Most people take comfort knowing their family and friends will remember them after they die. For Susan Shepherd, “remembering” is bullshit. She wants an eternal shrine to her sacrifice: a book that never goes out of print.

Shepherd served her country in the Gulf War, got shot while serving her community as a cop, raised an ungrateful daughter by herself — and for what? A diagnosis of terminal cancer and she isn’t even fifty. If you were in her shoes, you might agree that nothing short of national perpetual acknowledgement will do.

She’s glad you feel that way; she just wrote a memoir and sent a flurry of query letters, hoping a publisher will memorialize her with a best-seller. After hitting Send, she waits not-at-all patiently for an editor to decide if her story will sell enough copies — that is, if her life really mattered.


Well I believe that this is one of the most bizarre and entertaining books that I have read in a while. Think of it as the equivalent of Quentin Tarantino films but in books. Very random scenes that strangely belongs together. Susan Shepherd is dying of cancer and she has written a book about her life so that when she dies there is going to be something permanent of her left behind. Something solid that means she existed because there doesn’t seem a lot of people that know her that would really give a damn. So it is strange, there is Susan Shepherd as author introducing different chapters in the book, trying to sell the concept of it to publishers and also getting different people that the book is about to tell their part in it. Once you can get your head around this it is a pretty good read. Though in my opinion how Susan Shepherd came to be in charge of a gun, either in the Army or as a Police Officer is beyond me because she is volatile to say the least.

Why are  gullible people drawn to con artists? Oh yes, greed, but you have to feel sorry for one young man in this story, because although the lady in question didn’t quite get her pound of flesh, she certainly managed a couple of ounce! shudder, shudder, shudder! With the young man, I would think, in need of a shrink for the rest of his, can’t trust anyone ever again, life. It was obvious that this was simply an appetizer, if it came off, because boy was she wicked in the main event.

There is just about every story line that you could imagine told by Susan Shepherd that goes on behind closed doors in a lot of cities. You just don’t normally get the condensed version. You will either love or hate this very unconventional book. I loved the unpredictability of it all. I like different. I like a book that in a few months time I can still tell people about it clearly. So give it a go and make your own mind up.



Dan Klefstad interviews other authors for NPR station WNIJ. He also wrote the novel “Shepherd & the Professor” (Black Rose Writing) and published the short story “The Caretaker” in the journal Crack the Spine (issue 209). He lives and writes in DeKalb, Illinois, and Williams Bay, Wisconsin.

3 thoughts on “SHEPHERD AND THE PROFESSOR by DAN KLEFSTAD #Review @danklefstad

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