A writer can never be so completely sure the end of a book is the actual end of the story.
When I finished KEEPER of an ORDINARY in the summer of 2015 I was fairly certain I had written all I could with the characters and the story. Or so I thought. Ideas kept popping into my consciousness, different slants extending the story.
KEEPER of an ORDINARY is a thriller about a Chicago journalist named Richard Rice. Rich gets the lead of his life and starts investigating and writing about the Russian Mafia’s human trafficking and prostitution rackets in Chicago. Goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, the Russians were bent on silencing Rich. They almost succeeded with an assassination attempt. On the advice of the cops, Rich goes on the lam. He leaves his wife with her mother in Glencoe, IL. And to survive he buys a small bar in South Omaha, naming it The Ordinary, and goes off-the-grid calling himself Keeper.
Not much of a thriller if I ended it there. Of course, through subterfuge the Russians find Rich; and there is a terrific shoot-out in The Ordinary.
I hope that scene is as much fun to read as it was to write.
Rich survives. Rich’s wife survives, for they went after her as well. The Russians don’t survive. (And Rich’s lil dog Roommate doesn’t survive—which made a lot of people mad at me.) I said the Russians don’t survive, well, one is wounded, but gets away.
I finished the novel, leaned back in my chair and sighed. But within weeks I started to have these long drawn out thoughts about how come heroes of thrillers never had to face the same stuff normal people do. How come? And what about the surviving members of the Russian Mafia—are they just going to throw up their hands and say “oh well”? And the head of the Russians in Chicago was connected to an ex-KGB general.
It all spun out in my head, and then on paper until it finally came out in paperback—KEEPER: Trial & Vengeance was published July 2017.
Never give up on good characters, they will nag you and bug you because there is more to their stories than just the one tale.