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Jim Trainor


Books by Jim Trainor



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Mail Girl
ISBN 978-0-578-83177-0 (2021)
Things that are lost may still be found.

Shelby Sims delivers the mail in rural Wisconsin, trying to move beyond her past wounds by caring for those along her routes. When the mail piles up at Mr. Riley’s old cottage, Shelby senses something is wrong, even though everyone assures her that he’s probably just gone fishing.

Then, Shelby is the victim of an ugly incident at the post office. When she stands her ground, she risks termination and possibly prosecution. Impulsively, Shelby sets out in her old Buick, heading west, to Colorado and perhaps beyond, to find the missing Mr. Riley and maybe herself.

Andrew Logan is a priest on a quest for discernment, hiking deep into the mountain wilderness. A fall leaves him injured, lost, and far from help. Starving and cold, he is facing death. Or is he on the verge of finding life?

Mail Girl brings together two people with seemingly little in common, searching for answers that may be found only in the most unlikely places. It’s a story about risk-taking, danger and love.

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68: A Novel 
ISBN 978-0692185377 (2018)

The dead never attend their high school reunions.

But Ed Turner did.


Ed Turner has arrived at his fiftieth high-school reunion for the class of ’68, only to learn that everyone there thinks he died fifty years ago. Surely there’s been a mix-up. But soon Ed comes to believe that he’s either delusional or entered an alternate reality, where another version of him did die at age eighteen.

As Ed becomes increasingly desperate to find a way out of this mind-bending nightmare, he is aided by a quirky high-school student who reads college physics books, a crusty old quantum physicist, and classmates at the reunion: including a psychiatrist, a pastor and a fisherman from Alaska. And he encounters Ellen, who he never dated but who could have been the love of his life.

But nothing can prepare Ed for the startling appearance of a late-arriving guest, who will challenge everything he thought was possible and force him to confront the tragedy that has shaped his life.

68 takes the reader into a mysterious realm that science is only now beginning to understand. Shadowed by the tumult of Ed’s graduation year—brutal war in Vietnam, political upheaval and great rock and roll—68 shows us that even in a new universe, the most important things never change.

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" ... a riveting tale, full of adventure, danger, romance and nostalgia."
" Trainor skillfully captures the magic of starting over in this memorable road trip novel." (Publisher's Weekly)

The Mountain Goat

ISBN 1539455122 (2017)


An old camper van was all Ryan Browning’s mother left him when she died last year. Ryan, a thirty-something physicist in LA, has just been fired and could be facing prosecution. It might be a good time to hop in that old van and head out on a long road trip, perhaps to never return. When he goes to the bank to close out his account, Ryan meets the lovely customer service rep, Amanda Seward, who has a few issues of her own. And that’s just the first unexpected encounter on a two-thousand-mile trek through beauty, adventure and danger.


The Mountain Goat follows Ryan and Amanda on an exploration of nature, science and art, life’s meaning, and love. But also leads them face-to-face with a deadly threat far greater than they can imagine.



The Mountain Goat
Listen to an excerpt
Q&A with Jim Trainor
Questions for reflection
and discussion
Paintings in 
The Mountain Goat

Up North

ISBN 0692307346 (2014)


Terror waits in the dark north woods

Wil Weathers has lost his job and his girlfriend, and dark shadows from the past now threaten to return. A backpacking trip up north might just be a cure for the blues.


But while waiting for a late-night bus in a small north woods town, Wil finds a body. When he returns with help, in the form of the attractive Sally, the body has disappeared. This sets into motion a series of disturbing events, which sends Wil into flight to the safety of his big-city apartment.


When Sally goes missing, Wil returns up north to find her, only to become the subject of a statewide police manhunt and the target of unknown killers. With no resources and few clues, Wil takes to the woods in a last-ditch attempt to find Sally, on a collision course with an insidious eco-terrorist gang preparing to destroy the lives of millions. Now they want Wil and Sally dead.  


But redemption is found in the darkest places



Failure and Redemption in Hawaii
The Sand People

ISBN-13-978-1490936789 (2013)

Karen Langford has come to Maui with Kevin, her self-absorbed engineer husband of ten years. She misses the kids, she’s concerned about how she’ll look in a bikini, but mostly she’s counting on the allure of Hawaii to turn Kevin’s eyes away from his laptop and toward her. But when Karen meets Steve, a charming time-share salesman with a past, she and Kevin are swept into a spiral of betrayal, conflict and violence that everyone will call a tragedy. Some will call it murder. Their hope for rescue depends on Mitch, an alcoholic minister running from an unspeakable horror. But pathetic Mitch cannot even help himself, until he is brought face to face with the event that has ruined his life. The Sand People takes us to beautiful Maui, amidst posh beachfront resorts, then draws us deeper into the Maui most tourists never see: rural onion fields, the county jail, a funeral and a run-down bar far from the beachfront glamour. It blends laughter and tears in grappling with issues that plague our lives: broken relationships, addiction, shame and death -- and pointing toward the victory of hope over failure.

Honorable Mention, ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year 2012
Waverly's Universe

ISBN-13-978-0615709215 (2012)


Living in the shadow of his famous father, Josh Waverly is a physicist going through the motions of his monotonous life with few friends. Evangelina Gomez has grown up in a traditional Hispanic family in a remote village in northern New Mexico and guards secrets that could be the undoing of her entire family. They have little in common, other than the fear and shame that cast darkness over their futures. But Evangelina and Josh’s lives are on a collision course, as they are thrown together and pursued by relentless, unknown killers. In a desperate flight for survival, Josh and Evangelina take refuge in a run-down nursing home in the middle of nowhere, among the aged and the dying. In this place of seeming helplessness and isolation, they must confront old demons, even as they are catapulted toward a final deadly showdown that means reaching for strength that may be beyond their grasp.

Grasp: Making Sense of Science and Spirituality

ISBN-13-978-1456354084 (2010)

We are all trying to grasp the answers to the big questions. Why are we here? How did we get here, and just what is our place in this vast and mysterious ‘here’ we call the universe? Is there a meaning to it all? Where do we go for answers, amidst the tangle of our networked lives? Some of us seek answers in science, while others seek answers in philosophy or religion or history. Does either science or religion have all the answers to the big questions we have, or does one contradict the other? In Grasp: Making Sense of Science and Religion, Jim Trainor draws upon his experience as a professional physicist and as a church pastor to tackle these issues and show how modern science supports the search for truth through religious faith. Grasp leads you deep into the heart of the matter, even if you have no background in either science or religion. Grasp explores the intersection of modern physics with the claims of an ancient Judeo-Christian faith, bringing together the thoughts of great scientific and religious thinkers with the real-life stories of people who have grasped for the truth.

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