On the real Longboat Key, the last time a murder occurred was in June 2000.
On Matt Royal’s Longboat Key, there have been at least 15 murders or violent deaths on the Key since novelist H. Terrell “Terry” Griffin published his fist novel, “Longboat Blues,” in 2005.
Five of those deaths take place in his newest book, “Found,” released in October by Longboat Key-based Oceanview Publishing.
“I felt like Longboat was too quiet, so we had to jazz it up,” Griffin said. “I realize a lot of the murders are a bit outlandish. When you’re writing murder mysteries, you write murders that are in odd places.”
In “Found,” Longboat Key’s tranquility is shattered once again by a murder and the disappearance of an elderly resident. Royal’s love interest, Longboat Key Police Detective Jennifer Diane “J.D.” Duncan, springs into action. But a text message with a current photo of a college friend, who was presumed to be dead, interrupts the investigation.
You won’t find any spoilers here, but Griffin offers this hint: He’s never killed off one of the good guys.
“I have only killed people who needed killing,” he said.
Griffin never knows how his books will end when he begins writing.
“Characters take on a life of their own,” he said. “When I’m writing, I never really know how it’s going to end two or three chapters into the future.”
Often, he writes multiple endings to make sure the story wraps up thoroughly, without any holes — a habit he attributes to his career as a trial lawyer.
“You never tell a jury you’re going to prove something you can’t prove,” Griffin said. “I think I approach a novel in the same way, except I make up the facts. But you want to make sure the facts coalesce into a cohesive story that makes sense to people.”
After the holidays, Griffin plans to resume work on a sequel to his book “The Assassin’s Game,” which he released in July on Kindle and other electronic platforms. It was an espionage novel centered on Ethan Fitzgerald, who is the first person a NATO commanding general calls when his wife is kidnapped.
What does the future hold for Matt Royal?
Griffin isn’t sure.
“I don’t want Matt to get stale,” he said. “We’ve written eight books now. I don’t want it to fall into a formula where every book is the same.”
“Found” is available in bookstores nationwide and on Amazon and other e-book platforms and as an audio book at Audible.com.
The public is invited to a launch party for H. Terrell Griffin’s “Found.” For information, call 387-8500.
When: 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12
Where: Mediterranean Plaza, 595 Bay Isles Road
Contact Robin Hartill at firstname.lastname@example.org