This article appeared in last week’s issue of the I-24 Examiner, a weekly tabloid newspaper in Cheatham County, Tennessee (the county seat is Ashland City):
Public Library Hosts
Years after a dangerous chemical is dumped behind a small plant outside Ashland City, its toxic effects ravage the small community below the hillside location. Placing the blame for what happens is the plot of The Surest Poison, a new mystery novel by Nashville author Chester Campbell.
The Cheatham County Public Library will host Campbell for a book signing on Saturday, September 5, from noon to 3 p.m.
The Surest Poison is the first book in the Sid Chance Mystery Series. Chance is a Nashville private investigator, formerly a Green Beret in Vietnam, a National Park ranger and a small town police chief. It was just voted best book and received the Falchion Award at the 2009 Killer Nashville Mystery Conference.
The state comes after the plant owner to pay the enormous cleanup cost, but the pollution occurred before he bought the property. Chance is hired to find who was responsible since the original company disappeared a dozen years ago. The guilty party doesn’t want to be found, however, and three murders occur, one of them an Ashland City man, as Chance pursues the investigation.
The book features many Ashland City locations. The main characters visit the newspaper office, and a news story leads to one of the main clues in solving the mystery.
The Surest Poison was published in April 2009 by Night Shadows Press. Campbell has also written four books in the Greg McKenzie Mystery Series, set mostly around Nashville. The books include The Marathon Murders, Deadly Illusions, Designed to Kill and Secret of the Scroll. They will also be available for purchase at the library signing.
Campbell is a former Nashville newspaper reporter, magazine editor, advertising and public relations writer. He retired as executive vice president of the Tennessee Association of Life Underwriters.
A portion of the day’s sales will be donated to the Friends of the Library. For further information, contact Library Director Brooke Mulligan.
End of story
The signing event turned out quite well. The newspaper story brought in several people, including one woman who had the clipping stuck in her pocket. The interesting part is that the newspaper printed the story word-for-word as I submitted it, right down to the headline (and the misspelling of the library director's name, which should have been Mullican). You may have heard this before and wondered, but here's living proof--small newspapers love to get ready-to-print copy. If you can write a decent news story, send it in. Note I began with the chemical pollution angle, a familiar subject these days.
If you're doing a small town signing, take advantage of the opportunity for a news story. It can pay off.