Once in a Blue Year begins during the first days of the Gulf War, with two navy barracks roommates remaining onshore as their submarine leaves without them. Unraveling through different points of view in both present action and flashbacks, the story follows Dan, who is conflicted about receiving a medical discharge, and Trevor, who is seething with anger over the incident that forced him to miss his deployment.
With nowhere else to go, Dan moves into the home of his friends Nathan and Heather and their young son, James. Meanwhile, Trevor is furious with Nathan, who has managed to volunteer to go to battle in Trevor’s place. But Trevor’s hotheaded temperament has finally caught up to him, and regardless of his skill as a true naval warrior, he’s suddenly been ordered to “stay in.”
In Nathan’s absence, Dan is charged with looking after Heather and James as he rebuilds his life, while Trevor struggles with his anger and intimacy issues in his relationship with girlfriend Tara. But before they can move forward, they must both come to terms with the fateful event at sea that changed their lives forever.
“In this lyrical debut novel, the lives of two U.S. Navy men take dramatic turns after they’re cut from a submarine mission during the Gulf War… Debut author Durkota writes a remarkable narrative centered on the afflicted mindsets of his Navy men… And while Durkota’s work often feels like a thriller, it’s more of a psychological study in which the characters, like flashes of lightning, are wonderfully alive for a very short time.”
"Michael Durkota's first novel is ostensibly about the lives of submariners in the U.S. Navy. A closer reading of “Once in a Blue Year” reveals a more nuanced tale."
"Durkota's plot is inspired, and his writing is accomplished and vivid."
"Once in a Blue Year is a mesmerizing story of four friends who sometimes act like enemies and sometimes beat seemingly impossible odds to rescue their pals in a crunch."
"The author has crafted a fine, first novel taking advantage of the unique backdrop of submarine life few will ever experience."
Michael Durkota is a middle manager by day and a writer by night. He has previously worked as a janitor, dishwasher, shoe salesman, cashier, editor, firefighter, and nuclear power plant operator. He writes fiction and spends more time in pool halls than he probably should. Mike once wrote a poem about his calico cat, Coconut; even at the age of eight, he had a flair for alliteration. His first novel, Once in a Blue Year, is available on Amazon. His second novel has been “almost done” for two years; the title changes monthly. Find him online at http://www.durkota.net or on Twitter @durk13.