The Happy Valley
Fiction by Benjamin Harnett
Serpent Key Press, October 2022
In the early 1990s, in Harmony Valley, a rural, Upstate New York village faded from its 18th and 19th-century heyday, a group of teens engaged in an idiosyncratic role-playing game cross paths with June, a mysterious girl whose family has deep roots in the area, and Clyde Duane, a janitor who makes weekly visits to a strange room – the headquarters of a secret society – opening its door with a golden, serpent-headed key. Meanwhile, an eccentric Utica lawyer pulls his young Vietnamese protégée into their firm’s special case, which stretches back to the 1840s. Decades later, in 2034, as the United States is breaking apart and a new way of life taking shape, June has disappeared. The mystery of her disappearance inspires a journey back to “The Happy Valley,” and a reevaluation of the past that exposes the dark personal and societal secrets betraying our founding myths. Harnett’s debut novel is 412 pages, with 66 full-page b&w illustrations by the author, and includes an Appendix with a Timeline, and a detailed Reading Group Guide.