“With empathy, an eye for detail, and a fascinating cast of characters—not to mention a helluva story—Alexander Blevens has delivered a suspenseful debut novel reaching deep into a community few of us know.”—Robert Lindsey, author of the National Bestseller The Falcon and the Snowman: A True Story of Friendship and Espionage.
Rex Thompson has not spoken of the felony he committed in Vietnam for over two decades. When his ne’er-do-well sons scuttle a shrimp boat in the Biloxi Bay and drown an immigrant fisherman who had witnessed this crime, Rex is flooded with remorse but remains silent.
His secrets seem to wash away in the muddy tide until the fisherman’s daughter, Anh Truong, stumbles upon a wartime journal and confronts Rex with a tale her murdered father never told. As a dragnet encircles his sons, Rex’s life of poor choices unravels, and he must decide to continue his charade or seek mercy from those he harmed.
Bycatch is a story soaked with greed and forgiveness while Southern and Vietnamese cultures tangle on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
“Bycatch unwinds Vietnam through the lives of two soldiers-Rex Thompson and Nguyen Dung. They survive, but the war doesn’t end. Two men, two crimes, one story. Alexander Blevens weaves the strands of each man’s life into a powerful tale fueled by cruelty and greed. Opposing cultures of the Mississippi Gulf Coast combined with excellent storytelling make Bycatch a must read. It’s a good haul in a strong net. I look forward to more.”—Cecil George Brown, author of D’Leaux, Mississippi-From Moss to Tuckertown.
Author Alexander Blevens reels you in with a riveting tale of two fishing families, caught in a cultural conflict and haunted by painful secrets from the Vietnam War. Bycatch will touch the hearts of many Vietnamese War refugees who resettled in America.—Trang Pham-Bui, Emmy Award-winning journalist.
“Bycatch is a well-written, absorbing story pivoting on contrasting dualities of culture, time, and circumstance entangling a close-knit Vietnamese family who escaped from the collapse of the American effort in South Vietnam and a dysfunctional American family from Texas. Both families, connected only by a distant exchange between the two fathers during the end of the Vietnam conflict, settle on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where they inevitably collide in a bitter communion of chance and supposition. From this setting, author Alexander Blevens unknots his tale mixing action, tragedy, and redemption while creating a colorful and extremely realistic backdrop of the heavily European-influenced culture and seafaring realities still clinging onto the coastal town of Biloxi, Mississippi. I applaud this debut novel and recommend it to all readers of contemporary fiction! Well done.”—Robert E. Hirsch, author of The Dark Ages Saga of Tristan de Saint-Germain series.
“Weaved into the breakneck pace is a very human story of guilt and redemption. Experience Bycatch today.”—Tom McGraw, author of The Starving Detectives Series.
“From Christmas-like images in chapter one to an Easter celebration in its final paragraphs, Bycatch delivers characters, dialogue, and plot in scenes that reveal a crime and explore not only who but also why and how. In his debut novel, Alexander Blevens time-travels with culture-crossed characters from the Vietnam War in 1968 to reveal two soldiers’ lives twenty-five years later, on the other side of the world, near the shrimp-rich waters along Mississippi’s Gulf Coast. Expressing voices from a huge cast to unravel the book’s complex plots, Blevens moves the reader through that time and space to examine the true nature of veterans Rex Thompson and Nguyen Dung and their families. Poor choices, grief, alcoholism, remorse, and reconciliation show the protagonist’s path in seeking his ultimate desire, to be a good man, a good father. Exceptionally well-written, this novel is a magnificent and worthy read.”—NancyKay Wessman, author of Katrina, Mississippi: Voices from Ground Zero
“Life is the sum of your choices.”—Albert Camus
“Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.”—Kahlil Gibran
“Forgiveness is unlocking the door to set someone free and realising you were the prisoner!”—Max Lucado
“By·catch” nounˈbī-ˌkach, -ˌkech: the portion of a commercial fishing catch that consists of marine animals caught unintentionally.—Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged