John Litweiler

Goodbait Books Publishing Empire

Sundidos: A Novel by John Litweiler

From the back cover:

Sundidos! The greatest revolution in technology since the invention of the steam engine? No more pollution, global warming, nuclear waste, rising heating and driving expenses, energy shortages, no more wars over fossil fuels. Sundidos are inexpensive solar-cell batteries that make fossil fuels and nuclear fusion obsolete. Who wouldn't like that?

The people who murdered sundido inventor Nora Heatley, that's who.

Devastated, Joe Heatley, her husband, hunts her killers while he tries to save sundidos. What he finds is a 700-year-old conspiracy to manipulate mankind's destiny. Joe faces a parade of characters including right-wing and left-wing hypocrites, Nora's hippy boss, her terrified, genius co-inventor, a rapture-obsessed cop, two morbidly punning women, and local, state, and federal law enforcement agents who compete to harass Joe. Serious, droll, exciting by turns, Sundidos is certainly a heart-pounding story. It also something more — amid the 21st-century devastation caused by internal-combustion engines, the need for sundidos is in deadly earnest.

What, then, are sundidos?

In the novel, sundidos are the newest generation of solar-cell batteries, inexpensive to produce in all sizes and shapes, inexpensive to purchase, and they last almost forever.

Here's some of the truth behind Sundidos: When solar-cell batteries were invented in 1954, a New York Times article predicted that solar cells would someday bring "the realization of one of mankind's most cherished dreams — the harnessing of the almost limitless energy of the sun.'' While solar power has become widely used in the 21st century, solar batteries for consumers are still little more than novelties, partly because of the expense of making them.

But that cost keeps dropping. Meanwhile the cost of mining and manufacturing fossil and nuclear fuels keeps rising, while the damage they do to the world and to people grows more and more savage.

When will solar-cell batteries become the world's principal energy source?

You can order Sundidos from Amazon, http:/​​/​​​​gp/​​product/​​0979874521, or from 57th Street Books and Seminary C0-op Books, http:/​​/​​​​. You can also order Sundidos from Goodbait Books - just e-mail jblitw@​​ Goodbait Books will sell it for $12.00 US plus $3.00 more for mailing (and we'll adjust the mailing price if you want more than one copy).

Here's an excerpt from Chapter 6 of Sundidos:

The FBI agent who talked to him was a babe: tall, thick black hair not quite down to her shoulders, crisp white shirt, black pants. She could have been a nurse or a minister, with that concerned look on her pentagonal face, head forward, no smile, brows up over big eyes and bigger cheekbones, the crisp way she said, “How can I help you, Mr. Heatley?” I only want to be helpful. I would surely never imprison you, deny you your rights, deport you to a Middle Eastern jail full of sadistic guards.

They were in the FBI office, her desk, with a computer, phone, and some papers on it, was in a cubicle amidst a row of other cubicles. Some cubicles had other people sitting at them, talking on telephones, typing into computers. Those others paid no attention to her and Joe. In contrast to the 90-something degrees outdoors, here an air conditioner kept the big room at 64 degrees. Joe sat, hands on knees, in a chair next to her desk and said, “Why was some FBI guy following me around yesterday?”

“What makes you think one of us was following you yesterday?” I, a highly professional agent, am also so very caring. A nice girl like me would surely never attach electric clamps from my battery to your testicles.

“Cause I followed him back here to this building last night,” Joe said. She was watching him with a concerned expression that said, Don’t make nice, helpful me belittle your paranoia, Mr. Crazy Man. So Joe added, “It was ten o’clock last night. I followed him right back here.”

“How could you follow him if he was following you?” Agent Helpful said it in a way that seemed she was interested, not mocking. Instead of arresting you, torturing you, I’ll merely stick you in an asylum for the criminally insane.

“All right, what happened, he wound up following a friend of mine, she’d been with me all evening. So I followed him and watched him spy on her.”

The FBI agent said prettily, “Before this conversation gets any more complicated. Alice Kim, your friend. That’s who our agent was following all the time. Not you.”

That shook up Joe. He sat up straight, said, “So you admit it.”

“Of course. We’re not hiding it from you. We would have preferred that you hadn’t told her that she was being followed, but you really did no harm.” Agent Concerned looked so cool, crisp, and trim, something about her screamed great health: perfect levels of muscle, cholesterol, heart rate, fat, blood cells, zero to sixty in a second. Maybe it was her sweat, which Joe could smell — she must have been working out and came in from the gym without showering that morning.

