When John Caine, an obscure midlevel banker from Detroit, accepts the opportunity of a lifetime to manage the backroom business functions of an important National Institutes of Health research lab in Bethesda, he believes his ship has finally come in. But his quirky penchant for illicit tinkering results in the creation and accidental release of a powerful new virus with effects no one could have imagined. Only he holds the answer to how it can be stopped, and he's not telling. Caine finds himself confronted with a desperate White House and an onslaught of rage from all quarters of the world's bureaucracies.

Fast paced, provocative, and offbeat, this cautionary story is thick with political satire and intrigue. It occurs in a world of government turned upside down, where Nancy Pelosi is president of a dysfunctional United States under her ultraliberal regime, while George Bush is a convicted felon and Rush Limbaugh a fugitive. Caine's Pestilence brings together present and former U.S. presidents, would-be assassins, two Supreme Court chief justices, familiar national media political commentators, and the infamous prison at Guantanamo Bay, all in a story readers will find engaging and controversial.

Monday, December 15, 2014


Copyright ©2014 John G. Bascom
Part 3: Cassidy acts the ass while Emily and Ian bond

From Part 1… And it is just such an edgy sixth sense of impending though ill-defined mayhem that is experienced when first meeting that rare train wreck of a very bad client.
"Brian Cassidy."  He stood close and said it loud, showing his big, professionally whitened teeth in an open-mouthed smile. 
A slightly built young blonde woman pushed the copilot seat forward and slid unaided from the Centurion's cramped back seat.
"I'm Emily Cassidy," she smiled softly while extending her right hand.  Her blue eyes met and held mine in a way that was warm and friendly and nothing more…
From Part 2... Cassidy was regaling everyone with his exploits of the day.  I noticed when he poured his third vodka and tonic, two-thirds of it alcohol, into a very tall water tumbler.  The client's pretty young wife, Emily, sat back from the fire reading a book, seemingly oblivious of her husband's ranting.
"Get a load of the little princess," he said sarcastically after he realized she was ignoring him.  "Too good for this crowd.  As long as she has her designer jeans and credit cards, she wouldn't know if she were in Africa or Cincinnati."

...I had remained by the fire alone for at least an hour when Emily walked from the darkness and over to the place she had been sitting...

...The animal was no more than fifty yards out and facing us although clearly unaware of our presence behind a stand of brush.
"Take him when he turns broadside, low directly in the shoulder.  Your first shot has to be good."  I set up the sticks.
Cassidy laid his big double .458 in the pocket formed by the crossing tops of the tripod of sticks, aimed carefully, and fired with the massive bull buffalo still facing us.  I was surprised the hunter had not waited for the buff to turn as instructed, but with a huge, stationery target at only fifty yards it shouldn't have mattered much.
" A chete atekeshura i."
"Levitt says it was barely wounded," I said to Cassidy.
"Yeah," he replied.  "I intentionally hit it just inside the shoulder so we'd get to stalk a wounded buff, and maybe get him to charge."
I could barely comprehend what I was hearing...

