Ann Arbor-based author R.J. Fox to hold book launch on Saturday at Pages Bookshop in Detroit

Author's novel 'Awaiting Identification' inspired by Detroit Free Press article

By Matt Giles - Associate Producer

Ann Arbor-based author R.J. Fox and the cover of his book, "Awaiting Identification." (Credit: Fish Out of Water Books)

ANN ARBOR - Inspired by an article in the Detroit Free Press that chronicled the vast, alarming number of unidentified bodies that show up in the Wayne County Morgue each year, Ann Arbor author R.J. Fox has written "Awaiting Identification," from Ann Arbor publisher, Fish Out of Water Books. As the book itself is set in Detroit, the official launch party will take place at 6 p.m. on Saturday at Pages Bookshop, which itself will celebrate its third birthday. Fox will be joined by Aaron Foley, author of "How to Live in Detroit Without Being a Jackass," who will moderate the Q&A. There will also be an afterparty at Northern Lights Lounge beginning at 9 p.m.

"Inspired by a Free Press article way back in 1999, I first wrote this as a script, optioned it to a producer and then when that didn't pan out, I decided to turn it into a book, using the same formula I used for my first book," Fox said by email. "19 years later, the book is out, and these characters have now finally been released into the world. That's why I decided to go all out with this after party at Northern Lights, with some Detroit techno legends and artists. It's a celebration of both the book and 20 years of blood, sweat and tears."

Jon Wilson, Fish Out of Water Books founder, is quite proud of the book and very complimentary of Fox's writing style.

"'Awaiting Identification' is a stunning debut. Five intimate character portraits over five chapters taking place on Devil's Night in 1999 Detroit," Wilson said by email. "I was initially fascinated by how Fox was able to incorporate the four other characters into each main character's chapter, allowing the reader to view the evening's events from multiple perspectives. I was subsequently drawn into the lives of these five lost souls," Wilson continued.  

"Fox's masterful prose will reel you in and leave you thinking about NYC Girl, Leaf Man, R.I.P., The Zealot, and Cat Man long after you finish the book ... To be from the other side of the Pond and introducing a brilliant author whose book is about Detroit and to be introducing it in Detroit on Saturday evening is a dream come true," Wilson said. 

The event on Saturday will include a reading and Q&A with music provided by Detroit techno legend Sean Deason. If you love supporting local authors, we cannot recommend this event enough.

About "Awaiting Identification" 

Five unidentified bodies lie in the Wayne County morgue on Halloween night. Although each character was on a separate journey, fate leads each of the five victims to cross paths on the streets of Detroit en route to their tragic demise. Set against the backdrop of a Devil’s Night party at legendary Detroit concert venue and nightclub, Saint Andrew’s Hall, "Awaiting Identification" details the final night on earth for five lost souls.

NYC Girl: a former dancer arrives back home from New York City to make amends with her mother and begin to rebuild her life.

Leaf Man: a musician and part-time DJ is on the cusp of his big break with one final, unexpected drug deal to complete before he can go totally straight.

R.I.P.: a career criminal must come up with a large sum of money to pay for his father’s medical expenses, despite his yearning for a crime-free life.

The Zealot: a religious fanatic on a mission from God to rid the city of filth.

Cat Man: a kind and trusting homeless man wanders the city looking for new friends.

Like the city in which it takes place, "Awaiting Identification" is a story of hope, identity, and above all, redemption.

About R.J. Fox

Fox is the author of “Love & Vodka: My Surreal Adventures in Ukraine,” published by Fish Out of Water Books in 2015. He is also an award-winning writer of short stories, plays, poems, and screenplays. Two of his screenplays have been optioned by Hollywood studios. His work has been published in numerous journals and magazines. Fox is the writer/director/editor of several award-winning short films. He resides in Ann Arbor. Visit rjfoxwriter.wordpress.com or follow him on Twitter @foxwriter7

About Fish Out of Water Books

Fish Out of Water Books was founded in 2016 by Jon Wilson. Jon has worked in publishing for almost thirty years, initially in his hometown of Manchester, England and since 1994 in Ann Arbor. Jon and his wife, Laurie, have both experienced fish out of water syndrome. Two people raised in northern cities of their respective countries, they soon found “two countries divided by a common language” with Laurie moving from Michigan in 1988 to live in Manchester, England for five years and Jon moving with Laurie from Manchester to Michigan in 1993. An early impetus for Fish Out of Water Books came from a book idea they have about growing up in the 1970s and 80s on opposite sides of the Pond with music and popular culture as the main backdrop. Their own fish out of water story idea led them to reflect on the vast range of fish out of water stories there must be out there . . . and the rest, as they say, is history.

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