SNAP fishing columnist publishes crime novel
The laid-back atmosphere of retirement and RV life becomes overturned with one cellphone call in a book new to print by Larry Hunter.
Hunter, who writes a fishing column for The Stanly News & Press, brings his knowledge and experience on camping and RVs into a new forum, the mystery crime novel. New in print is his novel, “The National Park Case: A Tucker Crime Novel.”
The book was written a number of years ago and was available in electronic formats like Amazon after publishing with Smashwords, a California-based e-book distribution company. However, that changed four months ago after Hunter had entered and won a regional short story contest with Fresh Ink Group, who approached him to publish the novel.
“I had been wanting to write a book for years. I studied literature in school and read three to four books a week,” Hunter said.
The book took about seven months to finish, then he published it with Smashwords, saying “it got me online, make a little money if possible, but it’s mostly to get experience.”
Having retired, Hunter had gone back to work, then retired again four months ago and got time to focus on the book. Among other things, Hunter was a technical writer and taught at the community college level on the Jamestown campus of Guilford Technical Community College in Greensboro. Hunter was also stationed at Cape Kennedy during the Apollo missions to the Moon. He worked as a maintenance tech for the ground control systems on Apollo 8 through 17.
The National Park Case is the first of three books written in the Tucker series, though not a true trilogy, Hunter said.
“I won’t go further (in the series); I’ve gotten to know the characters too well,” Hunter said.
The story finds Tucker, who was named after Hunter’s mother who was a Tucker, sitting in a chair outside his own RV. A retired Salisbury Police detective, his cellphone rings. He is recruited by the FBI to investigate missing persons cases from four national parks. The introduction of a beautiful female suspect and an investigation which starts in the Carolinas and spans across the Southeast drives the narrative of the story.
Aficionados of the recreational vehicle scene, or RVers, will be able to pick up on some subtleties others may not in the story, Hunter said. He added readers do not have to know about RV life to get the drift of the story.
As a retired RVer, Hunter said: “I’ve always believed you write about things you know.” He added though he was not a policeman, his character, a retired Salisbury Police Department detective, “figures out during the novel he really wasn’t retired; he was just not working for a while.”
Crime novels, mysteries and thrillers are a favorite of Hunter, he said.
“You try to emulate what they do,” he explained.
Some of the things Hunter said he does not include in the crime novel are ideals which have dictated his reading choices in life. He said he does not like an illogical pattern to a story, like bringing in an unknown character at the end as the culprit.
Hunter also said he has a lead character with some flaws to a degree but not to the level of some others. To him, Tucker is “not really flawed, just a man in a bad situation.” His books also do not have “tons of characters.”
He describes “The National Park Mystery” as a procedural novel.
“You may not know who did but you can follow his thought process,” Hunter added.
Written in third person, Hunter said he initially started the novel in first person but decided to change it.
“How can he know what’s going on in a place when he wasn’t there?”
Copies of “The National Park Case: A Tucker Crim Novel” are available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon and other places, in both paperback and hardcover copy.
Continuing to write is something Hunter said he wants to do, including having finished a post apocalyptic novel.
“I’m a science-fiction guy, so why not?” Hunter said.
He added his goal the morning after he retired was simple in his writing career.
“If one person buys it and gives it a good review, I’m happy. I just want to know I wrote a book and people enjoyed it.”