Part 3

I missed the sundowners before dinner, but joined everyone around the fire pit afterwards, not wanting the camp managers stuck alone with Cassidy.  He was hitting the vodka even harder than the previous evening.
"There's some news, Brian," I said cheerily to my client, wanting to confirm the next day's hunting plans before he became too alcohol-soaked to remember them. 
Cassidy looked expectantly at me but said nothing.
"There's clear sign of lions hitting the bait beneath the big acacia on the high bank above the Angwa.  A few very large tracks, too.  I suggest we give it a go first thing.  The boys set up a proper blind atop the little rise about eighty odd meters out.  But we'll have to sneak in early, at least an hour before first shooting light, if we're to have a chance.  Are you up for that?"
I took his glare to mean "yes."  He seemed to still be pouting from the words we exchanged about the manner in which he took the buffalo.
"Mr. Lentos," Emily said after a lengthy and uncomfortable pause in the conversation, "your speech betrays you as fellow American.  How long have you been here in Zimbabwe?  There must be a story there." 
I think she simply wanted to distract things from her husband's dismal mood display.
"Everyone calls me Ian.  And I came here as a very young man in my mid-twenties to have some adventure.  Over a dozen years ago.  I was fortunate to be taken under the wing of a greatly respected professional hunter and never looked back.  One doesn't get rich, but it's a rewarding life in many other ways."
"And have you a family, Ian?" she asked.
"I married a wonderful third generation English-Zimbabwean girl nearly a decade
ago now.  She came from a European immigrant line of farmers here, but that's all over now.  We have a little home on a very tiny ten-acre plot in the southern lowveld area not far up-country from the Limpopo River.  Just a vegetable garden and a few sheep.  Really a very modest place, but we love it."
"Your Ian," Cassidy cut in, drawing out my name in a way clearly intended to be derisive, "the great-white-hunter, gave me a proper scolding out there today.  Seems I don't shoot fast and straight enough for his standards."
I turned toward him.  "The biggest part of my job is keeping everyone safe, and that includes correcting practices that aren't up to snuff.  That and making sure the hunt is conducted lawfully and ethically.  It's for everyone's benefit, especially the client.  It's never intended as a personal affront and mustn't be taken that way."  I was not about to apologize.
"I'm sure his manly display of superiority only adds to his raw charisma.  Isn't that right, Emily?"
"Brian, is this necessary?"
No one made eye contact with him.  Cassidy was obviously quite drunk.  He stood unsteadily.  "I believe I'll hit the sack so I'll be fresh for our lion hunt tomorrow.  You two," he nodded at Emily and me, ignoring the camp managers, "enjoy your little conversation."  
We sat for a time in an uneasy silence.  The camp manager couple finally excused themselves and headed toward their quarters.  Emily and I were alone.
"I'm so sorry, Ian."
"It comes with the territory.  It's not the first time I've been set straight by a tipsy and irritated client.  I expected it, actually."
I doubt she wanted to go to her tent while he was still awake.  And I was nowhere near ready for sleep.  We talked by the fire for what must have been an hour or more, her lovely blue eyes reflecting the last flickering of the dying mopane flames.  About our families, growing up, Africa and a dozen other things, until the conversation faded to silence.  Until I felt embarrassed in her presence, quite sure that the intensity with which I was drawn to her was all too obvious.  Was emblazoned like a neon sign across my forehead.  
Another hour passed before we finally turned in for the evening.

In the morning we drove in the moonless darkness toward our setup by the Angwa River.  Cassidy seemed to feel absolutely no ill effects from his binge the night before and acted at first as if nothing out of the ordinary at all had occurred.  I couldn't help but admire his recuperative powers...continued: Part 4 Conclusion next week

Look for The Hundredth Lion and other outdoors short fiction in John Bascom's upcoming book Beneath a Hunter's Sky, due in 2015

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Hundredth Lion: Part 1


by John Bascom
Copyright ©2014 John G. Bascom
Part 1 Excerpt

've thought of it every day since, but still am not sure why or even what really happened.  After all, who could possibly know?  Other than maybe me.
One who hunts Africa for a living develops an eerie sense of intuition.  As when following up on a poorly shot nyati in an impenetrable jesse thicket and it is oddly quiet or somehow the breeze is too still or there is that feint, ambiguous aroma.  Yet the seasoned PH, hammered by experience against the anvil that is Africa, inexplicably knows an instant
before it happens—the black explosion of a dying buffalo from the thick brush, the terrifying grunting rush, the breath-sucking close, lowered and twisting horns of the gigantic animal that stood impossibly hidden seconds before only feet away.  When the professional hunter anticipates not the details, yet the foreboding sense of the kind of trouble that is about to be thrust upon him.  And it is just such an edgy sixth sense of impending though ill-defined mayhem that is experienced when first meeting that rare train wreck of a very bad client.

