I have a treat for all my readers today. Author John Lindermuth is here to talk about bringing one of the main characters in his mystery series into the role of protagonist.
Welcome, John. Tell us about the newest book in your series and its protagonist.
Probably a majority of mystery/suspense novels today are set in major metropolitan cities or exotic locations. My Sticks Hetrick series differs in being set in a small town, rural area—not that it’s unique in this. I could name dozens of other writers who’ve chosen the same type of location. The setting reflects the kinds of places I’ve lived over the years and not a particular distaste for the big city.
The series is set in Swatara Creek, a fictional community near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and the characters frequently visit sites in the capitol. Hetrick is a retired police chief who now works as a county detective. The protagonist of Shares The Darkness, latest in the series, is one of Hetrick’s proteges, Officer Flora Vastine, though Sticks is involved in the events.
Sticks is the focus of the series, but others like Flora and her boyfriend, Cpl. Harry Minnich as well as a few town characters get their stage time. Fans seem to like that I offer this approach and reveal the lives and concerns of ordinary officers and their families in addition to the procedural and forensic detail. The bits of humor (dark, of course, in keeping with the theme)and romance hasn’t turned any off to my knowledge.
Flora has been a part of the series from the beginning. She’s come a long way. In the first novel she was a part-time dispatcher, longing to be a cop. In the second Hetrick has convinced Chief Brubaker to hire her as a patrol officer. As the daughter of a widower, Flora grew up in a male-oriented household with four brothers (two of whom are State Troopers) who honed skills she needs for the job–driving, marksmanship and self-defense.
Competent now and accepted by most of the team, she’s still has to deal with flack from Officer Fred Drumheiser and Joe Fishburn, former officer and now dispatcher. Her relationship with Cpl. Harry Minnich has intensified through the series. She’s tough and compassionate. Young, she’s still prone to the occasional error in judgment, mostly due to her compassion and innate curiosity but that just makes her more human.
Jan Kepler and Swatara Creek Police Officer Flora Vastine were neighbors and schoolmates, but never close.
When Jan, a school teacher, avid birder and niece of a fellow officer, goes missing and is found dead in a nearby tract of woods Flora finds herself thrust into the middle of an examination of the other woman’s life.
As usual, the police have more than one crime to deal with. There’s illegal timbering and a series of vehicle thefts taking up their time. And there are other issues to deal with. Flora is concerned there’s some shakiness in her relationship with Cpl. Harry Minnich who seems to be making a lot of secretive phone calls.
Still Flora maintains focus on the murder. Despite evidence implicating other suspects, the odd behavior of another former classmate rouses Flora’s suspicion. Flora’s probing opens personal wounds as she observes the cost of obsessive love and tracks down the killer.
For more about John and his work:
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/jrlindermuth
FB author page: https://www.facebook.com/John-Lindermuth-175253187537/?fref=ts
In addition to Torrid http://torridbooks.com/ and Amazon, his books are also available from:
Barnes & Noble and from other fine bookstores.