Novel inspired by author’s unique adoption story and rare genetic disease

Charlotte, NC – Gary McPherson’s debut novel “Joshua and the Shadow of Death” examines the inner workings of the human psyche, delving into how one man’s suicide impacts the lives of many. Separation anxiety, hyperactivity and berserker (blind rage) syndrome plague this tale, causing readers to wonder if the beast within can ever be rewired.

The book is the first of the new Berserker Series inspired by McPherson’s unique adoption story. Much like the character in his book, he had a good childhood and felt especially lucky to grow up with a father who worked on rockets that got the U.S. into space in the 60’s and 70’s. But McPherson suffered from a rare genetic disease doctors were unable to identify until he was 32 years old.

Researching his biological history with the help of the Children’s Home Society of California, the service his parents used to adopt him, McPherson discovered his international ties. He had a biological mother who immigrated from Denmark and father of Turkish descent. While Behcet’s disease is a rarity in the U.S., it’s far more common in the eastern hemisphere. It was this experience that gave birth to the idea of the Berserk legend – half-siblings carrying a gene they don’t know about.

McPherson has not let his battle with Behcet’s, which has also caused Fibromyalgia and Fibromatosis that make it difficult to physically type, slow his writing. He has written dozens of short stories which are publicly available on his blog. McPherson will be donating a percentage of proceeds to the Baptist Children’s Home of Charlotte.




About the Book

“Joshua and the Shadow of Death”
Berserk Publishing | October 30, 2018
Paperback | ISBN: 978-1-7323373-0-5 | Price: $11.99 ($9.99 pre-order)
EBook | Price: $3.99 ($1.99 pre-order)
Genre: Thriller






garymac-headshotAbout the Author

Gary McPherson’s breakthrough thriller “Joshua and the Shadow of Death” tackles relevant, real world issues. National security, government contracts and greed fuel this dramatic, quick read. McPherson’s battle with Behcet’s disease, as well as his own personal adoption story, provide a unique perspective on a tale that explores suicide, separation anxiety and berserker (blind rage) syndrome. Joshua, and his journey through the shadows, encourages us to think about how we react to life’s traumas. Visit him at to learn more.





In an interview Gary McPherson can discuss:

  • His own personal adoption story and how it influenced the book
  • How the book tackles current social issues such as immigration through the character Maria based on real people in southern California
  • The theme of forgiveness woven in throughout the novel
  • How his battle with Behcet’s disease gave birth to the idea of the Berserk legend
  • How he overcomes a rare genetic disease (Behcet’s) that results in other systemic disease especially rare among men (Fibromyalgia and Fibromatosis) to continue his writing
  • The role the Baptist Children’s Home of Charlotte, NC. and Children’s Home Society of California play in the book, and why he felt important to include them

An Interview with GARY MCPHERSON

Lots of acclaimed writers are late literary bloomers. You began a new career in writing at age 52. How did you leverage your life experience to start writing?
The best advice I’ve heard about writing fiction came from The Creative Way course, led by New York Times bestselling author and founder Ted Dekker. Dekker talks about writing from the heart and putting a part of yourself on the page. That’s easy to do at age 52 because I have a lot of baggage to unload. I drew from the experience of losing my father when I wrote the death scene. I used my grief to create Joshua.

The underlying theme of “Joshua and the Shadow of Death” is forgiveness. What would you like for readers to take away from the book?
When I first conceived the idea for this novel, I had no idea how timely this series would be or how close to reality “Joshua and the Shadow of Death” would become. Society is becoming toxic. It is increasingly easy to get pulled into a negative mindset. Joshua, and his journey through the shadows, encourages us to think about how we respond to life’s insults and disagreements. At the end of the day, forgiveness is not to help the people who wrong us, it is to help us move forward and heal.

Can you speak about your own personal background and how being adopted, and making the decision to find out about your biological parents, inspired the premise of this book and what the main character is dealing with?
I spent a big part of my childhood being very ill. For decades, no one was able to diagnose my disease. Behcet’s is difficult to pinpoint because the symptoms usually don’t appear jointly and can be identical to those of other illnesses. Once diagnosed, I opted to research my biological parents since Behcet’s is a genetic disease. I found information about my birth mother, who hails from Denmark, but was unable to locate material about my birth father. I turned to genome mapping to learn more and discovered that there were Turkish markers in my genes. In short, there are two old world conquering empires duking it out inside of my body.

I started reading about Danish and Turkish history and learned that the Berserkers, champion Norse warriors said to have fought in a trance-like rage, really existed. The term “going berserk” comes from these fighters. There are lots of theories as to who they were and how berserk they actually became. This research inspired the idea of a modern day berserker who didn’t know that they were a berserker because of their orphan status.

Which writers inspire you?
James Michener’s ability to write compelling historical fiction not only takes a lot of research but a lot of talent. His writing inspired me to use places I have visited or lived for my fictional settings. I also think that the diversity and depth in Ted Dekker’s stories is amazing.

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