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An Book Review

Because when one of an Adirondack Outlaw’s Saranac Lake brothers writes and publishes his own book, that’s what brothers do.


I’ll be totally honest. When my sister-in-law announced that Dermott Morgan had just written a book, if she had said:

“Did you guys hear? Dermott got arrested last night for disrupting traffic. He was riding a cow up Route 86. The cops chased him over a mile before he finally fell off up by Donnelly’s. Dermott said he just wanted some ice cream.”


“Did you guys see the TV news? Dermott’s a hero! He apparently jumped into the ocean, fought off six great white sharks, rescued two school buses full of kids, and resuscitated a whale.”

My immediate reaction would have been about the same. Folks who know Dermott know just what I mean.

So, when my sister-in-law went on to announce that Dermott was having a book signing that Saturday afternoon at a restaurant in downtown Lake Placid, there was no hesitation.

I knew my mission.

Saranac Lake’s own Dermott Morgan, AKA: GIN MATTERS
At his recent book signing.
The Great Adirondack Brewing Company
Lake Placid

I cannot think of a family more interwoven into the very fabric of Saranac Lake life than the Morgan clan. Two of Dermott’s older siblings were classmates of mine. As a result, class trips to Dewdrop’s for pizza were one of our most special class treats. Dermott’s older sister was one of my first swimming lessons instructors (and boyhood crushes), back when the beach was still down on Lake Flower. His older brother John was and is local legend, an NBC Olympic sports commentator who sometimes doubled as one of Coach Raymond’s football coaches.

When my brother Ray and sister-in-law Patty were struggling to provide day to day in-home long-term care for her parents, Dermott’s brother Sean and his wife Tammy were right there by their side pitching in… for five years!

I suspect nearly every vintage Saranac Lake family is at least a shirttail relative to the Morgan clan in one way or another.

Dermott sharing HUNTING CAMP author insights with my brother Ray
The Great Adirondack Brewing Company, Lake Placid
“Always Remember, GIN MATTERS!”

Dermott summed it up best during our book signing interview:

“My older brother John always told me when I left the house: “Remember your last name is Morgan & whatever you do in the community will reflect on the family.”

For my part, I was Dermott’s ROTC sponsor when he first went to college, which would have been the fall of ’85. He was a freshman cadet at Ithaca College on one hill. I was a senior cadet at Cornell on the other. Our ROTC programs trained together. Dermott likes to brag, “Yeah, Dick. Your school’s hill might have been steep, but my school’s hill was a whole hell of a lot steeper.” A shared Saranac Lake sibling truth that likely had nothing whatsoever to do with geography.

I think those are our primary connections: Saranac Lake family upbringing, military service, love and respect for all things Adirondack, combined with an unquenchable thirst and zeal for life.

I lost track of Dermott after that ’85 fall semester. I graduated and went into the army. Dermott traded school for the Marine Corps, where he served for four years. He later finished school, gaining his bachelor’s in Phys Ed at Cortland, followed by a master’s in technology at Potsdam.

We’ve run into each other every now and again since then, at local events, family gatherings, or here and there around Saranac Lake. When we do, it’s always the same. Dermott greets me with that distinctly raspy Morgan voice they all have, a big engaging smile, a firm handshake, and a great big bear hug.


HUNTING CAMP, written under the pen name GIN MATTERS, is a somehow hauntingly familiar fast-moving tale that evolves an increasingly eerie hunting camp twist. It took me from cover to cover in one evening’s read. I enjoyed it immensely.

Right from page one, I found myself quickly engaged. Through chapters with titles like “Big Charlie”, “Forest Home Road”, “Encon” & ” Hot Sara & The Bel”, I was immediately transported to familiar terrain. As the tale’s fastmoving plot unfolded, I repeatedly found myself quietly chuckling:

“Yup. Been there done that! I know that place.”

When I asked Dermott, AKA GIN MATTERS, what made him want to write a book, he nodded and explained.

“Dick, my daughter Haleigh has a master’s in English. I’m a phys. ed teacher. She’s not into sports. It was a great way for she and I to connect.”

When I asked him about the process of writing the book itself as the author GIN MATTERS, he related that HUNTING CAMP took him three years to write.

“I’ve always been of the philosophy that everyone has a best seller inside them but can’t get it on paper. I figured it out.”

GIN MATTERS, you most certainly did.

“In Action”
The Great Adirondack Brewing Company, Lake Placid

I asked him to lay out the HUNTING CAMP plotline inspiration for readers in his own words.

“We all grew up in the Adirondacks. Around Saranac Lake, we all hunted or knew hunters. It was like a religion. I saw Bambi as a kid. I rooted for the deer. I’ve eaten venison. It’s ok, but I prefer cow steak. We’ve all seen deer in the wild. But can you imagine a 200lb deer running at 30mph at you! You’re gonna lose! I wanted to write a book where the deer wins.”

When I asked him to sum up HUNTING CAMP in one sentence, GIN MATTERS nodded and thought for a moment, then responded emphatically.


HUNTING CAMP can currently be purchased thru Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The book is available in both paperback and on Kindle. To find it search: GIN MATTERS HUNTING CAMP.

GIN MATTERS is already hard at work on a sequel: “The Rise of Big Red”. Planned for release this fall on the first day of hunting camp.

Get those game cameras ready!





Both story and author are authentic Adirondack.

That’s for Saranac Lake certain!


Until Our Trails Cross Again:


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