Former Williams-Grand Canyon News Associate Editor Patrick Whitehurst has released his first fiction novella, "Monterey Noir: The Barker Mysteries."
In the book, Barker is a mysterious man with no memory of his past. Ferociously handsome and acutely observant, Barker makes his home under the soggy planks of Old Fisherman's Wharf along California's foggy Central Coast. His closest friends are an assortment of stray dogs, ranging from a large Rottweiler to a tiny Shih-Tzu, who live with him. Adventure and intrigue have an uncanny knack for crossing Barker's path.
In the first entry of the series, Nickel, Barker's sole human friend, bestows his makeshift home upon the man and his dogs just before dropping dead. It's up to Barker to honor Nickel's last wish, to atone for his sins, which doesn't prove an easy task. Meanwhile, forces are at work in other parts of the fog-swept city, which will lead the homeless detective and his dogs to a deadly confrontation in the heart of Monterey Bay itself.
"Monterey Noir: The Barker Mysteries," explores heroism in both human and canine incarnations. As a homeless man, Barker never seeks pity or handouts from those he helps.
"I didn't want to make Barker's homelessness into something depressing, but highlight it as a strength. Too many novels focus on telling a story from the rut of depression," Whitehurst said, adding that his book is an adventure story.
Barker's canine companions are also heroes throughout the novella. Whitehurst, who's been a dog owner most of his life, created Barker's furry companions as a way to honor his longtime pet, Kerouac, who passed away in January of 2012. He adopted his newest companion, Lucy, in September of 2012 from the Humane Society of Sedona.
"To me, the love of a pet is the most sincere form of affection there is," he said. "And dogs have always been heroes to me."
Whitehurst is also the author of "Williams," a photo history of the early days of Williams.
Whitehurst's second non-fiction book, "Grand Canyon's Tusayan Village," was released in 2010 and features the town of Tusayan, located at the edge of Grand Canyon National Park.
Whitehurst currently lives in Prescott. He grew up on the California coast before moving to northern Arizona, where he attended Northern Arizona University. He lived in Williams for 13 years.
"Monterey Noir: The Barker Mysteries" is now available on Amazon. More information is available at www.patrickwhitehurst.blogspot.com.