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Baldwinite releases first novel in series

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Micah Dank, a Baldwin resident and Rockville Centre native, explores astrology and hidden codes in his debut novel “Beneath the Veil,” the first in a series entitled “Into the Rabbit Hole.”

The author uses fiction to write about secrets that lie in religious texts and astrology, as well as esoteric sciences and spirituality. “Astrology has been embedded in the Bible deeper than people know,” Dank, 36, explained, “and the characters take a journey through the world to find out what it all means.”

Dank, a 2001 South Side High School graduate, became interested in writing during his 12th grade English class with former teacher Russell Reid, who worked in the district for 40 years and retired in 2010. In his class, Dank remembers reading novels such as “Inherit the Wind” and “Catcher in the Rye.”

“The books that he picked out were phenomenal and really spoke to me,” Dank said. “He had such a good course load, and I just remember thinking, ‘this is what I want to do.’ He influenced me the most to write.”

Dank earned a bachelor’s degree in language, literature and criticism from Hunter College. He also comes from a family of writers — his father and grandfather both had careers at CBS News, he said.

After college, Dank moved to Boston for a short time and became interested in the supernatural and esoteric sciences. He read books on topics such as astrology, out of body experiences, religion, lucid dreaming, quantum physics, spirituality and more.

At first, he wanted to write his own non-fiction books on these subjects. But he then decided to write fiction and interweave his findings into thriller novels. “I wanted to present this information in a way that’s more interesting to read,” he said.

Dank compared his writing to the work of bestselling novelist Dan Brown. Since its release on June 30, Dank’s debut book has gained 25 positive reviews on Amazon and a five-star rating. “This book mixes fact with fiction [and] theorizing,” one reader wrote, “and the urge of open-mindedness is stressed dearly. The story is invigorating, and makes one re-think what they believe, if not in seriousness, still in sake of humoring the mind.”

“Beneath the Veil” follows protagonist Graham Newsdon, “a functioning alcoholic and Harvard medical student.” He finds a seemingly gibberish message from his recently deceased brother, a soldier who died in combat. Graham and his friends look closer into the message, leading them on a journey to discover its meaning, which “ends up going all the way to the top,” Dank said.

The next novels in the six-book “Into the Rabbit Hole” series will be released every three months; the second will come out Sept. 30 and the third around Christmastime.