Catcher’s Keeper

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What if Holden Caulfield were around when John Lennon was shot?

In 1980 John Lennon was killed by Mark David Chapman, who believed he was Holden Caulfield, narrator of the classic The Catcher in the Rye. After the shooting, Chapman remained on the scene calmly reading the book, which he later offered to police as “his statement.” Catcher’s Keeper asks the question, “What if Holden could have met Chapman, learned of his plan, and tried to prevent the assassination?”

Available to purchase on

ASIN: B00IKTU4H2 Kindle Edition $4.99

ISBN: 978-1495992780 Paperback $11.99



Alden Gallagher is miffed when his brother, Jerry, is more interested in the report he wrote at sixteen than helping him jumpstart his career as a mature novelist. After all, that report is now 25 years old and documents the lowest point of his teens – a spiral into depression! Never would he guess that Jerry would steal it and present it to his agent as his own in hopes of reviving his floundering career as a Hollywood writer.

Fiona, their younger sister, finds Jerry out while working on PR for his new ‘book.’ Eager to put things right, she convinces Alden to join the book tour and take credit where credit’s due. Embarrassed by its content, Alden reluctantly agrees to be named the subject of the book, leading one fan to become singularly focused on Alden. In early December 1980, as the tour moves to NYC, this fan follows.

At first it seems their groupie, Mark David (MD), is a harmless enthusiast of the book. But his obsession quickly turns dark. While imposing himself on the family and the tour, MD reveals an irrational vendetta against a world-famous celebrity: John Lennon. Not only does MD credit the book as his motivation, but he fully expects Alden to join his cause.

At first Alden dismisses MD as too foolish to kill a celebrity, but MD’s obsessive behavior convinces him otherwise. Jerry joins his brother to assuage his own guilt and untangle his brother from the mess he caused, and together they visit the landmarks of Alden’s teenage report in search of MD – whom they now believe is armed.




Out of 10,000 submitted entries, Catcher’s Keeper was one of only 500 quarter-finalists (top 5%) in the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA) contest. The annual contest, sponsored by, Penguin Group, Hewlett Packard, CreateSpace and BookSurge, publishes and promotes winning manuscripts by unknown or unpublished authors.



Selected as a Finalist for General Fiction in the National Indie Excellence Awards 2014. Also chosen as one of only three books to receive a sponsor prize: Winner of the JKS Communications Prize.



“JD Spero’s fascinating and thought-provoking novel spins an alternate reality where The Catcher in the Rye is published two decades later, and puts its publicity tour on a collision course with the murder of John Lennon. Through the distinct voices of Holden, his brother and his sister, Catcher’s Keeper keeps us guessing whether they can change history, right up to its unexpected conclusion. A great debut novel.”

– Steve Alcorn, Theme Park Designer and Writing Instructor

“J.D. Spero’s Catcher’s Keeper is tantalizingly irresistible with plot twists and turns that defies characterization. In the story, Alden goes to New York to recover the journal stolen by his brother which he published as his own. Unfortunately, one delusional reader misconstrues the meaning of the book and prepares to kill John Lennon. Alden and his brother must do everything within their power to foil the killing. The story is enjoyable, and J.D. Spero’s creativity is astounding. The book raises questions seldom found in a novel. All in all, this book which is inspired by a true story makes for a great read.”

– AMAZON Top 500 Reviewer



Johannah Davies Spero was born near a pristine lake in the Adirondacks and has lived in various cities such as St. Petersburg (Russia), Indianapolis, Dallas, and Boston. She has pursued her love of narrative through degrees in English, Russian, and teaching—and has worked as an actress, a yoga instructor, web design entrepreneur, freelance writer, and high school English teacher. She lives in the Northeast with her husband and three young sons.


Photo by JC Lines Photography


Sample Interview Questions

When did you know you wanted to become an author?

Where did you get the inspiration for Catcher’s Keeper?

What was the most challenging part about writing Catcher’s Keeper?

How long did it take you to write this book? What was your writing routine?

Would you recommend reading Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye prior to reading your novel?

How do you hope this book affects its readers?

What is your favorite book in the same genre as yours?

What are you working on now?

What advice do you have for other aspiring novelists?


Contact info

Twitter: @jdspero


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