The Derelict Light


The Derelict Light

A Novel

Mike Stark

198 pages


October 2023


$21.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

October 2023


$21.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

October 2023


$21.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

The Derelict Light takes place in Prohibition-era Astoria, Oregon, a bleak and rain-soaked fishing town where violence and vice have found a home at the edge of the continent. After the Great War the city is awash in strife: civic leaders stoking economic ambitions, Finnish socialists gunning for a revolution, gamblers and boozers operating outside the law, and salmon fishermen just trying to survive the most dangerous river on the West Coast. Then comes the Ku Klux Klan in search of fresh recruits.

When a fire destroys most of the city, and a body is found hanging from the docks, the city tears at its seams. Lines are drawn, and influence wields violence. Inspired by historical events, The Derelict Light explores a Pacific Northwest town in the grips of catastrophe, caught in a bitter struggle between progress, greed, and human frailty.

Author Bio

Mike Stark is a longtime journalist and author. His previous books include Chasing the Ghost Bear: On the Trail of America’s Lost Super Beast (Bison Books, 2022) and Wrecked in Yellowstone: Greed, Obsession, and the Untold Story of Yellowstone’s Most Infamous Shipwreck. He lives in Tucson, Arizona.


“Mike Stark takes us a century into the past in this gripping tale set around the 1922 Astoria fire. The Derelict Light depicts a community in conflict with the era’s prominent leftists—Wobblies and Finnish socialists—organizing to build a better future, and the notorious Klan scheming to further oppress those on society’s margins. The brutal realities of Northwest working-class life jump off the pages of The Derelict Light. Few books, fiction or nonfiction, so ably capture the everyday experiences of working people who lived in this gray, rainy land. Stark deserves praise for penning this captivating novel. A must-read book for anyone with an interest in Northwest history.”—Aaron Goings, author of The Port of Missing Men: Billy Gohl, Labor, and Brutal Times in the Pacific Northwest

The Derelict Light belongs to the tradition of John Steinbeck’s In Dubious Battle and The Grapes of Wrath, and the American proletarian novels of the 1930s, in highlighting the intersections among work, migration, and politics. Mike Stark does a fine job of creating the world of 1920s Astoria, firmly planting the reader’s feet in the muddy streets. He adds unique and needed detail to our nation’s ongoing conversation about its core principles. An impressive novel.”—Tracy Daugherty, author of 148 Charles Street and Snow and Straw

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