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EAST GARRISON
By G.M. Weger

Writer’s Digest 17th Annual International Book Awards Judge’s Commentary on East Garrison: February, 2010

What did you like best about this book?

This novel is so well done. The characters are fascinating. I especially related to Tracy and her struggle to come to terms with being a mother. I loved that line on page 37: “Tracy sighed, knowing fully well that even as she surrounded herself with images of strong women, she had no such faith in herself.” The deadline of the encroaching labor propels the story forward, and the looming threat of the mountain lion adds a nice undercurrent of danger. The ending was satisfying and yet surprising, a perfect combination. The writing is lovely. (I loved the description of Spanish moss that hangs like “moth-eaten rags.”) the recurring image of fog ties in beautifully with the subtleties of the story and your use of the setting is well done. The cover is beautiful—I was glad you had that red type face to balance out the darkness of the cover. The back cover is also nicely done. Finally, your credentials are great and give your writing
authority

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EAST GARRISON: A NOVEL, October 21, 2009
by Xavier K. Maruyama, Pacific Grove Hometown Bulletin

Usually, I review non-fiction. However, as the mystery unfolds in “East Garrison,” I drift into a consciousness where I can’t distinguish between what I know happened on the former Fort Ord and the story being told. Burning to clear munitions, BLM lands which are beautiful, wildcats, bicyclists, joggers, dysfunctional Vietnam vets and Presidio cops – they are all part of what I know about Fort Ord, ever since Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) changed the largest military base around here. I followed the BRAC process closely and this mystery novel pretty much follows the newspaper headlines, except the chronological order has been changed so that there is a sensible story line. The girl who disappeared was Christina Marie Williams and the first CSUMB president was Dr. Peter Smith. In the novel, their names are different, but it’s transparent to whom characters allude. The police chief sure sounds like a cop I used to know. In real life, they were jumbled with no apparent connection, but in “East Garrison,” the events make sense.

In this story, a young woman wants to give birth to a healthy baby and lead a normal life. She has an overprotective husband and a father who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. Sounds like several people I know. Hang out at CSUMB or the local American Legion and you’ll immediately start trying to guess who, among your acquaintances, were the role models for G. M. Weger’s characters.

“East Garrison” is a mystery with two dimensions. The first is the story line and the second is guessing what and who are the almost recognizable events and people with which you are personally acquainted.

“East Garrison” is an easy read and a good break from the other newspaper headlines you encounter every day.

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G.M. WEGER DELIVERS A PUNCH INTO THE LITERATURE WORLD WITH EAST
GARRISON…THE BOOK DOES A GOOD JOB AT INTERTWINING LOCAL MONTEREY BAY
INFORMATION AND [IS] A GREAT STORY…”
— MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY, OCTOBER 2009

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Weger is a talented writer, July 17, 2009
Diary of an Eccentric

She drew me in from the very first page with her cast of eccentric characters, and there were so many themes being explored -- impending motherhood, family relationships, marital tensions, environmental issues, the effects of war -- that I wasn't bored for a second.

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An entertaining and moving read, July 10, 2009
by Midwest Book Review

The pursuit of normalcy drives people far. "East Garrison" follows one woman as she strives for an ordinary life during her pregnancy. Estranged from her father, she tries to make things right, but that's not as easy as one would think, as she faces many challenges on this road, both from external sources as well as her own stubborn nature."East Garrison" is an entertaining and moving read.

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Adventures With Rex: BIG Puddy Tat, June 1, 2009
by Tom Burns, Foolish Times

I had taken Rex to a book signing at Borders Books the previous day. The book, East Garrison, set at the old Ft. Ord location, is an incredible book written by a friend of mine, Gwyn Weger.

I should mention that an ongoing "character" in East Garrison is a mountain lion living in the shrubs and bushes of Ft. Ord. Gwyn had milked that menacing aspect beautifully. She had brought with her to the signing a paw print cast of a huge mountain lion, a skull as an exhibit, and an on-going recording of a screaming mountain lion, among other things. I tried to pay attention to Gwyn as she told as much of the book as she could without giving away the entire plot, which involves relationships, fear and raw courage. A cougar claw, as big as my thumb, and some scat which had what looked like Dachshund fur mixed in it was passed around. Rex almost fainted.

I would highly recommend East Garrison as a good read by a local author, but if you have a small black Dachshund who is afraid of neighborhood cats, beware.

>> Read the complete review by Tom Burns

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AUTHOR FINDS LITERARY GOLD IN FORT ORD'S MISTY HILLS , May 22, 2009
by Robert Walch, OFF 68

Gwyn Weger has spent more than a dozen years exploring the environs of Fort Ord. Her knowledge of the former military base has now become the setting for her first novel, released three months ago.

