(a small sample of


The Great Lenore
by JM Tohline

The tale of a beautiful young British woman, whom everyone believes to be dead. As it turns out, however, she was not on that plane that crashed into the Atlantic. And now, she is starting a new life.

"The Great Lenore is...beautiful in the same way that J.D. Salinger's books are beautiful...[it] hangs in your consciousness after the last note has sounded, making it impossible for long moments to think. One just feels." New York Journal of Books

"The Great Lenore is...a contemporary Gatsby. James Joyce, Jean Rhys and Geraldine Brooks are three of the many writers who reworked great stories to wide acclaim. JM Tohline's tribute puts him in excellent company." Washington Independent Review of Books

"The Great Lenore...[presents] mysteries about every character. Some are revealed, some not...so you're saying, 'Okay, what is this person's motivation?' The mind tends to think of these formulas. [But] there's no formula here." NPR Tulsa

In the spring of 2012, JM Tohline was featured in The Los Angeles Review as one of the authors under the age of 30 who is redefining literature.

The Great Lenore was awarded the Regional Gold Medal at the 2012 IPPY Awards.


When I met Lenore, she’d been dead for four days. “I’m so sorry,” she said. She stood on the back patio with water dripping from her hair. She looked cold. “I feel awful for barging in like this, I hope I’m not being a bother. I couldn’t go next door, you know.” “I know,” I said. The Atlantic stretched out behind her like an angry black sheet. The rain chased itself into the water. “Oh, I’m sorry. Here.” She held out her hand. “I’m Lenore.” “Lenore. Right.” Her eyes kissed mine as she brushed past me. I opened my mouth to say something. Nothing. Lenore reached the fireplace, and she plucked the poker up from beside the brick façade and stuck it into the dying embers. Ashes rose. The coals glowed brighter.

“Is there any more wood?” she said. Her voice was mesmerizing. The British accent lingered in the air long after the words faded. She had to repeat her question before I realized what she had asked. “Yeah, sure. Sure,” I said. “I’ll run out and get some.” I returned from outside with two fresh logs—rain sliding down my face, the cold pounding inside my chest—and Lenore was sitting in front of the fireplace, wrapped in a blanket. Her smile left my legs in desperate need of strength. I reached the fireplace and let the logs tumble in amongst the coals. “Thank you, Richard—you really are a sweetheart. Come down here and let me kiss you.” I bent down close to her, and she placed her fingers on my chin and tilted my face. Her lips touched my forehead. The flames licked the wood.


I learned a long time ago that people gravitate toward Mystery. I’m not much of a mysterious man myself—not in my own estimation, at least. I’m really very much normal. But over the years I’ve discovered that many people mistake me for mysterious, and this misconception has led me into some strange friendships. Fittingly, it was one such friendship that began this whole story— my friendship with Sandy Banucci.

I met Sandy during my freshman year of college. He was my roommate that year, and for two other years also, and he was the opposite of me in every way imaginable. While I preferred thought over noise, Sandy preferred to be loud and obnoxious and utterly unambitious. And while I had all the social aspirations of a hermit, Sandy was gregarious and likeable, and he became popular around campus. I probably would have hated college if not for our friendship. He made me feel alive. One of the habits that Sandy picked up during our first year together—endlessly annoying, but creating great results—was a tendency to drag me places and introduce me to his friends. “This is my roommate Richard,” he used to say. “Doesn’t he look exactly like Denzel Washington?” I don’t look exactly like Denzel Washington. But that was exactly how he always introduced me. Since that time, a lot in my life has changed, but one thing that hasn’t changed is Sandy. Even after I got to be—well, I wouldn’t really call myself famous, but we’ll say ‘well-known’—even after I got to be well-known, Sandy was still the same. I was still his “good buddy Richard, doesn’t he look exactly like Denzel Washington,” and he was still old sandy-haired Sandy. It was in the fall of last year that he called me and began this whole story.

You can find The Great Lenore in your local bookstore, on IndieBound (where you can support independent bookstores), on Barnes & Noble.com, or on Amazon.

You can find JM Tohline on jmaeCreate.com

If you enjoyed these pages, be sure to share them with friends. If you end up reading and enjoying the novel, be sure to recommend it on Goodreads, Twitter, your blog, and more—and share these sample pages, so others can taste before they commit.

You’re a busy person, I know. Thank you for sharing your time with these pages. ~JM

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