2012-06-07 / News

Islander releases crime-thriller sequel

‘Mystic Fear’ is second in Nikki O’Connor series
BY GEN THOMAS

Island author Jan Whitford recently released his newest book, “Mystic Fear.” It is the direct sequel to “Mystic Island,” a part of his Nikki O’Connor series, and a wicked crime thriller.

Whitford, a former Marine who graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mexico, moved to Jamestown in 1989 with his wife and five sons. His first book was released in 2005, and just like the sequel, it’s set in an eerie island town.

The story stars Nikki as she tries to escape the wrath of Marion Hess, a highschool classmate who has been stalking her for years to supposedly avenge the death of his psychotic mother. Marion has become an extremely dangerous and elusive serial killer. He hides out, taking on new identities as he tries to hurt Nikki and everyone she loves. Whitford’s other compelling characters include Tugboat, a huge, footballing ex-Marine; Adrienne LeDoux, the punk-goth college girl; Junior Ferguson, the impressionable dropout; and Petey Fottler, the administer of Fortunese (fortune cookie wisdom).

This is a book you will not want to put down. At times racy and disturbing, each chapter leaves you unsatisfied, needing to know what is going to happen next, as Whitford masterfully entices readers and then leaves them hanging at the end of each chapter. The tension builds as more and more of Nikki’s world is sucked into Marion’s vortex while she scrabbles along, trying to make everything right as the world as she knew it slips from her reach.

The ending of the novel is fairly satisfying while open-ended enough to allow for another sequel. Overall the quality of writing is excellent, and the story immersive. Rhode Island locales are a perfect finishing touch to make readers smile at the recognition of a familiar place.

Whitford splits his time between the Fort Getty gatehouse and guarding the bank’s parking lot. He enjoys working in either libraries or from his loft, and obtains many of his ideas from the campers at Fort Getty or from watching BBC crime shows. He is also inspired by reading novels and true stories.

Whitford has been writing for 15 years, and his favorite characters to write about are Junior and Adrienne. He especially enjoys writing the parts for the teens in his series as it allows a certain amount of personal commentary. He found it particularly torturous to write for Marion Hess, his serial killer, as characters tend to take on a mind of their own and the reaches of the man’s madness seemed endless.

The cover for “Mystic Fear” was painted by Barbara Whitford, Jan’s wife. It is of the Sockanosset “Bad Boys’ School,” and he said it inspired some of his writing for this story. Whitford is about a third of the way into his third book of the Nikki O’Connor series.

“Mystic Fear” is available at the Fort Getty gatehouse, Baker’s Pharmacy, Jamestown Designs and the CMS Ship’s Store & Chandlery. It is also available on paperback and online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

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