Not only does "East Garrison" unfold on what is now the California State University, Monterey Bay, campus and the large expanse of adjacent land overseen by the Bureau of Land Management, but most of the novel's characters are employed on the closed military installation.

Interested in history and the outdoors, the author took the opportunity the past 13 years to learn as much as she could about the former Army base and its expansive training facilities. The real-life dangers of unexploded ordnance, prowling mountain lions and individuals venturing off official trails into restricted areas inspired some of the fictional situations Weger works into her story…

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EAST GARRISON: THE BOOK AND ITS AUTHOR , May 22, 2009
by Jon Roland Guthrie, Cedar Street Times

Gwyn Weger says that her newly released book, East Garrison, was conceived while she was standing at the deeply tinted window in her office, musing while she stared outside into a world shrouded in heavy fog. She wondered what it would be like for someone to be stranded somewhere-anywhere-on the vast outlands of the former Fort Ord, an abandoned military base. She remembers shuddering…

Gwyn began weaving the threads of her authorial tapestry into a believable, although convoluted, maze designed to bring her cast of very real characters (yes, including the mountain lion) into a final grand clash and denouement.  And there’s a lot that goes before.

Grab a copy of East Garrison and settle in for a mesmerizing read.  You will find yourself, to borrow from the author’s prose: “…in the company of the gods.”

>> Read the complete review by Jon Roland Guthrie

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A new writer to watch. Wow!, April 13, 2009
Armchair Review by Julie Failla Earhart

Tracy Dade, the protagonist in G. M. Weger's debut novel East Garrison, is two weeks away from delivering her first child. Her hormones are wildly fluctuating, creating a woman her police-officer husband hardly recognizes, and escalating her self-doubts and depression.

Tracy has been estranged from her father, Jack, for many years. Jack suffers from post-traumatic stress after a tour in Vietnam–along with his obsession to the Nazis and Hitler, along with an intense addiction to marijuana. Jack lives in a van with a dog named Blondie on the abandoned base of California’s Fort Ord, a section called East
Garrison. The buildings are dilapidated, the weeds have take over, the roads are rutted and ghostly figures of soldiers who were once stationed there haunt Jack. Along with the ghosts and Jack, an abundant wildlife has returned to the area, especially a mountain lion with a taste for human flesh.

The pending birth has Tracy anxious and eager to make contact with Jack to set things right. It’s the only way her conscious will let her think she could possibly be a good mother. She knows he’s out there; she just needs to find him. As the Braxton Hicks pains turn into full-scale labor, Tracy leaves her work and home to go in search of Jack. Warning though. Weger’s scenes of Tracy giving birth is graphic. It’s worth it though to watch Tracy protect her newborn. A heart-stopping, well-written debut, the suspense builds well and the characters are superbly drawn.

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A GREAT BOOK THAT HAS IT ALL , April 6, 2009
Eco-Libris http://www.ecolibris.net/

TODAY WE HAVE A GREAT BOOK THAT HAS IT ALL: ROMANCE, SUSPENSE, ADVENTURE, RELATIONSHIP, MAN VS. NATURE AND A SURPRISING ENDING. AND IT ALL HAPPENS IN EAST GARRISON IN CALIFORNIA. OUR BOOK FOR TODAY IS: EAST GARRISON

This is a breathtaking thriller that it is really hard to put down before the last page. G.M. Weger, just like a good chef, takes complicated ingredients like family relationships, history, man-nature coexistence and suspense and skillfully mixes them into a powerful novel. She brings up important issues about the relationship of humans
with nature and wildlife and the ramifications of the development of urban sprawl, including the depletion of wild ecosystems. Even if you don't live near East Garrison like the author or haven't ever heard about mountain lions before, you definitely understand these issues much better after reading the book.

Last but not least - I always like an unexpected ending!

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A Gut-Wrenching Thriller, March 31, 2009
by Sam Sattler (Spring, Texas)

G.M. Weger’s debut novel, East Garrison, packs one heck of a punch. Make no mistake about it; this first novel is filled with brutal and gory details that are sometimes hard to stomach – especially if you are one of those who enjoy reading while eating lunch. Each time I figured the worst was surely over for Weger’s characters, she managed to top herself yet again.

Weger sets her story in an abandoned section of old Fort Ord called East Garrison, a sort of ghost town surrounded by acres and acres of what used to be shooting ranges and training ground for the U.S. Army. The property has been abandoned long enough that nature is fast reclaiming it, as evidenced by a bountiful wildlife population that includes at least one predator dangerous to man.

