I guess Mother Nature forgot to check the calendar when she kicked off hurricane season early this year with two tropical storms, Arthur and Bertha, that already dumped buckets of rain in Florida. Because many friends and relatives live in the Sunshine State, I keep an eye on the weather there. The official season runs from June 1 to November 30 but nature doesn’t pay attention to petty details.
In 2017, Hurricane Irma devastated the state, leaving 73% of residents without electricity. Power outages, flooding, gas and food shortages, and other hardships affected millions of people. My loved ones told harrowing stories that I wanted to share in a suspense thriller.
A plot was born that sent my main characters, Tawny Lindholm and Tillman Rosenbaum, to Florida on vacation to visit Smoky Lido, Tillman’s beloved baseball coach from high school. They arrive just in time for the hurricane. When Smoky disappears into the storm, he leaves behind unanswered questions about his gambling problems and the murderous thugs who are after him. The race is on. Can Tawny and Tillman find Smoky before his enemies do? Is he even alive?
This book entitled Dead Man’s Bluff was finished before COVID 19 turned the world upside down. Although the story is set in 2017, it draws eerie parallels to the shortages, fear, and uncertainty affecting millions of people today.
Florida and other areas devastated by Irma survived and rebuilt. Humans are resilient and adaptable. Pray that we rise to this challenge, too.
Irma is personally memorable to me for another reason. My first book, Instrument of the Devil, was published right before the hurricane hit. A Florida reader paid me a lovely compliment when she said my book had helped her pass the time during five difficult days without electricity.
I hope Dead Man’s Bluff can take readers away from their troubles for a little while. If the story provides a few hours of entertainment during the current ordeal, I will have done my job.