal winner in the International Publisher Awards for Best Contemporary Novel. In the video on this page, Phil is interviewed by popular talk radio host Jordan Rich about book — and what’s behind it.
Author’s Page At Book Marketing Global Network: