Monday, October 13, 2014

The Story Behind Pigeon River Blues by Wayne Zurl

Where did you get the inspiration for your book and/or how did you get it published.

All my books and stories are based on one or more actual police incidents that I investigated, supervised, or just knew a lot about. How I get the inspiration for any particular one is, like the stories, a mystery. I might remember something while driving at 70 on the Interstate, while sitting on my John Deere lawn tractor cutting the grass, or all too often, at 3:30 in the morning when my eyes pop open and some obscure case begins rolling through my mind.

PIGEON RIVER BLUES is a conglomeration of incidents and vignettes that I thought would meld together nicely and give me a vehicle to showcase a few quirky and memorable characters that required more story than reality could provide.

The prologue introduces a trio of rather ultra-conservative Tennessee realtors who start the sinister ball rolling by sending death threats to the famous country and western singer, C.J. Proffit. They take exception to her lifestyle and aren’t shy about telling her, “Get outta Dodge,” or in this case, Prospect. If you read the book, you may say, “Yeah, sure, Zurl is exaggerating. No one is that screwed up.” Ha! These are real people—well, they’re based on a motley crew that I met many years ago. And I liked them so much that I featured realtor Mack Collinson again in the novelette A FIRE AND OLD ICE which was published as part of the anthology REENACTING A MURDER and Other Smoky Mountain Mysteries.

In addition to Mack and Ma Collinson and their quasi-psychotic henchman, Jeremy Goins, I couldn’t let another book go by without introducing a new regular to the cast of characters at Prospect PD. Enter retired New York Detective John “Black Cloud” Gallagher, the outwardly goofy guy who Sam Jenkins calls the most unlucky man in the world and his wife, Kate, labeled the Master of Malapropisms. “John” is based on a real person with whom I worked for many years. And like the original, the fictional “John” can lose his class clown act at the drop of a hat and behave like a world-class investigator. But in between, he may tell you about the time he took his grandchildren to see the animals at a wild game preservatory or how he remembers an arsonist who threw mazel tov cocktails. “John” was unique, and now he’s taken a job as Sam’s police operations aide and the other cops at Prospect PD are learning to speak Gallaghese. John and Sam are prepared to ride again in the next full length novel, A TOUCH OF MORNING CALM.

After my book, HEROES & LOVERS was released in April 2013, I sent my publisher the summary and manuscript for PIGEON RIVER BLUES. I guess he fell in love with John Gallagher—or the morons from Ku Klux Klan Real Estate —because thirteen months later PIGEON RIVER BLUES reared its head with a beautiful singer on the cover.

About The Book:

Winter in the Smokies can be a tranquil time of year—unless Sam Jenkins sticks his thumb into the sweet potato pie.

The retired New York detective turned Tennessee police chief is minding his own business one quiet day in February when Mayor Ronnie Shields asks him to act as a bodyguard for a famous country and western star.

C.J. Profitt’s return to her hometown of Prospect receives lots of publicity . . . and threats from a rightwing group calling themselves The Coalition for American Family Values.

The beautiful, publicity seeking Ms. Proffit never fails to capitalize on her abrasive personality by flaunting her lifestyle—a way of living the Coalition hates.

Reluctantly, Jenkins accepts the assignment of keeping C.J. safe while she performs at a charity benefit. But Sam’s job becomes more difficult when the object of his protection refuses to cooperate.

During this misadventure, Sam hires a down-on-his-luck ex-New York detective and finds himself thrown back in time, meeting old Army acquaintances who factor into how he foils a complicated plot of attempted murder, the destruction of a Dollywood music hall, and other general insurrection on the “peaceful side of the Smokies.”

For More Information:

About The Author:

Wayne Zurl grew up on Long Island and retired after twenty years with the Suffolk County Police Department, one of the largest municipal law enforcement agencies in New York and the nation. For thirteen of those years he served as a section commander supervising investigators. He is a graduate of SUNY, Empire State College and served on active duty in the US Army during the Vietnam War and later in the reserves. Zurl left New York to live in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with his wife, Barbara.

Twenty (20) of his Sam Jenkins mysteries have been published as eBooks and many produced as audio books. Ten (10) of these novelettes are available in print under the titles: A Murder In Knoxville and Other Smoky Mountain Mountain Mysteries and Reenacting A Murder and Other Smoky Mountain Mysteries. Zurl has won Eric Hoffer and Indie Book Awards, and was named a finalist for a Montaigne Medal and First Horizon Book Award. His full length novels are available in print and as eBooks: A New Prospect, A Leprechaun's Lament, Heroes & Lovers, and Pigeon River Blues.

For more information on Wayne’s Sam Jenkins mystery series see You may read excerpts, reviews and endorsements, interviews, coming events, and see photos of the area where the stories take place.

Connect with Wayne Zurl:

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for inviting me to your blog to give your fans a little insite on the formation of PIGEON RIVER BLUES.
    All the best,