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Author’s latest work captures bygone era in Central Valley

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Author’s latest work captures bygone era in Central Valley

Richard Dokey hold a copy of his book entitled 'The Hollywood Café.'

ROSE ALBANO RISSO/The Bulletin


POSTED November 16, 2009 1:00 a.m.

Richard Dokey has long traveled California’s heartland.

So it’s no surprise that “The Hollywood Café,” his latest book, has a Central Valley flavor of a bygone era.

Dokey, for example, recalled the days when Highway 99 – he simply called it “The 99” – was a two-lane road that ran the length of the Golden State, connecting towns as far north into Oregon, and when the Delta between the Sacramento River and Rio Vista was nothing but farm land prior to Interstate 5.

“‘The 99’ is a metaphor of the interior valley,” he recently said. “It was relevant to everything in the valley including towns like Manteca.”

However, in his book, Manteca isn’t mention by name in the fictional setting, Dokey noted.

A 1958 graduate of Lodi High, he was born in Stockton, grew up in Lodi, attended UC Berkeley in early 1960s, taught philosophy at San Joaquin Delta College for years, and was a contributing columnist to the Stockton Record for about 10 years.

Dokey’s passion is in his writing. His short stories have appeared in dozens of literary reviews and his work has earned numerous praises, including Best American Short Stories and Best of the West nominations for the Pushcart Prize.

His writings are also featured in a number of unique California collections, including “California Childhood,” “Valley Light,” “California Heartland,” “Highway 99, a Literary Journey Through California’s Great Central Valley,” and “Proud Harvest.”

In addition, Dokey’s body of work consists of seven books – “Two Beer Sun,” “The Hollow Man,” and a novella, “The Mountain,” to name a few.

His latest book takes place along “The 99” in the back room of a café on a dark night in the times when movies were predominantly filmed in black and white.

It’s there that old man Pete Morell is brutally murdered by two men in search of hidden treasure.

In a short descriptive of the book: “The treasure was not found. The killers were not caught. The case was closed. A half century later the past finally catches up with the present.”

Dokey has several book signings for ‘The Hollywood Café’ scheduled next month, including Borders book store in Elk Grove on Dec. 5 from 2 to 4 p.m.; Borders in Turlock on Dec. 6 (2 to 4 p.m.); and Borders in Modesto on Dec. 13 (2 to 4 p.m.).

‘The Hollywood Café’ is distributed by Baker and Taylor and is also available online at www.riversbendpress.com.

To reach reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail vrembulat@mantecabulletin.com.

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