www.montereycountyweekly.com FEBRUARY 8-14, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 29 LIT John Amos is a man of many professional lives—a professor, a novelist and a lawyer. The Pebble Beach resident released his newest novel, Cleopatra Caper, in November. It’s his fifth. Amos, who holds a PhD from UC Berkeley and a JD from the Monterey College of Law, wrote his first book of fiction when we all entertained the idea, shortly after the outbreak of Covid. Elements of his own biography resulted in The Student, a story about a group of Americans studying in Cairo during 1967. A professor with 25 years of experience, his specialty was Middle Eastern politics and societies. He has lived in Egypt, Lebanon, Libya and Turkey. “Academic language is flat,” Amos says, and he should know. His academic publications include two books, Arab-Israeli MilitaryPolitical Relations: Arab Perceptions and the Politics of Escalation and The Palestinian Resistance: Organization of a Nationalist Movement. “It’s just a string of information. Fiction is all about evoking emotions. But you have to learn the mechanics [of writing] all the same, until it becomes your second nature,” he says. Since fiction knows no time and space limits, in Cleopatra Caper, Amos sets his plot in the London of an aging Sherlock Holmes. In fact, his young and careless characters are nothing but callow Holmes’ and Dr. Watson’s wannabees, annoyed that they don’t get as many cases to solve. About Cleopatra, Amos says that she is underestimated in history. He calls her a kid who almost conquered the world. “She knew six languages and was an absolute ruler,” he says. “When she lived in Rome for 10 years, it was to unite [via her offspring] two empires—Egypt and Rome.” All the roads in Amos’ fiction lead to the Middle East and usually have something to do with antiquity. He is also interested in the Victorians, pointing to Lytton Strachey’s Eminent Victorians. Strachey was a member of the Bloomsbury Group, along with Virginia Woolf. “If I hadn’t become a professor,” Amos says. “I would like to be an archaeologist. My daughter is an archaeologist and she often helps me with questions I have while writing.” Currently, Amos is working on a novel about the famous historical figure T.E. Lawrence, to whom the movie Lawrence of Arabia (1962) does no justice, Amos says, promising a more-lively portrayal. DANIEL DREIFUSS He Dunnit Pebble Beach professor and novelist publishes his latest book, a sleuthing tale. By Agata Pop˛eda John Amos’ fifth novel, Cleopatra Caper, was published in November. The Middle East expert is now working on a fictional account of Lawrence of Arabia. UPseaside.com • (831) 899-2232 1760 Fremont Blvd, SeaSide UniverSity Plaza SeaSide’S LifestyLe Shopping Center Beer Garden LeaGues TournamenTs Beer Garden LeaGues TournamenTs LynnsArcAde.com 1760 Fremont BLvd. ste d1, seAside Order Online at HarumiSeaside.Menu11.com • (831) 899-9988 Open Daily fOr lunch & Dinner Only the finest andthe Freshest Monthly MeMbership - $100 Daily pinball pass - $20 (aDult) $15 (chilD/stuDent/Military hourly pinball - $10 private parties - $10 tuesDay RESTAURANT ’23 VOTED Best Thai Food 6 Times! Enjoy Fresh and Flavorful Cuisine Lunch: Mon-Thu 11am-2:30pm Dinner: Mon-Thu 4:30-8pm Fri 4:30-8:30pm, Sat 3-8:30pm Last seating 15 mins before closing 1760 Fremont Blvd #F1 • Seaside • University Plaza • 394-2996 • BaanThaiSeaside.com