Houston radio listeners know Freddy Cruz as the guy from KRBE. They’re about to get a look at a different side to his offbeat humor: Cruz recently had his first novel, When America Fell Silent, published, and he’s embarking on a Bayou City book tour that takes him to Murder by the Book this Saturday.

The novel is a dystopian political thriller about an ex-SEAL who leads the resistance against his former girlfriend. She becomes the country’s first dictator after her parents, the president and first lady of the United States, are assassinated. She repeals the First Amendment and begins a campaign of public executions. 

Cruz had always thought about writing a novel, but putting pen to paper began as a challenge from his daughters.

“Then as I wrote, I challenged myself to see it through to the end,” he explains. “At the time, my oldest was doing a lot of writing as well. So, I wanted to show her that it’s possible to go into uncharted territory and have a blast while doing it.”

When America Fell Silent tackles what it means to lose the rights we hold dearest as Americans. For Cruz, who works as a member of the media, freedom of speech is not only a right—it’s essential to the occupation. As his book’s hero fights to save the country from itself and its tyrannical leader, it should make readers think about how important our rights are, and why safeguarding them is paramount.

He says the feedback he’s received so far to the story as been positive (scathing Houston Press review notwithstanding). And he’s very much looking forward to connecting with readers as he talks about why the book's themes captivated his own attention enough to write the story. Even so, the idea he’s suddenly a person an in-demand autograph feels a little bizarre.

“Signing anything is always weird for me,” he says. “I don’t see myself as any different from anyone else. But it’s cool and I’m down for signing until my hand falls off–then I’ll sign with my feet!” 

Cruz isn’t one to rest on his laurels, though. He says he’s got ideas for “at least a few more” books. 

September 21, Free. Murder by the Book, 2342 Bissonnet St. 713-524-8597. More info at murderbooks.com.

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