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I Thought Up The Oddest Name

Gary F. Jones Author Interview

Stalking Throckmorton follows the great-grandson of a mysterious man as he tries to find the hidden family assets hidden beneath a demolished brewery. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

My maternal great-grandfather and grandfather built and owned a brewery in Bangor, WI, a small town in west-central Wisconsin. It shifted to a canning factory with Prohibition and went bust in 1935 weeks after my grandfather died. The building was used as a feed mill when I was in high school and had enough space left over to raise steers on the third floor and store boats on the North end. Tunnels and caverns built from 1862 to 1864 allowed them to brew lager beer all year long and deliver it to all the bars in town without being exposed to winter weather.

Did you create an outline for the characters in the story before you started writing or did the characters’ personalities grow organically as you were writing?

I created an outline for the first half of the book. A couple of the early chapters were dropped. Some of the characters were drawn from relatives who lived in town, a few others were inspired by people I’ve met.

To name the title character, I thought up the oddest name I could think of. You can imagine my surprise when my spellchecker corrected my spelling. Lord Throckmorton was executed during the reign of Elizabeth I in England after he failed in an attempt to assassinate her. Since then, I’ve learned of a couple people by that name in NE.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

My youngest son had Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (A.L.L.) when he was 32. He had less than a 50/50 chance of surviving. He’s doing well now, but that was a wrenching period in our lives. Nixon passed a law that funds treatment for A.L.L., but I believe that is the only type of lymphoma that is covered. The cost of treating cancers can be horrendous without good insurance.

What is the next book in the Throckmorton series about that you are working on, and when will it be available?

The next book is tentatively named “Last Gasp.” Nancy and Throckmorton discover the body of one of his elderly clients in the client’s home. There is no clear cause of death and the sheriff, in a tough re-election campaign, doesn’t want to probe too deeply. It would be easier to call it “natural causes” rather than take the risk it was murder and not be able to quickly solve it.

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Chris Throckmorton races a killer to find a treasure hidden by his great-grandfather.

A lawyer hands Throckmorton an 82-year-old letter that claims his dying great-grandfather Otto Kessler stashed the family assets in an office under his brewery. Those assets could be worth $50 million or nothing in today’s market. The village has demolished the brewery and buried the office.

Murder victims are found in homes once owned by the Kessler’s. The crooked village mayor and a con man learn of Otto’s letter and force Throckmorton to make them partners. An inept crew slows the excavation to the office, and security cameras show the killer has visited the dig. Once in the office, the men find stock certificates in companies that went bankrupt between 1950 and 1990. His partners quit. Throckmorton finds another treasure in the office, but not the one Otto put there. To keep it, he must face the killer in the dark.

Love, Dedication, and Hard Working Scientists

Gary F. Jones Author Interview

The Ice Man’s Curse follows a scientist tasked with looking at some tissue samples and ends up in a race against time to stop a mysterious illness. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

A half-remembered comment about viral diseases so virulent they completely wiped out tiny villages in medieval Europe, and since all the people were dead, the viruses died too. That is something like what used to happen in villages in central and eastern Africa. Ebola would show up and wipe everyone out before there was a chance to spread the disease to larger cities. Then a good road was built across Africa, and a disease that had been self-limiting threatened to become a pandemic.

What was your approach to writing the interactions between characters?

Those were based on my memories of the characters I’d encountered in small towns as I grew up and later as I practiced large animal veterinary medicine.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The importance of love, the dedication and hard work of scientists and medical staff, the rock-solid certainty that in any bad situation, some damned fool will make it worse.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Stalking Throckmorton,” a tale about a man who searches for his great-grandfather’s buried wealth while a murderer watches him will be released in March. “Last Gasp,” another Throckmorton mystery, is in preparation. No release date has been set.

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Nature, climate, and stupidity produce a pandemic.

Grant Farnsworth, a post-doc student, veterinarian, and virologist at the University of Minnesota is upset when his professor tells him to prepare to work on tissue samples from a 1,200-year-old corpse called the Iceman, that was found in the Swiss Alps.

Grant is already working seven days a week and his wife is eight months pregnant with their second child. The situation becomes more complicated when a Swiss professor, to avoid regulations, smuggles the samples into the United States, putting Grant and his professor in legal jeopardy.

When a blizzard diverts the professor’s flight to Chicago, Customs is hectic, and the professor mistakenly swaps his suitcase with Frank, a drug mule. When Frank discovers the mistake he and a friend follow the professor north on I-94 with the intention to do whatever is necessary to recover the missing drugs.

When snow forces the professor to stop at a motel in the hamlet of Kirby, Wisconsin, he has no idea that he’s carrying drugs and that his life is in jeopardy.

When Switzerland announces that those who handled Iceman samples are ill, and several have died, Grant is sent to Kirby to find the Swiss professor and isolate the samples. At the same time, the CDC learns of the samples in Kirby and dispatches Dr. Sybil Erypet to Fort McCoy, a nearby Army base, to get the samples under control.

Between dangerous drug mules and infected tissue samples, many lives in the snow-bound village are in jeopardy.

The Iceman’s Curse

The Ice Man’s Curse by Gary Jones has everything a great story needs, murder, mystery, love, and a thrilling plot. An iceman has been found in the Swiss Alps, and a Swiss professor smuggles the DNA samples into the US. Unfortunately, the suitcase that the DNA samples are in accidentally gets swapped with another suitcase that contains drugs. Grant, who was tasked with working on the ice man’s DNA samples, learns that those who have been around the body have been getting ill. Grant begins searching for the Swiss professor and DNA samples while Sybil, part of the CDC, also learns of the infected tissue samples. Both Sybil and Grant are put to the test when they are faced with finding the Swiss professor before Frank, the drug lord, finds him.  

From the moment I picked up this book, it took me by surprise. The mystery and suspense build page after page. Even though there are parts with some scientific terminology that some readers may not understand, it does not take away from the plot. The characters are believable, and I enjoyed following Sybil’s character. Sybil is spunky and has a great heart, hiding behind a tough exterior. I also appreciated that the author incorporated a female character in the field of science into the story.

The plot keeps you on your toes as you are on the hunt for professor Antoine hoping that the good guys find him first. In addition, Jones provides in-depth internal dialogue so that the reader is able to understand the motives behind each character’s actions, and we get an inside look into their thoughts.

The Ice Man’s Curse is a thrilling suspense and action novel. I highly recommend this fast-paced novel to those who enjoy a good medical mystery as the action and tension are throughout the story.

Pages: 350 | ASIN : B09RQ7W55C

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