Author of Nashville politicking novel unveiled

“West End,” a novel that deals with Nashville politics and newspapers, was published with the author listed as Crockett White, a pseudonym. The Tennessean reports it was actually written by Jim Squires, a Nashville native who once worked at the Tennessean before becoming editor at the Orlando Sentinel and Chicago Tribune.

“West End” is billed as “a novel of envy, revenge and dirty money.” It features fictional characters based on the likes of Nashvillians John Jay Hooker and the late John Seigenthaler, but with different names. The story includes a newspaper rivalry that resembles the competition between The Tennessean and the Nashville Banner years ago.

“All the things I’ve written had been true,” Squires, referring to his many newspaper and book bylines, told a crowd at the author-unveiling event at Vanderbilt University’s First Amendment Center. “And I think that if Jim Squires’ name was on this book, people would think it’s true.

“None of the things in the book happened to anybody that looks like someone else in the book. But all of those things happened to many, many people in many, many places like Nashville over the last 20 or 30 years.”

“West End,” which begins in the late 1960s, is a first-person account of a young reporter from the perspective of Squires. Fictional names in the book include Jack Hickenlooper, who is clearly a newspaper editor based on Seigenthaler, the longtime Tennessean editor who died in 2014. Another character is based on Hooker, former Democratic nominee for Tennessee governor in 1970 and 1998 and a longtime attorney and advocate. The book has a newspaper called the Clarion inspired by The Tennessean.