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by Michael Van Natta


The 2012 Write Place Book Contest winner is a thrilling novel about a doctor wrongly accused of murdering her patients and a disabled construction worker's fight for justice.

Fugitive Dr. Maria Sanchez-Kline, wrongly accused of murder, flees into the empty Kansas wheat fields, one step ahead of the law. Can she accept the reality that everything she knew and loved has been taken away?

Orphaned construction worker Leo Rood, finally overcoming the ghosts of his past, is suddenly disabled in a freak accident. How will he cope when he loses all connections to the real world, is forced to go it alone?

Two unconnected lives stolen—but circumstances conspire to bring Leo and Maria together. Living in the low-rent district beneath the Kansas City International Airport flight path, with the law in pursuit of Maria, and Leo descending deeper into paranoia, each battles the fact that life offers no easy street for the disenfranchised.

Just when it seems there is nothing left of their former selves, just when disaster is one leap away, the fates have their say. Can Leo and Maria take back their stolen lives? Can a person ever truly be remade?

About the Author

Michael Van Natta has been active in the writing world ever since he turned a fishing guide into a novel of unrequited love. He has written six other novels, and countless short stories, including “Grant Park” (Abaton, 2008). He is founder and facilitator of the Marion County Writers Workshop, which has met nearly weekly since 2002. He facilitated Scribbner’s Online Writer Workshop from 1998 to 2002 and has taught memoir and fiction at the community education level. He spends much of his summers at the University of Iowa Summer Writer’s Festival and attributes any skills and success he may have to those amazing teachers. He is a practicing family physician in Knoxville, Iowa.

Praise for the Book

"With Leo's Birds, Michael Van Natta has added a unique understated voice to the world of fiction, so appropriate to this story of well-drawn characters who've come unhinged from their anchors in life. This is a novel that is both beautifully rendered and deeply felt." - SUSAN TAYLOR CHEHAK, author of The Story of Annie D and Smithereens


ISBN: 978-0-9831961-6-7