by RICH ZECK
Police officer and author Barry W. Ozeroff from Portland, Ore., pulled into Frenz Coffee House last week to sign copies of his latest book “The Dying of Mortimer Post.” The author is on a national book promotional tour that started in Oregon and goes to Ohio, down to Florida, then to San Diego and back home to Oregon—all in the month of May.
Since coffee houses are a staple in the northwest, Ozeroff chose Frenz over a chain bookstore to promote this deeply insightful human journey of a man torn by life’s experiences. The book is about Mortimer Post, who is the quintessential late-‘60s American teenager. He is a college-bound physics major from a good family, engaged to his high-school sweetheart, and is at the forefront of his version of the American dream. Then, in 12 short minutes, he faces a loss so devastating it marks the end of his living and the beginning of his dying. But as the opening sentence suggests, some deaths are slower than others. Mortimer’s takes a lifetime to complete—a lifetime best described not as a series of unfortunate events, but a series of unbearable tragedies.
Spanning four of America’s most significant decades, “The Dying of Mortimer Post” takes the reader from the protagonist’s coming of age in the Pocono Mountains to the massacre of Vietnamese civilians at My Lai.
After the searing end of his military career, the reader accompanies Mortimer on a nationwide quest for understanding and healing. On this journey of discovery, he finds both happiness and sorrow in the backwoods of rural Mississippi, then a much darker side of himself on the unforgiving streets of Los Angeles.
Only when he has lost everything and is finally ready for the release of death, does Mortimer discover that he already has the one thing he’s spent a lifetime seeking, and with it, the chance to finally live again.
At once exciting, poignant and disturbing, “The Dying of Mortimer Post” is a stark exposé of a man torn by tragedy as he struggles to make sense of a senseless world. A true epic, it is part love story, war chronicle, police saga, and all tragedy. More than anything, it is a tale of redemption in a world where the very concept has ceased to exist.
Ozeroff has been a police officer for 23 years. He was a S.W.A.T. sniper for five years, and has been the lead hostage negotiator for the past nine years. He is a full-time traffic motorcycle officer and is a member of a traffic homicide investigation and crash reconstruction team.
A recipient of the Gresham Police Department’s Medal of Valor, Ozeroff is married with six children and three grandchildren, and makes his home in the Portland, Ore. area. His first short story “Bum Deal” appeared in the April 2009 issue of The Midnight Diner. “The Dying of Mortimer Post” is his second novel, following “Sniper Shot” (2005).
Learn more about Ozeroff at www.barryozeroff.com or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We salute all the men and women who serve and protect us during National Police Officer Week and Month, and to our very finest right here in Rockford. Thank you for all that you do.