Carl lived and traveled widely throughout Asia for seven years, including two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines and five years in Japan, where he taught English.
Carl has spent dozens of summers in Maine, on lakes and in the woods. He chose it as the setting for this novel because he loves its rugged natural beauty and the charming idiosyncrasies of Mainers. He has also written and recorded three musical albums. This, along with his formal education, proved invaluable when molding the persona and voice of Jesse Thorpe, the narrator of Dead Down East, and endowing him with both a creative eye for detail and a sense of humor.
Dead Down East is the first novel in the Jesse Thorpe Mystery Series, which includes A Priestly Affair and Redbone. In 2001, New Falcon Press published his non-fictional book, A Recipe for Bliss: Kriya Yoga for a New Millennium.
Currently, he is a freelance writer living in Sedona, Arizona with his lovely wife, Holly, and their faithful German shorthaired pointer, Alize.
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About the Book
Dead Down East, a fictional murder mystery, is both detective noir and smart screwball comedy rolled into one. Jesse Thorpe, a young private investigator operating out of Augusta, Maine, receives a mysterious phone call from a former client, Cynthia Dumais. She begs to be rescued from an island south of Brunswick, within a mile of where William Lavoilette, the governor or Maine, was assassinated the night before. She insists that her life is in danger, but is unwilling to provide any further information. Reluctantly, Jesse goes to fetch her.
Within a week, Jesse has three separate clients, each with his, or her, own desperate need to have the murder solved. He assembles a motley team of compadres, including rock band members, a tie-dye psychic and his rousing girlfriend, Angele Boucher, to help him with the case. While the FBI and the Maine State Police investigate political motives, Jesse looks for the woman—Cherchez la Femme—as the trail draws him through the lives, and DNA, of the governor’s former mistresses.
Fresh, witty and loaded with eccentric characters, this first novel in the Jesse Thorpe Mystery Series is both clever and stylish. It’s an old-school private eye tale with inventive twists and local charm. If you enjoy a well-crafted and zesty narrative, lively banter, or take pleasure in the company of Mainers, you’ll love Dead Down East.
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Keep reading for an excerpt:
I called information and got his phone number. It was still early, but I decided to call anyway.
“Hello, is this Frank Hayden?” I asked.
“Mr. Hayden, my name is Jesse Thorpe. I am sorry to call you this early in the morning, but I am investigating a minor automobile accident. A vehicle with the license plate, ‘GOFURS,’ was seen leaving the accident. That plate belongs to you. Is that plate on your 2008 Ford F-150?”
“Ah-yuh, that it tis, but there’s been no accident.”
“I see,” I said. “It’s possible someone misread the plate. Is your plate still on your truck?”
“Hahd tellin’, without lookin’.”
“Would you be kind enough to check?”
“Shuwah,” he said.
I heard his footsteps, so he must have carried his phone with him. About a half minute later he bemoaned, “By thundah, mah plate’s missin’. That’s damn wicked, it is. It didn’t fall off. Some pissant mustah stole it.”
“Can you possibly recall the last time you actually saw your license plate?” I asked.
“Ah-yuh. Washed mah truck Wednesday mawnin’ last, after haulin’ a load of chicken dressing to the gahden. I remembah washin’ off the plate. Coated with mud, it was. That’s the last I saw it.”
“We figured the plate had been stolen, because it was on a totally different vehicle. I’m sorry to disturb you about this. I guess you’ll have to contact the Maine DMV and report that your plate is missing.”
“I guess prob’ly.”
“Tell me something, Frank,” I said. “I was wondering what ‘GOFURS’ stands for?”
“Gotta nephew plays football up to the University of Minnesota.”
“Oh, yes. They are the Golden Gophers, aren’t they?” I said.
“I suppose the license plate ‘G-O-P-H-E-R-S’ was already taken at the DMV.”
“Don’t know. Didn’t check that one.” Frank paused a moment and then said, “Nevah been good at spellin’.”
That took me a little by surprise. I wondered how long Frank had been down on the farm. I hemmed and hawed long enough to create an uncomfortable pause in our conversation. Then Frank added, “Gotchah!”
“That you did, Frank. That you did.”
“Nice talkin’ to yah, Mistah Thawpe.”
“The pleasure was all mine, Frank.”
City slickers are fair game for Mainers like Frank Hayden.