Devil's Paintbrush: One's Past Doesn't Predetermine One's Future
This is an epic fiction drenched in reality. Devil's Paintbrush tells the life story a young boy who grows up in a violent and abusive home within the Projects of Brooklyn, Baltimore during the 1960s. Then, as a young man, he once again finds himself thrust in another hostile environment - South Vietnam. Somehow he survives both worlds.
Decades after receiving "The Bronze Star" in combat, Ken Callahan's long suppressed memories and fractured emotions compel him to enter yet another threatening battlefield and engage a very different enemy - a foe deadlier than any Viet Cong or bird-eating tarantula he ever confronted as a younger man.
This new battlefield is the private office of the Veteran Administration's top PTSD clinician. His new enemy is ... himself.
Within the relative safety of this clinician's office, Ken is reluctantly dragged-back in time to unearth decades of buried memories of war. That's when the PTSD professional community becomes stunned as they discover Ken's combat experience was not as lethal as the domestic violence and sexual abuse he endured at the hands of a disturbed older brother and sinfully wicked mother long before he even went to war.
In short, Ken Callahan's PTSD was deeply entrenched well before he stepped foot on the battlefields of South Vietnam.
"Discovering" the truth about his own past proves to be challenging enough, but in order to "accept" such truth, Ken must cross a line from which there is no return. The man who ultimately emerges is not the same "Bronze Star" recipient who reluctantly enters PTSD treatment; nor are the people he touches along the way. Only the qualities of a Devil's Paintbrush can provide the caliber of personal resilience needed throughout every step of Ken Callahan's life-long journey.
Readers of this story will be either shocked and disgusted or enlightened and educated. There is no safe place between these two extremes.
This book earned positive reviews.
1. "... a heartbreaking tale lightened by hard-won redemption." - BlueInk Review
2. "While not the easiest read because of the harrowing emotional and physical abuse described, The Devil's Paintbrush can offer guidance for survivors of child abuse and suffers of PTSD." - Clarion Review
3. "... the graphic, sometimes nightmarish scenes can be deeply unsettling, and the descriptions of Ken's therapy and dealings with the Veterans Administration help shine a light on the depressingly common struggles faced by veterans today. An inspiring if not terribly exciting tale of falling down but always getting back up." - Kirkus Indie Review
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