Posted by Literary Titan
The Cold Trail follows Sean Kruger as he finally goes back to what he does best to solve an old cold case. Did you know how you wanted this book to start and end or did things change as you were writing?
I know how I wanted to begin. But since I don’t outline, my books start with a two or three-page concept. Once I am comfortable with the concept, I then start to write. While I use the original concept as a guide, the story will evolve as it is written. Once a first draft is complete, it is time to go back and see if the plot works. Both The Imposter’s Trail (Book 3) and The Cold Trail required major surgery after the first drafts were finished. Book 3 saw 30,000 words cut from an 85,000-word manuscript. Similarly, The Cold Trail needed numerous nips and tucks as the story evolved. In fact, the original ending was thrown out and completely rethought.
I really like how characters from past novels made a reappearance. Did you let the story dictate who came back, or did you pick certain characters to make a reappearance?
The characters I believe you are referring to are Roy Griffin, Ryan Clark, Jimmie Gibbs and Sandy Knoll. You are correct, I wanted all four in this installment. The reason is simple, they will play major roles in Book Five and Six. Additionally, I want to explore the Jimmie Gibbs character more in-depth. We discover more about him and some of his motivation in The Cold Trail, we learn even more in Book Five. First draft of Book Five is almost fifty-percent complete, so I have a good idea of what I want to do with these characters.
I believe the Jimmie Gibbs character is strong enough for a stand-alone novel. However, I have two stand-alone stories in the concept phase waiting for attention.
What was one challenging aspect of this novel, or at least something you thought long and hard about before committing to it?
The three missing college students from the first chapter was inspired by an incident in my hometown back in the early 1990’s. Three women, two who had just graduated from high school, disappeared from a home in the center of town. They have never been found, nor has anyone been charged with their disappearance. I was acquainted with the father of one of the women, he has since passed away. As a father myself, I cannot imagine the pain of not knowing where your child is, or if they are even alive. These thoughts still bring a chill to my heart.
The concept of this novel was developed several years ago. But I lacked a good avenue to pursue it. It was the perfect premise to bring Kruger out of retirement.
The final solution to the missing women, I use in the book, may or may not have a basis in reality. In most missing person cases, a body is usually found. Not in the case of the missing women I mentioned above. Something extraordinary occurred to these three souls.
It seems like Sean Kruger is finally back where he belongs with the FBI. Where will the next book find Sean and when will it be available?
A writer friend of mine told me Kruger retiring is getting old. So, keeping this critique in mind, I decided not to retire him again, at least until the series is complete. The Cold Trail leaves the reader with several questions left unanswered. This was done on purpose as Book 5 is based on answering these questions. There will be two incidents in Book Five which will be used to set up the sixth Kruger installment.
My plans are to release Book 5, the current working title is The Predator’s Trail, in late December of 2018 or early January 2019. My goal is to have Book 6 out eight to nine months later. After that, as I mentioned, I have several stand-alone stories I want to tackle. But, I can assure everyone, there will be more than six Sean Kruger novels as long as I can keep the stories fresh and exciting.
With the help of his friend, JR Diminski, retired FBI profiler Sean Kruger rescues a female graduate student after she is kidnapped from the university campus where he teaches. He finds the abduction too familiar. From 1999 through 2002 six female college students vanished, without a trace, from four different college campuses across the country. As the lead FBI investigator on those now cold cases, his failure to find the women and the person responsible still haunts him.
When JR discovers a clue to the identity of the kidnapper, Kruger comes out of retirement to re-examine the abductions. His ensuing investigation will lead him down a dark trail: one of dark money and even darker passions.
Will Sean succeed or will the past repeat itself?
Tightly plotted with the trademark twists and turns of a J.C. Fields’ novel, The Cold Trail will keep you turning pages late into the night.
Posted in Interviews
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Posted by Literary Titan
J.C. Fields has brought back our favorite FBI special agent Sean Kruger in The Cold Trail. Without missing a beat, we pick up where we left off: Kruger is retired, teaching at a university and things are moving along for him. However, when an incident that reminds him of an unsolved set of cases from his past pops up, Kruger goes back to where he’s most comfortable: to the FBI. Kruger is truly in his prime as he works to apprehend a malicious murderer who has haunted him all these years. It’s an emotional roller coaster that involves international intrigue and understanding of the human soul. Fields does not disappoint in this installment in the saga that is Sean Kruger’s life.
There’s no denying that Kruger’s retirement from the FBI in the last installment of the series may have left fans wanting more. Whether it was planned or not, Fields has given us more time with Kruger. The chilling case that Kruger couldn’t solve in the nineties has come back in full force as he attempts to settle in at the university. We know Kruger isn’t made for this and he soon returns to the FBI, hot on the trail of the elusive perpetrator of heinous acts. The emotion is raw as Fields uses his skill to describe a very disturbing chain of events that left several college athletes missing. The best part about a book by Fields is that while it is not lacking in action and intrigue, there is also compassion and an excellent unveiling of the human heart and mind.
There are moments when the reader will hold their breath, waiting in anticipation of what will happen next. Fields keeps all of us guessing who the true criminal is while pulling out all the stops along the way. Characters we know and love from earlier installments in the series make their appearance and Fields has clearly crafted a spectacular world. Characters don’t suddenly act contrary to how they were portrayed in earlier books which can be hard to do when you’ve been spanning four full length novels. While it might seem unrealistic to develop four full novels in less than five years, Fields does it and he does it well.
The best part about reading a Fields book, aside from wonderfully crafted characters, is the fact that he makes his genres easy to read for those who may not be familiar with them. Mysteries and thrillers set in a law enforcement atmosphere run the risk of inundating readers with terminology and actions that will be alien to them unless they have worked in that field or have been aggressively reading books in that setting for a long time. Fields knows this and uses just enough vernacular to make it believable while also catering to all types of readers.
Anyone who is looking for an excellent read about the human condition and what we are all capable of needs to pick up a copy of J.C. Fields’ The Cold Trail as soon as possible. Readers will no doubt come to love Sean Kruger and his band of merry agents as they traverse the country in their quest to quell the darkness of the human soul.
Pages: 357 | ASIN: B07DTJN5X2
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