New Novel Tells Story of Hard Knocks and Eventual Triumph

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Debut author Melvin T. Luster Jr. uses his own life as inspiration for his new book

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“You will see how grimy the dope game can get from a first hand viewpoint, and how quick so called friends and love ones will turn on you.” This is how author Melvin T. Luster Jr. describes his new book The Paths that Lie Ahead (published by Trafford Publishing), a gritty thinly-veiled novel about his life of crime and eventual transcendence from it.

“I actually got the concept and idea for the book when I was incarcerated in the Carter County Jail,” remembers Luster. “When I was released in August 2006 I took a few things with me, and my storyline was one of them. One day after a hard and frustrating day of job hunting, my dad, Melvin T. Luster, Sr., suggested that I write a book about my struggles since I always loved to write. When he said that, it confirmed the desire in me to be a writer.”

And write he did. In a narrative not unlike a big budget movie script, Luster tells the tale of “Milton Lusser.” Milton grows up in a single parent home in a housing project rampant with violence and drug abuse, where “drug dealing is the norm and a way of life.” Kicked out of school for fighting, Milton, whose father was absent for much of his adolescence, summons the resolve to return to school, graduate and earn acceptance into the College of Alaska. Yet, it is there, at an institution of higher education, where Milton’s life takes a dark turn.

“Through his determination to fit in and be apart of the in crowd he changes his name, character, personality and persona,” explains Luster, “ultimately transforming himself into something he wasn’t: a hustler.”

With that “hustler” lifestyle came new friends, new money and new pitfalls. After being nabbed and convicted on drug charges, Milton spends a number of years behind bars. His conviction gives him time to reflect on his life and strengthens his commitment to prevent others from following in his footsteps.

In the tradition of writers like Iceberg Slim and Donald Goines, Luster presents a rarely seen look inside the world of crime. He hopes his story helps to publicize the high costs of criminal life.

“I would like to reach two types of readers,” says Luster. “First, the ones who are judgmental, so I can destroy their stereotype of young black men. Next, I want to reach the ones who can relate to Milton Lusser, and let them know: ‘Don't let society define who you are. You’re only a failure if you say you are a failure; you’re only a felon when you accept that title. You define who you are.’”

In the end, Luster dedicates his book to the man who first inspired its completion – his father. “Though my dad was able to see me start the book, he past away before it was completed and published; and that's why part one of this series is dedicated to him.”

About the Author
Melvin T. Luster Jr. lives in Knoxville, Tennessee. The Paths that Lie Ahead is the first book in his Money, Power, and Betrayal series.

Trafford Publishing, an Author Solutions, Inc. author services imprint, was the first publisher in the world to offer an “on-demand publishing service,” and has led the independent publishing revolution since its establishment in 1995. Trafford was also one of the earliest publishers to utilize the Internet for selling books. More than 10,000 authors from over 120 countries have utilized Trafford’s experience for self publishing their books. For more information about Trafford Publishing, or to publish your book today, call 1-888-232-4444 or visit


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