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East County author pens an absurdist romp

He was a tea guest of Queen Elizabeth II, majored in Soviet studies and dropped out of his career in “intelligence” when he determined no such thing existed.by: MARTIN BANNON  - 'Senseless: Confidential' is a novel by Damascus resident Martin Bannon that is described as an absurdist romp through the Oregon Cascades.

It’s not surprising that today author Martin Bannon is debuting a colorful and offbeat novel, “Senseless Confidential: An absurdist romp through the Oregon Cascades.”

The wild and hilarious tale is inspired by what Bannon refers to as “politically schizophrenic Clackamas County” — he’s called the county home since 1998 — and the political bureaucracy he encountered during his decade working for the U.S. Census Bureau.

“If your life isn’t interesting enough to provide good stories, you go back to a real-life situation and say, ‘What if?’” Bannon says. “You add some imagination. It’s a way of cobbling stories out of your life.”

Bannon playfully pokes fun at a region where politically liberal city dwellers rub shoulders with rural communities of conservative values. Despite the sometimes awkward mix of people and perspectives, it’s clear Bannon finds much to love about his region of the state.

A San Francisco native, he fell in love with Oregon as an adolescent and settled in Damascus with his husband more than a decade ago. Having traveled to 19 countries and 38 U.S. states, Bannon has a propensity for describing places, especially the ones he’s come to know in his own backyard.

As “Senseless Confidential” opens, its protagonist, Nicholas J. Prince, is still pining for his lost college love and drowns his sorrows at the Safari Club.

Added to his woes are the government-mandated interviews he must conduct in communities including Brightwood, Estacada and Sandy.

He thought he’d seen it all with the pit bulls and shotguns directed at him by less-than-thrilled respondents, but then he runs into a fictional polygamist compound in Elwood, a real place south of Estacada.

What ensues is a zany and comedic romp through the woods of Clackamas County with one twist of an ending.

Will Nick keep his job? Will he wade through the warrants out for his arrest? Will he keep straight the sister-wives in his life?

“’Senseless Confidential’” is a laugh-out-loud comedy, with a generous sprinkling of mystery and suspense,” Darcia Helle, another author, wrote in a review. “I was hooked from the opening sentence.”

The well-described and recognizable sites, imaginative scenes, realistic dialogue and social commentary in Bannon’s third novel make for an entertaining read, and a quick one.

“I found it so exhilarating that I sped through it,” says another reviewer, Sary Dobhran. “I need to get more books to share because this one was a life changer for me.”

Bannon says he draws inspiration from writers Carl Hiaasen, Daniel Price and Josh Bazell. He continues to write whenever he can, with eight starts to novels and a wave of enthusiasm lingering from the latest novel.

“Senseless Confidential” is available for $14.99 in print and $2.99 as an e-book through Amazon, select book stores in Clackamas County and by request at most others. For more information, visit martinbannon.com.

With a protagonist fond of colorful expletives, readers sensitive to foul language should proceed with caution.




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