Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Local author Dean Hovey to release book in new series


Dean L. Hovey had a very productive season in Arizona, where he and his wife, Julie, spend the winter.

"I wrote two and a half books," he said in a recent interview in Moose Lake. The couple also has a home on Island Lake where they live during the warmer months.

Hovey is well known for the Pine County Mysteries and humorous stories centered in a nursing home in Two Harbors, but he is now starting on a new series set in the southwest.

The first book, Stolen Past, will be officially released August 1.

"I was working on a rough draft of the book during the winter," he said. "I sent it to a friend in Brainerd to be proofed. She is also an archeologist. There is some archelogy in the book."

Hovey said that he was surprised by a comment she made after reading the book.

"'What's the next book?' she asked," he said. "I hadn't planned on a next book. She told me that I had my main character in the book, Doug Fletcher, in Arizona. I should keep him in Arizona."

Hovey has said in the past that he listens for tidbits that can be used in his books. But a big story broke that set his mind on a new track.

"The next day, there was a flash flood on North Padre," he said. "A group of campers and hikers got caught in it."

Hovey said that he pondered that event as he finished Stolen Past, and then he wrote the outline for another book about Doug Fletcher.

"I wrote Washed Away with the same character," he said. "He investigates a body washed up on shore."

Washed Away is also set in Arizona. The third book in the series will be set on North Padre Island.

Hovey finds that his books take on lives of their own.

"When my characters start talking to each other, they take me places that I never imagined," he said.

It was a visit to a park in Arizona that provided the perfect setting for the beginning of Stolen Past.

"We were walking on a path down below a cliff," he said. "The wind was howling and gravel was falling. I looked up and saw some high school kids leaning over the railing. I though that this would be a great place for a murder. That became the beginning of Stolen Past. A body falls from the cliff.

"I have friends that are health nuts. I threw them into the book. My main character is a former police officer who has had a problem with alcohol. He has had to break away from his life.

"He moves down south. There is a neighbor with two small boys that keeps inviting him over. That adds spice to the story. And he works with a law enforcement officer from the Navajo Nation.

"In the book, there is a theft of antiquities from the Navajo Nation. The FBI stays away."

Hovey is observant as he looks for settings for the story.

"We've driven around and seen a lot of the places in the story," he said. "I see a vision in my mind of a setting for a part of the story.'

And more resources come from people that Hovey knows.

"I have a friend in Arizona who is an archeologist," he said. "He digs up riverbeds, screens the dirt and finds arrowheads and carvings.

"That's part of the fun of it. I also did online research. It's very intriguing. I'm sure that I am on an FBI watch list. They are probably wondering, 'Why does he want to know what bugs are in bodies that are buried so long?'"

Stolen Past also gets into the migrant issue.

"Three thousand migrants have died crossing the border since 1999," he said. "I touched on that and drug smuggling in the book. I get into a lot more discussion about migrants in Washed Away."

Hovey said that he found a new publisher for these latest books, Books We Love in Canada and has enjoyed working with the editor and staff in the book publishing process.

"Usually I have a new book coming out every 15 months," he said. "This time, I have two books coming out just three months apart. Washed Away will be coming out November 1. It's exciting to see them moving it along so quickly. That's very exciting, very crazy."

Stolen Past is Hovey's tenth book. This book will be available in electronic format and on Amazon. Locally, advance copies of the book are available at Thrifty White in Moose Lake.

Hovey will be signing copies of Stolen Past at the Moose Lake Public Library on Monday, July 29, at 3:30 p.m.


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