Griffin pens another LBK must-read

Author Terry Griffin re-visits the scene where the action in “Found” begins on Longboat Pass Bridge during a high-speed chase by Longboat Key Police.


By Karen O’Dowd

Looking for a good book? You don’t have to look far or wait very long because Longboat Key author, Terry Griffin (aka. H. Terrell Griffin) has a new one coming out this fall. “Found” is the 8th book in the Matt Royal series, set primarily on or around Longboat Key. Since he retired from the business of being a trial lawyer, Griffin has been writing a mystery series taking place on the barrier islands off the southwest coast of Florida between Tampa and Naples.  He says he chose these coastal islands because of their “laid back” lifestyles, and many of the characters are based on real Longboat residents or longtime friends.

We recently met for a chat at Mar Vista, and talked about some of the people and places mentioned in his books. You just never know when you (or a very good description of you) or one of your neighbors, will turn up on one of the pages, and this new book contains familiar meeting and eating places from Old Salty Dog to the Seafood Shack, and several other in-between favorites.

The official description of “Found” is: “When the serenity of beautiful Longboat Key, Florida, is shattered by a murder, and an elderly resident goes missing, Detective Jennifer Diane (J.D.) Duncan leaps into action. Her investigation is temporarily interrupted when she receives a text message with a current photo of a college friend she thought was dead. Matt Royal—J.D.’s friend and more—jumps in to help her. Further assistance comes when Matt’s friend, Jock Algren, visits. Jock is a shadowy operative of the U.S. government’s most secretive intelligence agency and has ties all the way to the president.

As the mystery deepens, a group of devious and dangerous characters intrudes on the lives of the islanders, creating havoc unusual for a sun-splashed island full of retirees and beach bums.  Matt, J.D., and Jock rush to find the answer to why one old man was killed and another disappeared, the meaning of the photo sent to J.D. of her almost surely dead college friend, and why somebody is trying to kill them.”

Chapter one opens with J.D. patiently waiting for the Cortez Bridge to go up to let a boat go through, (been there, done that) but in Chapter four, the pace accelerates when the Longboat Pass Bridge goes up as a speeder approaches from the south with the police in hot pursuit, and……well suffice it to say that J.D. and Matt Royal have their quiet picnic lunch on Coquina rudely interrupted!

World War II history buffs will appreciate one of the “step-back-in-time” segments featuring a German U-Boat that was sunk in the Gulf of Mexico. U-166 has been something of a mystery in itself and Griffin skillfully segues the past into the present with historical accuracy. History was his undergraduate major in college.

Working on a computer, Griffin tries to write at least 1,500 words a day. His books are 100-110,000 words, so do the math for how long it takes to complete a book. His advice to wannabe writers is simple. “Put your butt in a chair and start writing,” he says.  He suggests you write the whole book, then play with it and fine-tune it later. “Sometimes you get stuck, so sometimes I write all day, and sometimes not at all.”

Recently, Griffin completed another thriller, “Assassin’s Game,” the first in a new series, with a new protagonist. Only available as an e-book, he offered it for free on Nook or Kindle for three days in July, and now it can be downloaded for $3.95. All Matt Royal books are available on Amazon’s Audible.com, and one in the series, “Fatal Decree,” is available in CD format.

Terry Griffin’s Matt Royal novels have been compared to John D. MacDonald’s works. Matt Royal is an amiable, witty and laid-back retired lawyer, J.D. is a tough female cop, and “Found” is fast-paced and intriguing.  Griffin’s research on any subject that appears in his books is extensive, so you can count on learning a few things as you are entertained in this action-charged suspense. You never know who the bad guys are, or just how bad they might be.  And, just when you think you’ve got it figured out—BAM—another murder, and the person you really thought was the killer is dead— thanks to Griffin’s deft hand in scrambling and unscrambling the tangled web of crime.

“Writing these books has been the icing on the cake for me,” Griffin says. “I had a fine legal career, but it was time to retire. I never expected I’d have a second career as a writer.”

You can expect the unexpected in this thriller spiced with light romance and humor, and packed with Longboat Key sites and sights. “Found” is published by Longboat Key-based Oceanview Publishing, and the thriller will be available November 17, 2013, in hardcover, @$26.95 and all eBook formats, as well as audiobook.  For more information on book signings or opportunities to meet the author: www.hterrellgriffin.com.

Karen O’Dowd is a former magazine editor whose writing adventures have taken her to just about every state in the US and across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans “just looking” for interesting people, places and things to share with her readers. You can share your personal stories, ideas or comments with her at features@lbknews.com.



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