If you're looking for a last-minute Christmas gift, a book by a local attorney might be a good choice.
Chad Green — a York County lawyer, licensed captain and commercial waterman — and co-author G. Tom Ward have written "The Crown & Cardinal," a book centered on a fictional terrorist plot to kill thousands of Americans and destroy a peace conference at Yorktown.
"The President of the United States is desperate," the book's back cover says. "Facing certain defeat for re-election, President Al Brewer shocks the world by announcing a Middle East peace conference set in historic Yorktown, Virginia. Some believe the peace conference is a bold stroke of leadership, but others claim it is a delusional attempt to win re-election."
But, the cover continues, "peacemakers will always have enemies," describing a plan by a multinational company, Verchercom, to destroy the conference and the American president, and leaders of Britain, Israel and Palestine.
One man, Hasim, "lives the anonymous life of a Manhattan taxi driver," before he's "activated for duty" in the attack.
As the entire world focuses on York County, a newspaper reporter — Shaun Kelly of the Daily Press — witnesses a terrorist attack at the Yorktown Pub. "Investigating the story, Shaun is suddenly thrust into a life threatening drama of spies, terrorists, and a secret society that has molded American history since the Revolutionary War," the cover says.
Green, 44, grew up in York and graduated from Hampton Roads Academy before going to both college and law school in Alabama, and working as a lawyer there. He returned to York County in 2006, and ran unsuccessfully in 2011 for the House of Delegates seat won by Gordon Helsel of Poquoson.
In writing the book with Ward — his former fraternity brother at the University of Alabama — Green put lots of Peninsula connections into it. "Growing up here, it's just really a special area we live in," Green said. "I tried to bring a lot of that out, with the history and facts and places I put in there."
The Daily Press is described in the book as the local "newspaper of record," while Pat Woodbury — named after the Newport News City Councilwoman — is the paper's editor-in-chief.
"When you write it, you have kind of imaginary characters, and you start thinking who would fit in, and someone you know comes in and fits the bill," Green said. He said Woodbury would make a good newspaper editor because she "always has a lot of questions" at council meetings.
"She's always asking 'why' and wants proof," Green said.
The book's "President Al Brewer" was named after the former governor of Alabama, who was also Green's former law professor at Samford University's Cumberland School of Law, in Birmingham. Green said the real Brewer has a presidential bearing.
The reporter who came up with the idea for a peace conference is named after David Yancey, who in real life is a friend of Green's and member of the House of Delegates. York-Poquoson Sheriff Danny Diggs in the book is the namesake of the real sheriff.
The U.S. Secretary of Commerce in the book is the namesake of another friend, local business owner and former Virginia Port Authority chairman Jeff Wassmer. Verchercom's lawyer in the book, who Green said "ends up being a good guy," is named after Paul Michael Vercher, Green's college roommate at Alabama.
The book's main character, Daily Press reporter Shaun Kelly, wasn't based on a real person, Green said. Instead, he's "a Woodward-Bernstein with a little bit of Fletch in there, struggling with an alcohol problem, which many people and families can relate to."
In the book, Kelly is a York native who's trying to overcome his alcoholism and regain his job at the Chicago Tribune.
Also featured in the book are some of Green's favorite restaurants — Smokin' Joe's, Harpoon Larry's, Surf Rider, Joe & Mimma's and the Yorktown Pub.
"I blow that up in the second chapter," he quipped of the Yorktown Pub. "Just because I blow something up doesn't mean I don't like it."
The book, self-published and printed by Caldwell Printing in Denbigh, is 365 pages, but with larger print style. He said he's sold "a couple thousand" books, with 12 book signings in five cities in two states, often holding them at restaurants rather than bookstores.
On Amazon, the paperback book is available new from $15.65, used from $7.93, plus shipping costs. The Kindle edition is $2.99.
Peter Dujardin and Ashley K. Speed cover courts and crime for the Daily Press. Dujardin can be reached at 757-247-4749, and Speed can be reached at 757-247-4778.