"Brian Cassidy."  He stood close and said it loud, showing his big, professionally whitened teeth in an open-mouthed smile.  His right arm dangled at his side while his left hand touched the hefty digital camera that hung from a strap around his neck.  "So this is the Chewore," he said with neither admiration nor amazement, but more as if assessing a situation that required his evaluation. 
The charter pilot had already popped the luggage compartment hatch and began unloading the gear.  A slightly built young blonde woman pushed the copilot seat forward and slid unaided from the Centurion's cramped back seat, cautiously taking the long step onto the footpad attached to the landing gear strut, then lowering herself to the ground with all the grace she could muster.
I see this one's not waiting for his buffalo or lion, but has brought his own trophy, I thought.  The wife was easily more than a decade younger than the mid-forties client.  Unlike the makeup and hairspray sculpted wives with their carefully crafted good looks, this woman possessed a windblown, bare-skinned natural beauty that was impossible to ignore.
She moved to the left and a half step behind her husband, literally in his shadow cast by the high and hot August Zambezi Valley sun. 
"I'm Emily Cassidy," she smiled softly while extending her right hand.  Her blue eyes met and held mine in a way that was warm and friendly and nothing more.

We loaded everything in the back of the bush lorry and headed down the dust-billowing two track toward the Chenje River tent camp, my client, Cassidy, riding in the cab with me, and his wife up on the padded seat above the open truck bed for the view...
...It didn't take long for my misgivings about this client to be realized.
We rounded a bend in the track among scattered mopani and thornbush when I saw a very nice warthog boar hurrying stiff-legged with tail erect through the brush.  It was perhaps seventy meters off the trail.  I stopped abruptly and we hopped out.  Levitt handed the big double down to Cassidy.
"Not much meat for lions, but it will provide some nice meals back at camp," I said.  I set up the shooting sticks and motioned Cassidy forward.  "Take it when you're comfortable."
The hog trotted another ten meters and stopped to look back just as the client fired.  The animal dropped immediately on his side and lay kicking wildly.
We rushed forward.  The shot had struck mid-body behind the ribs, leaving an ugly gut exit wound.  The warthog continued to thrash on the ground.
"Put another in him," I said.
The client stood there grinning.  "Would you look at that…"  He was bouncing from foot to foot.
"We need to finish him," I said.
Cassidy handed me his camera.
"It's set on video," he said, looking at the camera.  "Take a few seconds of me with the boar before it dies.  This'll be great."
I pushed it back at him.
"Uraya i ne banga rako," I said in Shona.
Levitt had followed us.  He took a folding knife from his pocket, opened it and carefully slid the long, thin blade deep into the downed animal's chest low just behind its exposed shoulder.  The warthog shuddered momentarily, then was absolutely still.
"Why'd you do that?" Cassidy said, irritated.
"We take game as quickly and painlessly as possible," I said calmly.  I thought he might just be simple minded, but down deep I knew it wasn't true.  "It's just the way it's done.  An unspoken but universally observed code of conduct here.  It's not only about everyone's safety, but respect for our game animals as well."  I walked quickly back to the lorry without waiting for Cassidy or his reply.….continued

Check here next week for further excerpts from The Hundredth Lion


Look for THE HUNDREDTH LION and other stories in John Bascom's upcoming collection of short outdoors fiction, Beneath a Hunter's Sky due out in 2015

Friday, September 12, 2014


Our great guide was Eli Lucas of Alaska Coastal Hunts out of Petersburg.
Check out his new website 

Kuiu Island, Inside Passage, Alaska

Kuiu Island, Alaska has the largest 
population, and the largest size, black bears in the world.

"Emydon" at sunset

The 50' diesel powered vessel
Emydon (right) was our floating base in the waters of Kuiu Island


Guides Kyle (lft), Eli (rt) and client Curt (ctr)
Sea life such as these breaching humpback whales were abundant in the surrounding waters, in addition to otters, sea lions, seals, bald eagles
Curt's big bear
John & Curt hike to trout stream
John with big Coho caught from stream


John Bascom in Petersburg AK
Look for the Kuiu Island adventure story, "UNDELIVERABLE" in Bascom's upcoming book of outdoor stories Beneath a Hunter's Sky in late 2014

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Praise for Caine's Pestilence
from readers and reviewers 

Wyblog US

I could summarize my review in three words: Read. This. Book… Caine's Pestilence is a masterstroke of satirical genius…I couldn't put it down. (Chris Wysocki August 21, 2011 www.wyblog.us) 