Tracy Dade finally has things going her way after years of struggling with family and personal problems. She is married to a police officer who patrols the Fort Ord area and she is about to give birth to their first child. Despite her good fortune, however, Tracy is still fighting a few demons from her past. She is insecure about her marriage, deep down inside herself wondering why her husband even stays with her, and she suffers from occasional depression. Tracy grew up in a family headed by a pot-smoking, neo-Nazi fanatic, a man with whom she seldom has contact, but she suddenly decides that reconciling her differences with her father is something she must do in order to ensure a normal life for herself and her new family – and she has to do it before she has her baby.

When Tracy, dangerously headstrong as ever, decides to search for her father in the most isolated parts of old Fort Ord despite being only hours from going into labor, things get interesting – and dangerous for all involved. Tracy’s husband has no idea where she is and only reluctantly begins a desperate search to save the lives of his wife and unborn child. Everything that can possibly go wrong for Tracy does go wrong and what happens to her, her father, and her best friend makes East Garrison one of the most gut-wrenching thrillers that I have read in 2009, so gut-wrenching, in fact, that I have to warn readers one more time that this is not lunchtime reading.

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Compelling First Novel, March 15, 2009
by Arlen Grossman (Monterey, CA United States)

Weger understands what readers want: colorful, interesting characters, suspense, a good plot, and a shocking and memorable ending. Similar to what Peter Benchley did with Jaws, those of us who live near mountain lion territory will think twice before taking a hike alone. This is one of those books that is hard to put down, even though parts of it are like the scene of a horrible traffic accident: you know you shouldn't, but you can't stop looking. The reward you get from East Garrison is an enjoyable, compelling reading experience. A great first effort for a promising and talented author.

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A REAL PAGE TURNER!, March 5, 2009
by Nancy Baker Jacobs (CA United States)

A stunningly impressive debut novel, "East Garrison" combines the tale of four unique characters caught in a dramatically dangerous, life-altering situation with the fascinating history of the former Fort Ord military base. As she's about to give birth to her first child, Tracy Dade feels compelled to locate her long lost father, a mentally tormented Vietnam War veteran, and try to repair their shattered relationship. But Tracy's simple wish to have a normal, loving family life sets off a chain reaction of events with potentially disastrous consequences.

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G.M. Weger is a writer to watch!, March 2, 2009
by Joyce E. Krieg (Calif. Central Coast)

This first published novel reads like the work of a seasoned professional. EAST GARRISON has it all: family relationships, suspense, adventure, an encounter with the Divine Female, all played out on the former Fort Ord army base near Monterey, California. Don't miss EAST GARRISON!

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A Ripping Good Tail Tale, February 28, 2009
By Philip F. Bonhag IV "free lancer" (Reno, NV)

Having lived in an area where sudden clashes between predators and people over territory occur with some frequency, I found East Garrison to be a gripping and accurate account of unexpected terror.

The author does a workmanlike job of developing characters ranging from the conventional to the marginally mad, and then skillfully weaves their lives into a web of conflicting personalities and events. Drawn together through random occurrences, combatants in a tension-filled climatic battle between the primitive and the civilized, the novel's key figures are also trapped in a struggle between their own fears and their conflicted feelings towards each other.

Anyone who has experienced the overlapping jurisdiction of the wild and civilized worlds, who has wondered who really holds title to the no man's land in between, or who has had to fight for their own identity and sense of place in the order of things, will find this book dramatic and thought provoking. It has both the feel and substance of authenticity, in the opinion of one who has been there.

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NOT YOUR USUAL SUSPENSE NOVEL October 10, 2008
by Walter Gourley (Pacific Grove, CA, USA)

This is not your usual suspense novel with cardboard characters and a predictable conclusion. Weger knows how to tell a story. The former Army base of Fort Ord on the Central Coast of California, now mostly a vast expanse of uninhabited wilderness, is the setting. Here the author introduces a diverse set of believable characters, who become unknowingly and inexorably linked to each other. They are alive, complex – sometimes disturbingly so. The novel starts in low key as the characters are introduced, but from the very beginning there is an uneasy sense of impending menace that builds and grips you until the slam-bang -- and by no means inevitable -- conclusion. A skillful work by a gifted craftsman.

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Reviewed by Hugo N. Gerstl

Quite simply, Gwyn Weger’s alarming, powerful, and brilliant East Garrison is the best work by a first novelist that I have read in the last decade. Not since Greg Iles’ Spandau Phoenix has there been such an auspicious literary debut.

