Author avoids “normal” Foresthill in new book

A face familiar in Placer County’s courtrooms for two decades has parlayed all that experience into a book that is already creating waves in, of all places, Foresthill.

Undoubtedly, author David Brooks noted, it starts with the title – “Foresthill: A Public Defender’s Bedtime Reader.”

Brooks who recently moved over to the El Dorado County Public Defender after 20 years with that office’s Placer County counterpart, said that Foresthill just fell into a starring role in his collection of stories about people he’s met as he’s gone about his job.

Walking the fine line of client confidentiality, Brooks hasn’t included anything that wouldn’t have taken place in the courtroom or appeared in print publicly. He has also changed names and fictionalized descriptions to protect the innocent – and the guilty.

But many of the stories originate in the mountain community of Foresthill so why mess with a perfect setting.

“I picked Foresthill because it’s a town that you would never see unless you intend to go there and because the mix of people who live there makes Foresthill unlike any place I have ever visited,” Brooks said.

Field work in Foresthill

Brooks took some time recently to check out his book’s setting of choice and found a mixed reaction to his decision to give the town the star treatment. Folks at the Red Dirt Saloon seemed to appreciate the stories and even thought they recognized a couple of locals, he said. Brooks left a copy at the bar for some between-shots perusals and maybe some reading out loud. The library wants a copy. But Brooks reports an icy reception at the chamber office.

“Their attitude is that there are plenty of normal people in Foresthill,” Brooks said.

Brooks agrees, but added that the normal ones just aren’t that interesting to write about.

Bottom line for Brooks is that he likes Foresthill.

“I’ve always marveled at the community and how so many dissimilar people have learned to reside together,” he said.

The “Bedtime Reader” stories were collected from a series that Brooks, a Buell motorcycle enthusiast, prepared as “bedtime stories” for other Buell riders on the group’s blog.

“My sons enjoyed them so I saved them,” Brooks said.

Over time, the manuscript found its way from a friend, to the friend’s wife, to a book club and a new publisher in Folsom, Your Book Place.

The book isn’t available in local stores but can be ordered at

by Gus Thomson/Media Life – 5/2/2011 (via Auburn Journal)
Media Life’s Gus Thomson can be reached at or (530) 852-0232.