Pat Wray, a Corvallis author and freelance outdoor columnist for the Gazette Times, is now a novelist. His first novel, "Gift of the Grenadier," was recently released.
"Its premise is dark," Wray said. "'The Gift of the Grenadier' refers to a grenade explosion during the Vietnam War that badly injures a man. So the novel follows the impacts of that injury through time and place, in generations actually."
Wray will have a reading and discussion of "Gift of the Grenadier" Wednesday, Feb. 7, at 6:30 p.m. at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library.
The novel follows the injured man, Jared McCauley, for years after the grenade explosion, which shatters the victim and weakens his self-confidence. Years later, his weakness leads to a jealous rage, during which he makes a mistake that costs a young boy his life.
The boy’s family is connected to a New York City mob, and their acts of revenge cause an escalation of violence that stretches across the country, widening to include Jared’s family, friends and acquaintances. McCauley must find a way to return to his former highly capable self, but does he really want to survive?
The self-published novel is available for $20 at most local bookstores, including Grass Roots Books and Music and Browsers' Bookstore in Corvallis, as well as online at Amazon.com and Wray's website, www.patwray.com. It's also available in a Kindle version.
"Gift of the Grenadier" is Wray's third book. His first release was a nonfiction hunting book titled "A Chukar Hunter's Companion." The second book, "Corvallis Reflections," featured some of his outdoor and general interest columns.
Wray graduated from Virginia Tech in 1970 and enlisted in the Marine Corps. He flew helicopters for eight years, stationed in California, Asia and North Carolina, followed by a four-year tour in Pensacola, Florida. There he received a master's degree in English, while he was an instructor in fixed wing aircraft.
Wray and his family stopped in Corvallis in 1982 to visit his parents and never left. He received his post-baccalaureate degree in journalism from Oregon State University in 1984. Off and on since that time, he has written freelance articles for the Gazette-Times, mostly about the outdoors. He also worked for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for 13 years. He retired from the Marine Reserves in 1991.
Wray has received several awards for his writing, including the 2016 Best Outdoor Column for the Outdoor Writers Association of America.