Neversink Chronicles Reviews

Kathy Hare from the New Falcon Herald had this to say about John Dwaine McKenna’s The Neversink Chronicles: 

“…read “The Neversink Chronicles.” It deserves to be on “The New York Times Best Sellers” list. Let’s help put it there!”  Read Kathy’s full article HERE.

A belated, but still energetic congratulations on your writer award and all of the accolades so richly deserved and honestly won.  Your ‘chronicles’ are still in circulation among the literati and energetic beer drinkers here on Rocky Hill, with these denizens of drink eagerly awaiting the next offering from you.

I have to say and this was the 2nd reason for contacting you, how rich and exciting the MBR’s have been lately as it seems a new burst of energy has assaulted your writers garret, anyway Steve Hamilton is here at Daniel Pierce this Friday and with your endorsement.  I’m going to the library.

Miles Ellison
Retired history professor


So there I was, surfing on my Kindle to download some summer reading and came across this title, “Neversink Chronicles.”  I’m thinking, there just aren’t that many folks out there who ever heard of Neversink, much less been there.  McKenna and me!  So I look further and discover it’s your work, so I download and am about half way done.  Congratulations, nice work, I understand you are working on yet another book.  I will look forward to it.

Bill Callis
Scottsdale, AZ


What a magnificent piece of writing. Once again, congratulations. Obviously, the last chapter was absolutely chilling!
Eric Bernstein
High School Principal



by Carol Smythe

Historian, Town of Neversink

John Dwaine McKenna has just published his first book The Neversink Chronicles, (Rhyolite Press, $15.00, 338 pages, ISBN 978-0-983-99520-3).  I was fortunate to see a pre-publication copy.  The book is a fictitious account of life in the Catskills beginning around the time the Rondout and Neversink Reservoirs were built. “Chronicles” tells how people lived their lives in McKenna’s make-believe world.  Eminent domain had brought unexpected, unwanted change to the inhabitants of the areas taken so that New York City could have water for their 9 million residents.

Truthfully, I couldn’t put the book down.  It was too much of a challenge following this trail that went from dark humor to terrible crimes to dead seriousness and back again.  It seemed I was traveling in a time capsule beginning with Eureka Poker Night in 1932 and ending with The Destiny of Skyriders datelined Somewhere in Time.

The accuracy of the historic, socio-economic and geographic detail was the glue that held the stories together for me.  Consider me näive but I was surprised at the amount and variety of curse words that McKenna’s characters used.  However it was refreshing to have characters saying “Jesus H Christ”.  That was the classic in cursing from the 1930’s when I was a kid.  (Does anyone know what the H stands for?)

The building of the reservoirs, the Viet Nam War and all the ordinary and extra-ordinary happenings that could be part of a person’s lifetime are woven into The Neversink Chronicles.  Mostly it is crime fiction; sometimes it seems more science fiction.  The book may be hard to categorize but it is well worth the time spent reading.


May 20, 2012


Dear Mr. McKenna,

Last week I received a copy of your autographed collection, The Neversink Chronicles, sent by my long-time friend Ann Brooks.

Man, what an impressive group of stories!  Wide-ranging, from the Rhyolite Mountain of junked cars kept by Oliver Varley to poker players in Rocky O’Mara’s garage, from the riveting realism of “Just Another Day” in Vietnam (–like a Tim O’Brien story) to the SF alien green glob in “Stoners,” the pages keep turning to more unique situations: the disastrous walls of water sweeping down in “Fictition,” the Hogs trapped 850 ft below ground in “The Shanachie,” the meteorite crashing through the ceiling of the Ten Eel Tavern in “Starfall on the Neversink”– all just amazingly creative tales.

Exactly right dialect (“Memory and the Nature of Friendship”), twists and turns of plots, your almost encyclopedic knowledge about a variety of places, historical events, automobiles make this a truly fine collection.


Elroy Bode
El Paso, TX


I have almost finished The Neversink Chronicles and have really enjoyed reading it. I read a few stories each nite; didn’t want to read it all at once; more interesting this way. The Paddy Farrell Narrative sounded very familiar to me . . . that must be one you contributed to. Am I right? Did you contribute to any others? I feel like I know Oliver Varley and his family . . . So, Mr. Varley would let you come and go thru his “junk?” McKenna’s writing does make me feel connected to the people and the stories and understand a little more about your area.

Tonight I start on “Fictition” I hate to come to the end.
Let me know when John Dwaine writes another book. I’ll buy it!