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"This unique novella breathes salty air and reeks of brine, whiskey, and heartbreak. Take the ride." Chad Byrnes, critic.

Ahwahnee Resident Publishes First Book

AHWAHNEE—Ahwahnee resident Michael Decker has just published his first novel entitled A Fitting Epitaph. That alone is reason for applause. Even more, he did it at 82 years of age.

Michael first wrote A Fitting Epitaph in the 1970’s during the time when he worked as a journeyman typographer while raising his family in the San Francisco Bay Area. He and wife Joyce have two children. Daughter Peggy Anderson-Decker teaches school in Raymond and is the mother of Alissa, 15, and Alison, 10. Son Sean is a writer living in the Hollywood area. Sean became a driving force behind the book, encouraging his dad to pull A Fitting Epitaph out of mothballs. Both Sean and Michael edited and proofread the book twice prior to publication.

Michael Decker publishes first novel at age 82

Set in Sausalito

Set in the Sausalito area of California, A Fitting Epitaph takes readers back to Michael’s days with his wife’s dad. It incorporates actual incidents of his father-in-law’s as well as occurrences when Michael and his father-in-law went fishing together. Amazon describes the book as follows:

Bill is out of options.

Unemployed, alone and returning to the raucous seas of Northern California, the only home he knows, he takes a loan out at the bank and pours his last cent into his final chance for redemption: a tired old boat without a name.  After encountering his old friend Ike, an antiquated, blistering sailor with a penchant for cigarettes, whiskey and danger, and Tom, an eager neophyte with the edge to match them both, they concoct a plan to make them whole.

Taking their chances on the newly christened Skate, the three unlikely souls embark on a risky expedition into Baja, Mexico to fish for albacore.

Book Chosen as Editor’s Pick

Chosen as an Editor’s Pick, the book has garnered favorable reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, which calls it “A marvelous, meditative, action-packed sailing adventure.”

Chad Byrnes, critic for The Village Voice and LA Weekly, states, “A Fitting Epitaph is a classic tale told with a modernist’s insight and edge. A journey into the granular lives of down-on-their luck fishermen, Michael Decker’s prose is lyrical and tender but also savage and authentic, possessing a true grasp of the nautical world and all its sleights of hand. This unique novella breathes salty air and reeks of brine, whiskey, and heartbreak. Take the ride.”

Michael Decker with one of his catches.

Michael and Joyce live on a 40-acre ranch in Ahwahnee and call themselves movie buffs. When not writing or watching movies, Michael spends time as a volunteer for the Madera County Sheriff’s Department COPS (Citizens-on-Patrol) program. Attendance at a Neighborhood Watch program led Mike and Joyce to get involved. The program required extensive training and certification, which the COPS volunteers funded themselves.

A Fitting Epitaph is available from Amazon in both Kindle and print versions. Although he has no book signings currently scheduled, he’d be willing to do one if requested. 

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