The physical locale is the remains of what was Fort Ord, on California’s central coast. California State University, Monterey Bay, occupies a small portion of the once-huge base; there are miles and miles of untamed land slowly returning to dry wilderness. Miles and miles of mountain lion country. But the true situs of the story is the vastly troubled desert that is the human psyche.

Tracy Dade, mid-thirties, heavily pregnant and beset with all of the normal angst of a first-time mother-to-be in her ninth month, carries a still heavier burden: an unnaturally abusive and mockingly painful family history, which has surrounded her with legitimate worry that she, herself, might not be entirely sane. Her dutiful husband, a sturdy, steady, but unyielding federal policeman, possessed of ghosts of his own past, views right and wrong in terms of black and white and has trouble understanding and dealing with his wife’s bizarre mood swings..

Due to a series of coincidences and mishaps, Tracy’s estranged father, a spent husk of a man named Jack Erlanger – himself a combination of the “Good Soldier Schweik,” a would-be Nazi storm trooper, and a ghostly soul possessed of a drug-fried brain who knows and understands the deepest truths, appears on the east garrison of Fort Ord. Tracy perceives she must somehow make peace with the father – who’s never been anything more than a series of surreal postcards – in order to preserve the safety, the sanctity, and the sanity of her unborn child – and perhaps reclaim her own sanity.

East Garrison’s relatively quiet, disquieting, beginning leads to a hypnotic, gripping, and ultimately riveting read. Suspense builds like a nightmare as the book rockets on a roller-coaster ride to a wholly unanticipated, furiously savage climax – and ultimately a consummately rewarding read. We witness the arrival of a stunning new talent on the literary scene, and one whose next works will be eagerly awaited.

— Hugo Gerstl

HUGO GERSTL a nationally known trial lawyer, is the author of ten novels, including the best-selling SCRIBE and AMAZING GRACE. He has also authored a dozen nonfiction works, including How to Cut Your Legal Bills In Half and the best-selling Pets
Welcome
™ series. His novel, STANDOFF will be released in November, 2008 and his latest novel, BILLY JENKINS will concurrently be introduced at the Frankfurt Book Fair. He and his wife reside on California’s central coast.

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"G.M. Weger's East Garrison is an excellent read. G.M. Weger is a true original. She can create character I guarantee you've never met before."

— Scott Baker, Winner of the World Fantasy Award

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"I read a lot of stories in my job and G.M. Weger's is one of the most original and memorable."

— Billy Tackett, Award-winning artist and illustrator

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News! In the 2008 East of Eden Writers Conference, G.M. Weger took 3rd place for her non-fiction short "Practically Magic." She also came in 5th place in the novel category for East Garrison.


 

Nth Degree #12 - Dec 2004
by Michael D. Pederson (ed)
Big Blind Productions Zine: ISBN/ITEM#: 0412NTHD
Date: Dec 2004 /

As Nth Degree is a quarterly semi-prozine, I guess that means issue 12
finishes their third year. It's an increasingly ambitious pub, with celeb
interviews (Bruce Campbell), fresh fiction (five new stories), con
coverage, reviews, and more SF comics than anyone else is running. There's
even a Poetry/Filk section...but that's probably more information than you
wanted.

I picked up the December issue of this magazine at Philcon and Ernest
asked me to review it so here goes. The story I liked best was a short
one. "The Rationale" by G.M. Weger. A woman is haunted by three spirits.
They are not of Christmas times, but are babies she had aborted over her
life. It has an especially nasty end. When I started reading "The Red
Tower", a short story by Chris Miller, I thought I was getting some
cliched woman warrior story. However, how she slays the dragon is
unexpected.

The third major story in the issues is a novelette, "Recycled" by Patrick
Thomas and is another story in his Bulfinche's Pub series. This one
involves babies who are actually reincarnated people whose experiences are
sucked out of them by various 'gods'. I have read many bar stories by Lord
Dunsany, Arthur C. Clarke, L. Sprague deCamp and Spider Robinson but this
series doesn't measure up to them. Thomas peoples his bar with gods,
demi-gods, angels, demons, etc but I just don't care for the stories he
crafts. This one was OK but nothing special. The other two stories were
not very good at all. "Alternative Cognition" by M.T. Vernon is so short
that it's not clear why the characters are doing what they are doing. "The
Assaulters" by Mike Ripley is about a man and his family and friends being
killed or kidnapped by invaders but doesn't seem to have a point.
The other features are OK. I have seen a lot better filk and some of the
comics are just not funny. Still, this is not bad for the price (free) and
it did have two stories worth reading.

© 2004 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu

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