Bad Moon Rising by Stephen Pickering

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I’ve always been impressed by folks who retired from careers that had nothing to do with writing, who then begin writing in their retirement years. It’s probably easier to write nonfiction, at least it is for me, but those who can write compelling novels are definitely few and far between.

I’ve been working on a novel for many years and have only gotten up to 8,000 words. Just 60,000 to go! I think it’s particularly challenging to write good dialogue, something that I value as a reader of novels.

Stephen Pickering has somehow mastered the craft of writing fiction, and he’s particularly good with dialogue. His novel, Bad Moon Rising, published by North Country Press in Unity, is, well, masterful. I raced through it in a single day while vacationing in Lubec. It’s that compelling.

Stephen retired in 2006 after a 28 year career in the Maine State Police, much of it in the Criminal Investigation Division. Perhaps that explains how he knows so much about violent crime.

Stephen’s first novel focuses on a gang of out-of-state criminals who bring a boatload of marijuana to Deer Isle, Maine. Two local brothers happened to be hanging out at the coastal mansion that the criminals had rented to offload their marijuana. And when they all met, inadvertently, at that mansion, well, let’s just say the carnage was very significant.

My only problem with Stephen’s novel is the very descriptive way he relates what happened to the more than a dozen people who got killed at the mansion. Too much information for me! But it’s easy to skip through those details and continue on toward a – well, I’m not going to give away the ending. But it’s exciting.

I’m hoping Stephen is very successful with this first novel, because I want another one!

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