In retirement after a fifty-year career as a radio, TV and print journalist, and petroleum industry lobbyist, I turn to my first love: fiction writing. The books in the Jerrod Series reflect my memories of small-town life, where--if you're lucky--everyone knows and cares about you. And of course, if you're unlucky, everyone knows and cares about you.
I created the Jerrod Citizen, the weekly newspaper, as a backstory exercise while
writing Kilborn. As I developed the
second and third books in the Jerrod
series, it became an important
counterpoint to the books, a way to
chronicle the day-to-day lives of
some people the reader will never
know. They're "published"
occasionally, an insight to Jerrod's
Click anywhere on the Citizen page
at the right to read the first five
issues. More on the way soon.
Kilborn is a story of small-town feuds and one man's slide
into insanity and how it flows into the lives of the small cotton-farming community of Jerrod, TX. The climax comes with a dramatic car wreck and the antagonist's fatal encounter with wild hogs.
There's a sample page from this book on
the Jerrod Series page.
Espinoza continues the story of the impact of Drake Kilborn's death on the people of Jerrod. It follows Texas Ranger Freddy Espinoza, who's looking into small-town fueds and the mysterious behavior of the Holden County Sheriff. And there's this poltergeist . . .
There's a sample
page from this book on the Jerrod Series page.
McTague, the third in the Jerrod Series, is the story of a family harvesting wheat for farmers in three states. Scotty McTague must decide what's right for the business and best for his family. A dramatic encounter with a snake tips the balance.
There's a sample page from this book on the Jerrod Series page.
"In Hughes’ quiet debut thriller, one of the townspeople in a small Texas community is becoming increasingly unhinged and, therefore, potentially dangerous. . . . An absorbing slow-burn approach and simpatico characters make this a standout novel."
Kirkus Reviews, 2019
"The author eschews the typical propulsive pace of a crime novel in favor of a more measured, almost literary speed. This works to the benefit of the characters, who emerge from the page fully formed and breathing."
Kirkus Reviews, 2019
"The plot unfolds naturally, with plausible yet unexpected complications. The novel uses dialogue well, relaying necessary information and keeping the suspense high. Readers looking for a well-told story with flawed, intriguing characters should enjoy McTague."
The fourth book in the Jerrod Series focuses on the impact of the Coronavirus on the small town, its schools, its churches, it's people. It's not just maskers v. anti-maskers, it's hide-bound traditions and their guardians v. the need to survive and keep families together.
Like any work of fiction, a lot of research has to be done to create believable settings and events. Unlike the first three books, the reasearch changes almost daily because of the changes in the political, social and medical climates.
The reader will recognize key characters from the first three books and be introduced to new ones. The central focus is on the impact of closing the community's schools and retooling the struggling education system to accommodate the needs of students and teachers who must adapt to 2020 learning styles.
The other focus is on the tiny ccommunity hospital and the challenges it will face in dealing with the twenty-first century version of the Great Plague. The book should be published in early spring. For a clip from this work in progress visit the journal page.
WORKING TITLE: Year Zero