Sept. 10, 2003
Mystery writer J.C. Simmons returns with a gripping novel, "The Electra File."
Set along the Mississippi Gulf Coast and its barrier islands, the reader experiences unforgettable landscapes and oceans worthy of a Czanne painting.
Simmons' main character, Jay Leicester, is a celebrated aviation consultant/private investigator. In this new book, Leicester is hired by his friend, Guy Robbins, an attorney on the Coast, to help find his missing sailboat.
The boat is found scuttled offshore with two bodies aboard. A lengthy identification process determines they are associated with the new gaming industry that has reshaped the Coast and boosted the economy but not without consequences.
The backdrop to this is a mayoral election in Biloxi and the murder of a candidate who openly opposed the gambling industry and promised to eliminate it if elected.
While the crime points to the people running the casinos, it's not gambling that killed the politician. This angered those involved with the new casinos because of the negative publicity and the millions in revenue it could cost them.
They help Leicester solve who stole Robbins' sailboat and killed the two people found aboard in return for a pipeline to the chief of police in Biloxi, who is a close personal friend. One of the victims on the sailboat was a high-ranking casino manager visiting from New Jersey.
A powerful story of determined men and women, this is a strong novel from a rising and prolific writer.
A profoundly pessimistic meditation on the ubiquity of evil, the book is too grotesque to ignore, and too poignant to put down. It's an obsessive loop that tightens into a noose. Interesting characters who are plot-driven make this a "must read" for any mystery thriller aficionado.
Simmons was born, raised and educated in Mississippi. He is a retired airline/corporate pilot, and has published five mystery novels, a biography of Ernest Hemingway and several short stories. He is married and lives on the family farm in Union, where he is working on an aviation book about his flying experiences.
Book: "The Electra File"
Publisher: Writer's Club Press
How to order: In bookstore or online.
Cost: $13.95 paperback; $23.95, hardback.
If you're a Mississippi author and would like your book featured in this column, send book and background information to Penny Randall, The Meridian Star, P.O. Box 1591, Meridian, MS 39302; call (601) 693-1551; or e-mail email@example.com.