Friday, 27 July 2018

The Clown Forest Murders: A #Mystery #Novel by R.R. Brooks

Bob Brooks (writing as R.R. Brooks) spent his career doing pharmaceutical research and development. Now living in western North Carolina with two oversized cats, a resistant beagle, and a supportive spouse, he’s published fiction and nonfiction, including science fiction and fantasy short stories exploring strange encounters and issues of doubt and belief. He also writes novels, including the epic fantasy novel Justi the Gifted, released in 2015 by Leo Publishing and a psychological mystery novel The Clown Forest Murders, co-written with A.C. Brooks, released in November 2017 by Black Opal Publishing. He is a member of the Blue Ridge Writers Group, the Appalachian Round Table, International Thriller Writers, Inc., and the N.C. Writers Network. He maintains author’s pages on Facebook, Amazon, Goodreads, All Author, and Hometown Reads. His website is

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About the Book

Did clown-colored mushrooms spark the gruesome murders? Will his memories of the murders save him or kill him?

At age eight, Dave Austin witnesses his brother’s savage murder in rural Norwich, New York, but amnesia suppresses the memory, and the killer escapes. Locals suspect an itinerant, a pedophile, or a disturbed friend maddened by psychedelic mushrooms. When Dave starts college, pressures at Princeton and alcohol elicit dreams, each one revealing a bit of memory. Then come visions as Dave senses the killer return. Images of teenagers killed where his brother died precipitate a crisis, and David returns to Norwich to find his dead brother’s friend, a disturbed witness who knows something. Dave’s appearance alarms his psychiatrist, the officers who hadn’t solved the case, and especially the killer, who knows he should not have let the young Dave escape. Now the killer must correct his mistake. When a crazy farmer invites Dave to learn the killer’s name in the Clown Forest at midnight, how can he resist? He may learn what he needs to identify the murderer—if he gets the truth, and survives.

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Keep reading for a guest post by the author:

The first draft of part of this book was written in the late 90s by Andrew Brooks. That part was the “nature attack” segment. The “mystery” segment came ten years later and was written by Robert Brooks.

The key writing impetus for Andrew was the suicide death of his brother in his junior year at Princeton. The central New York setting is where our kids grew up. It includes the Clown Forest, a mysterious, scary place for roaming youngsters, a place where mushrooms thrive. Psychedelic mushrooms that affect the brain and cause death underlie the variety of mental issues portrayed in many characters. This plot theme can be viewed as a rationalization of suicide. Thus environmental rather than the individual becomes responsible for behaviors ranging from odd to lethal. The individual is excused. Suicide may or may not be “painless” but it’s blameless.

I was actively pursuing fiction writing in retirement and had the chance to read Andrew’s completed draft, with a working title of “The Clown Forest,” around 2002. I loved the Stephen King elements and suggested revisions. But Andrew had to deal with life and shelved the manuscript. He naively allowed me to try revisions five years later. I made it into a mystery, adding a plot line and characters to support that expansion. The theme of nature causing mental aberration and evil behavior was kept intact. I added the challenge to the reader of figuring out which human was responsible for the ultimate evil of murder.

The result is a mystery in which the environmental factor and mental aberration play the crucial role of cause. These themes unfold in the life of one boy over a ten-year period, the time it takes for the mental state of amnesia to lift and reveal the truth.

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