Writer Joseph J. Airdo // Photo Courtesy of Dan Baldwin
In “Sparky and the Twins,” a young man named Lee Harvey Oswald acts suspiciously throughout the city while making veiled threats about President John F. Kennedy. He also has the miraculous ability to be in two places at once.
At the center of this impersonation operation is a nightclub owner named Jack “Sparky” Ruby — a gunrunner, dope connection, FBI informant and mob-linked operator who plays a key role in the violent reception planned for a presidential motorcade through Dealey Plaza. Also in the mix is a dedicated cop who, working on her own time, gets wind of an assassination plot and one of Ruby’s exotic dancers who has her own suspicions.
Sears said, “This is it.” He pulled the Fireball to his lips and kissed the muzzle. He crossed himself with the pistol in hand and stepped back to the fence. He held the pistol just above his shoulder with the muzzle pointed up. He whispered, “Para bahia de cochinos, jefe.”
Jack heard the mummer of the crowd grow into an excited cheer. He bent forward and put his head in his hands. The pop of what sounded like a firecracker snapped him into attention. Sears slowly placed the Fireball between two pointed ends of the picket fence and placed his right eye against the scope.
The presidential limousine headed down Elm Street. JFK waved. Jakie waved. John and Nellie Connally smiled.
Jack looked over the fence with trembling lips.
His face paled.“Sparky and the Twins” by Dan Baldwin
The political thriller, which leads up to the real-life tragedy that befell our country on Nov. 22, 1963, was written by Mesa resident Dan Baldwin — an author of westerns, mysteries, thrillers, short story collections and books on the paranormal.
Proud to announce “Sparky and the Twins” as the inaugural selection in its summer book club, Images Arizona recently caught up with Baldwin to ask the celebrated and award-winning author a few questions about the novel.
From where did you receive your inspiration for this book?
I have studied, lectured on and written about the JFK assassination since 1976. An early realization that the official story is in direct conflict with the documented evidence motivated me to speak out.
Aside from that initial inspiration, were there any other experiences from your life that played a part in the setting, characters or trajectory of the plot?
I was in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, and drove past the Texas School Book Depository that night. I acquired a bootleg copy of the Zapruder film, which also had a dramatic impact on my opinion of the quality of government investigations.
What themes did you aspire to tackle with this particular work? Did any other themes reveal themselves to you during the writing process?
The Sparky trilogy is a fictional series based on documented events in the life of Jack Ruby — events not generally known to the public, but facts that provide a look into the events of Nov. 22, 1963. My goals were two-fold. First, tell a damn good story. Second, demonstrate that the official story on the assassination is seriously flawed.
What or how are you hoping your book makes readers feel? What other takeaways do you hope they have?
“Sparky and the Twins” and the others in the trilogy have an appendix listing sources for the factual events in the fictional work. I hope people will take up the challenge to discover for themselves what really happened Nov. 22, 1963 and in the well-documented cover-up that followed.
“Sparky and the Twins” was published in 2021 and is currently available in paperback and ebook from Amazon, Kindle, Barnes & Noble and other major distributors.