“I didn’t tell her. What makes you say I told her that?”

“Maybe she found out on her own then. We’ll have to tell our agent to be more careful. Both of you were talking on your cell phones as you were moving, so he took for granted you were talking to each other.” Now aren’t you grateful I condescend to be so very informative, you mere citizen?

“Wait. You telling me your agent knew I was following him?”

“Yes. That’s why we’re glad you came here today. It shows you don’t know why we were following Miss Kim. Now that she knows she was followed last night, we’ll watch her closely. If it’s any comfort to you, we may decide not to follow her much longer.” After all, we’re your friendly FBI, all we want is what’s best for you and your pals, whether you know it or not.

Joe figured the FBI babe was giving him a runaround. “How come you’re following her? What’d she do wrong?”

“She hasn’t committed any crime. She’s not even suspected of any crime. But I can’t tell you any more than that.” Did the agent almost smile, with pale-red lips, at Joe after she said that? Such a healthy-looking unblemished face, too.

Joe felt his temper boiling up. He didn’t like that, tried to keep it down. He knew he’d curse, stammer, and get red in the face when he got mad. “Well, talk to me. Are you protecting her? What danger is she in? Who’s threatening her? Why don’t you tell her?”

“We know now she’s probably in no danger at all, Mr. Heatley. Now, really, I can’t tell you any more than that.” That almost-smile again, a look of, of course I care about you and Alice Kim and by the way I’m safe and secure here with my gun, and you don’t have one, ha ha.

“What about your other FBI guy, the one in the black van that was following me?”

“The one who went into the Sheraton? He wasn’t one of ours. We don’t know who that was. The van was a rental, we learned that from the license plate. But that’s out of our jurisdiction.” She was back to looking concerned again, caring but cool and professional.

“What do you mean? What I did was none of his business.”

“He didn’t commit any crime last night. It’s true, his trailing you was suspicious. But there was no hint of a federal crime, so we’re not involved. If you want to file a complaint about him with the Franklin police, go ahead. And by the way, between you and me, I’d rather you not tell Miss Kim that it’s the FBI that’s following her.” The pretty agent watched Joe as she said that, now with her head tilted a little back.

Joe couldn’t take any more. He pounded a fist on the agent’s desk. “God damn it! Between you and me! My wife got murdered and she never once harmed a soul in her whole life, never once. Me and Alice Kim got followed around the city last night and you won’t tell me why. What’s going on here? Did the U.S. government kill my wife? Are you covering it up? Is that why you’re following Alice Kim and me? Why do you feed me this bullshit?” He was leaning over her desk and sputtering.

Agent Florence Nightingale was standing now. She looked like she was concerned for his mental health, like she was sorry but she was now going to call the guys in the white coats. She said, “I’m sorry about your wife, Mr. Heatley. That was a terrible thing. I wish there was something we could do.”

“Yeah, I bet you wish. Bullshit! You probably held their coats while they killed her. Is anything you said the truth? What’d Nora ever do to you? What’d she ever do to the government? What’d me and Alice Kim ever do to the government? Your lying mouth — ‘oh, we can’t tell you anything about that’ — bullshit! ‘That’s out of our jurisdiction’ — bullshit!”

The bright healthy young agent still had that superior caregiver look on her face, and she extended her arms from her sides as if she were sympathetic but had to obey her orders. The look just made Joe more enraged. “You’re nothing but a waste of time,” he said, and started to walk away. But when he got to the elevator he stopped and turned to her, yelled, “Look out you don’t suffocate to death in your own bullshit.”

A number of people in the FBI office were watching Joe yell at Agent Sunshine. She gave him that sorry-but posture again. She was thinking how easily she could disable him for life with one blow of her hand. Which a good public servant like herself would surely never do. A couple of minutes after he left, back at her computer she called up all of the top secret FBI files on Joe, Nora, Alice Kim, Herman, and their families too, and reread them, beginning with the most recent.

Selected Works

Nora Heatley's invention will save the human race -- why, then, was she murdered? Why is her husband Joe pursued by police, FBI, CIA, thugs, and crazies? A noir novel in broad daylight about an ancient conspiracy to manipulate mankind's destiny.
Black people rule America. Whites are the underprivileged minority, and--bad news!--Chicago is in an uproar over a stolen mojo.
When your darker side is the one thing you can't escape - where do you run? The brilliant novel by Michael O'Flaherty.

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