In his new novel, "Never Hug a Nun," KMOX-AM radio personality Kevin Killeen looks at life through the eyes of a second grade boy at a Catholic school in the 1960s in Webster Groves, Mo.
It's a comic world tinged with tragedy and cruelty, much like what you might remember from growing up. It will bring back a lot of memories, especially for boys, Killeen said.
"There's a huge Catholic community over on the Illinois side. I think they can relate to this," Killeen said.
Killeen, 52, a reporter at KMOX-AM since 1995, admitted that some of the stuff in the book is autobiographical but wasn't 'fessing up to what, even though the statute of limitations has long since expired.
He grew up in Webster Groves in a world similar to his narrator, Patrick Cantwell.
"When I was growing up my Dad worked downtown and wore a suit. Mom was always pregnant and in the house. We would go to the Missouri Pacific railroad tracks which was kind of our babysitter," he said.
And not a particularly attentive sitter, although railroad detectives did sometimes try to nab the kids when they strayed outside the law.
Patrick has many adventures, hopping a freight train, getting involved in a theft ring, smoking and going to the Beatles concert in 1966 at Busch Stadium only to see his grandfather get enthused and also get arrested for dancing on the field.
He will sign copies of his book from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday at Dr. Jazz Soda Fountain and Grille at 230 W. St. Louis St. in Lebanon.
He has written an entertaining novel but he hopes he will get a good turnout because, well, authors are always uncertain what people are thinking.
"I know what it is like when you write a book," he said. "You're wondering, 'Is there anybody out there?'"
The book is the result of a novel writing class he took some 20 years ago. The story has been stored in the basement since.
His teacher, David Carkeet, talked to him and suggested he give it a rework and try to get it published. So last year he did.
"As you get older, in the news grind, you want to write something that lasts longer than the 24-hour news cycle," he said.
He had had some positive feedback.
"People come up and say, 'I used to do some of that stuff years back.' Men, especially," he said. "I know what they mean. You're trying to be good and there are so many temptations."
The book retails for $14.95 and is available in area bookstores and at the booksigning.
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