One of the most compelling and unusual books I have ever had the pleasure of reading...totally original and both comedic and horrifying at the same time.  From the time I opened the first page, it made me want to read it straight through…if you decide to read only one book this year, it should be Caine’s Pestilence.  (LD Jackson Oct. 2, 2011 www.ldjackson.net 


Free Republic

(H)ighly recommend, but …more scary than Stephen King's "IT" which, to this day, still causes goosebumples when I think of the clown-monster.  I will not even try to offer up a glimpse of the terror and horrible events that are part of the plot, and I do mean PLOT!!  Get it and set aside an evening to read it. Make sure the doors and windows are locked and unplug the phone! (GRRR…Free Republic, Sept. 7, 2011,


By Melinda Le Baron—October 30—Goodreads...very tightly plotted... dialogue is priceless...pacing lickety-split quick...ending so surprising you could have knocked me over...perfect for people who like finishing novels with a smile...by far this book is singular in its execution.


BGabby--January 20--Goodreads...I loved this book! Nancy Pelosi as president? G W Bush imprisoned for war crimes? The hopelessly politically correct doublespeak? I haven't laughed this hard at a political novel since Tricky Dicky and Good As Gold...All I know is that I'm keeping this one to enjoy again.


Amazon.com Reader Reviews 

NEW  5.0 out of 5 stars By  Joyce Metzger--July 4--Savage Satire Coupled With Dark Intrigue...excellent...A thought-provoking story...(author) writes from dedicated research and true life experience

By Psychonate--Sept 1--awesome book! Amazingly entertaining...down right scary! Should be a requirement for students.  Finished in two days and that's only because I had to sleep and work.

By Dannette—March 26… rides the fence of politics beautifully, with a spot-on sense of timing and humor.  I found myself laughing countless times at the irony 


By "cobweb"—October 9…Spellbinding with an edgy awareness that the ridiculous situation inching Caine to his death is uncannily possible… Caine's observations, inappropriate humor and irreverent satire bind this twisted plot into an intriguing read and a wakeful night… Totally great reading and we want more. 


By Daune Robinson—April 14…can't remember the last time I enjoyed finding a new author this much - well, yes, I can - it was when I read Watchers and fell in love with Dean Koontz! This book was a pleasure to read. I laughed, cried, screamed and could not put it down. Read it! 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

CNBC Comments on Caine's Pestilence


Political Satire Novel Lampoons Nancy Pelosi, Liberals

"One of the most compelling and unusual books ...ever"  Political Realities


GLADWIN, Mich., -- Caine's Pestilence, a novel melding biotech mystery and political satire, has been released by Canniche Cove Publishing. Written by new author John Bascom, the fictional work unfolds in a surreal 2015  where Nancy Pelosi is president and the ultra-liberal wing of the Democratic Party firmly controls America.

The novel is distinctive in that it defies standard classifications of literary genre, containing elements of action-adventure, biotech science fiction, humor, and political parody. Bascom uses actual public figures as characters. In addition to Pelosi, Minnesota Senator Al Franken is the chief justice of the Supreme Court, while Rush Limbaugh is a fugitive beaming bootleg broadcasts into the US from Canada.

John Bascom, author
"I wanted to write something absolutely unique," Bascom says, "something that would give voice to my concerns about the destructiveness of the liberal agenda taking hold in our country, but in a way that avoids rants or preaching and is delivered in an entertaining, engaging way." Bascom's story unfolds from the pen of the simple, hapless central character, John Caine, writing his memoirs from his death-row cell. An obscure administrator at the National Institutes of Health, Caine fortuitously creates a biological agent that, accidentally released into the population, changes the perceptions of ordinary people about the liberal agenda. The Pelosi administration then goes crazy and Caine is persecuted mercilessly in their efforts to stop it.

The author's mission of entertaining and engaging has met with success according to the conservative Wyblog.us, who calls Caine's Pestilence "...a masterstroke of satirical genius" and tells the blog's fans to Read. This. Book. Today! And the blog Political Realities says it's "...one of the most compelling and unusual books I have ever had the pleasure of reading." Individual Amazon reader-reviewers awarded the maximum 5 stars on average overall.

Caine's Pestilence is available in softcover or Kindle at Amazon.com and as a Nook eBook from Barnes & Noble.