Pigeon River Blues
by Wayne Zurl
Winter in the Smokies can be a tranquil time of year—unless Sam Jenkins sticks his thumb into the sweet potato pie.
The retired New York detective turned Tennessee police chief is minding his own business one quiet day in February when Mayor Ronnie Shields asks him to act as a bodyguard for a famous country and western star.
C.J. Profitt’s return to her hometown of Prospect receives lots of publicity . . . and threats from a rightwing group calling themselves The Coalition for American Family Values.
The beautiful, publicity seeking Ms. Proffit never fails to capitalize on her abrasive personality by flaunting her alternative lifestyle—a way of living the Coalition hates.
Reluctantly, Jenkins accepts the assignment of keeping C.J. safe while she performs at a charity benefit. But Sam’s job becomes more difficult when the object of his protection refuses to cooperate.
During this misadventure, Sam hires a down-on-his-luck ex-New York detective and finds himself thrown back in time, meeting old Army acquaintances who factor into how he foils a complicated plot of attempted murder, the destruction of a Dollywood music hall, and other general insurrection on the “peaceful side of the Smokies.”
Read an excerpt:
Are the Sam Jenkins books imitating life or the other way around?
Guest Post by Wayne Zurl
Good cops are born actors. All you have to do is watch a pair of world-class interrogators go through
their routine and you’d become a believer. And all cops have stories to tell. In many cases, their reality is that which much fiction is based. I’m surprised more cops don’t write books when they retire.
What a reader likes is very subjective. But I’ve heard that some people like my stories. That may be true, because I sell a few books. Here’s where I confess—I have more of a memory than imagination. Most of my stories are based on actual incidents I investigated, cases I supervised, or things I just knew a lot about. Often, I composite incidents into a single storyline and embellish and fictionalize it to make the finished product more readable. Not all police work is a thrill a minute. Recently, I’ve combined things I’ve seen since retiring and incorporate them as components of a story that originated in New York, but as ever, gets transplanted to Tennessee.
PIGEON RIVER BLUES is one of these eclectic blends of numerous vignettes surrounding one story-
The Collinsons and their henchman, Jeremy Goins, that trio of right-wing morons who threaten country singer, C.J. Proffit, are based or real characters I’ve met.
Since I began writing, I’ve been looking for the right place to introduce retired Detective John Gallagher, the goofy-acting but extremely competent former colleague of Sam Jenkins, who suffers from a severe case of malapropism. “John,” who is now a regular cast member at Prospect PD, is also based on a real person with whom I worked for many years.
Giving Sam and company an unwanted job of providing personal security for the famous singer allowed me to recall a few assignments I had in the Army and the reoccurring VIP security details we were bamboozled into taking on during my time in one command of the police department where I worked.
Originally, I had included an addendum or author’s disclaimer at the end of the novel—sort of a “don’t try this at home” statement about some of the things Sam pulled off during this adventure. But the publisher didn’t want it, and he was probably correct because they were all things that in reality, whether good police practice or not, are done for the sake of expedience.
You’ll read a statement at the beginning of all my books sounding something like this: ‘This book is a work of fiction. Any similarity to persons living or dead or to actual incidents is a coincidence and a
figment of the author’s imagination.’ Yeah? Nuts. I was there. I knew these people. But I take iterary license to change things as I see fit. I make incidents more exciting, people more beautiful or uglier, and to paraphrase Jack Webb’s weekly statement on the old TV show DRAGNET, I change the names to protect the guilty . . . and keep me out of civil court.
Thanks for inviting me to your blog to meet your fans and followers. To all those who take the time to read my guest posting, I wish you the best and hope you enjoy the rest of the autumn and have happy holidays and a healthy and prosperous new year.
Wayne Zurl grew up on Long Island and retired after twenty years with the Suffolk County Police Department, one of the largest municipal law enforcement agencies in New York and the nation. For thirteen of those years he served as a section commander supervising investigators. He is a graduate of SUNY, Empire State College and served on active duty in the US Army during the Vietnam War and later in the reserves. Zurl left New York to live in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with his wife, Barbara.
Twenty (20) of his Sam Jenkins mysteries have been produced as audio books and simultaneously published as eBooks. Ten (10) of these novelettes are now available in print under the titles of A MURDER IN KNOXVILLE and Other Smoky Mountain Mysteries and REENACTING A MURDER and Other Smoky Mountain Mysteries. Zurl’s first full-length novel, A NEW PROSPECT, was named best mystery at the 2011 Indie Book Awards, chosen as 1st Runner-Up from all Commercial Fiction at the 2012 Eric Hoffer Book Awards, and was a finalist for a Montaigne Medal and First Horizon Book Award. His other novels are: A LEPRECHAUN’S LAMENT and HEROES & LOVERS. A fourth novel, PIGEON RIVER BLUES, was published in 2014.
For more information on Wayne’s Sam Jenkins mystery series see www.waynezurlbooks.net. You can read excerpts, reviews and endorsements, interviews, coming events, and see photos of the area where the stories take place.
YOUR JAVA SCRIPT MAY NEED TO BE UPDATED IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING DIFFICULTY USING THE RAFFLECOPTER ENTRY FORM