Manassas Journal Messenger | Manassas Park man releases book of short stories

Local writer and author, Larry Buttram, has released his third book.

His newest book is “The Greatest Gift.”

While Buttram’s first two books are mystery suspense novels, “The Greatest Gift” is a book of short stories.

In the title story, 6-year-old Stephanie Renner, upon being diagnosed with a terminal illness, requests that her parents take her to the top of Mt. Everest so that she may talk to Jesus. In desperation, her parents take her to the Greatest Gift Foundation, an organization which grants sick children their last wish.

The center’s director, Jack Ellis, has never failed to grant a child their wish, but now he is being asked to do the impossible.

How will he respond to such a wish? There are seven short stories in the book, all dealing with people in difficult life situations who try to solve their problems on their own before turning to God for direction.

When asked why he decided to change directions and write a book of short stories, Buttram said “I had written the stories many years ago but had them set aside to work on my novels. Now, with my first two novels complete and selling well, I thought it was a good time to bring out the book of short stories. And, with Christmas coming up, I hope such a book will make a good gift.”

However, Buttram hasn’t forgotten his novels. He is currently working on the third story in the False Witness trilogy, called “The Third Generation.”

The focus of the story, according to Buttram, “will be a sequel to ‘False Witness’ and ‘Honor Thy Sister.’ It begins 10 years after the end of ‘Honor Thy Sister’ and deals with the children of Ethan and Sally. I think that it’s my most ambitious work in that it goes back in time and shows how the decisions people make not only affect them but also their descendants. I’m about one third of the way through the book and hope to have it released by next summer.”

For those not familiar with Buttram’s other books, “False Witness” begins in East Tennessee in 1963 when a young boy, Ethan Ward, is walking down a dusty country road to a friend’s house. Two black strangers in a pick-up truck stop and give him a ride. Soon the truck is pulled over by a deputy sheriff who begins harassing the two men. One of the men pulls a gun and kills the deputy. Ethan runs through the woods and escapes. The men are never caught and Ethan lives in fear of their return. Then, five years later, Ethan learns by accident that things are not what they appear, and that good and evil are not divided along the color line.

“Honor Thy Sister” begins 10 years after “False Witness” ends and deals more with the woman in the story. Sally is a happily married school teacher with two children. Her life is going well, when her wayward sister, Rita, decides to move back home. Rita apologizes for having abandoned the family, and Sally is happy to have her sister back. Then, when tragedy strikes, Sally must decide if Rita is the innocent victim, or is the cause of the problem.

Buttram lives in Manassas Park with his wife, Bridget. They have two children and four grandchildren.

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