Authors Showcase: A Common Evil by Billy Ray Chitwood
April 6, 2015
The Book: A Common Evil
The Author: Billy Ray Chitwood
The Story: Former sleuth Bailey Crane and lovely wife Wendy are enjoying their penthouse pleasures until a cartel sting operation at their Mexican resort brings chaos and emotional uncertainty into a blurry reality.
Wendy is kidnapped, and Bailey faces the demons running loose in his mind as he struggles with his choices. Also President of the resort’s HOA, Bailey has not only kidnapping and murders with which to contend, but other problems which add to this suspenseful chapter in his life.
The surprising end point brings back to Bailey and Wendy those memories better left in the memory vault.
An exciting, intense thriller in the sand and cacti of Mexico’s Sonoran desert by the beautiful Sea of Cortez.
This is the final Book 6 of ‘The Bailey Crane Mystery Series.’
About Billy Ray Chitwood:
Never knew what it was in life that I really wanted to do…guess that had something to do with my Appalachian roots in East Tennessee, a broken family, and so much mobility. Saw a lot of cowboy movies as a kid and thought about acting for awhile. Loved to sing and thought about being a singer.
Being an actor or a singer meant there would be audiences, and I was a bashful boy who wasn’t too comfortable in crowds. Wanted to be a fireman. Wanted to be a cop. A professional golfer. A tennis pro. The ‘want list’ just kept changing. You likely know where I’m going with this opening bio brevity.
My dreams were fleeting because I was a fickle fellow whose roots never got too deep anywhere, any time. So. when those Tennessee hills were behind me and that big adult world opened up to me, well, it kind of overwhelmed me. There were so many Appalachian and bible belt emotions conflicting inside my heart and mind that made me easy and ready to make a lot of mistakes. Make them, surely did, too many to enumerate, and my guess is I’ve been blaming old Appalachia, the hills of Tennessee, the broken family, the mobility, all the emotions laid upon me, for this rather wanderlust life that I’ve been living.
Guess I’ve always been chasing that something that was missing in those long ago days. Now, don’t get me wrong. With the mistakes, which you can read about later, there were successes and honorable service to my country in the US Navy. The successes, in my way of thinking, were: a college BA degree with a major in English; high school teaching; sales and marketing management positions with some of our top educational publishers; my own business; and, after several attempts, a wonderful wife and extended family.
The most exhilarating success has been my writing eleven books. The writing has allowed me to purposefully wander through some simple plot lines and characters’ lives to explore my own dimensions, to discover some things about myself I never really considered.
Up front, I’ll state too brashly for some, my books are good, well written, and easy to read. Sure, the critics, even I, will still find the occasional errata that most writers disdain. There is nothing, however, that has given me more pleasure than turning a phrase that says everything I want it to say, to re-read a passage that brings back some emotional echoes.
Review by Eden:
A Common Evil addresses something basic in all of us–the need to preserve the things we love, whether they are people, a place to live, or a certain way of life.
This is the sixth and final book in the Bailey Crane Mystery series, which started with An Arizona Tragedy – A Bailey Crane Mystery (Bailey Crane Mystery Series Book 1), and it more than stands on its own as an engaging story.
The setting is the Sea of Cortez, also known by other names–Gulf of California or Gulf of Mexico, a large inlet along the northwestern coast of Mexico. Already, the story attracted me due to its location – exotic, hot, sand, beach, and home to Corona beer.
Bailey Crane, a retired detective is minding his own business, living in a luxury beach resort with his wife, Wendy, when he is drawn into the shifty underworld. The start of the book pulls you in immediately with raucous gunfire. It offers a look of what it’s like to live among drug cartels that are at odds with one another. The paradox of paradise is that life is expendable when profit and greed motivate those in power.
Against the backdrop of the fascinating world of living in Mexico as an American, Mr. Chitwood treats us to moments of self-reflection with strong hints of his Southern upbringing. These moments were for me, some of the most satisfying passages in the book. They offered a deeper look into the inner workings of his protagonist.
Bailey Crane is not afraid to be brutish to protect what he wants. While he may wrestle with inner demons, he can steep himself firmly in the task at hand and reflect on his own morality later. In other words, he gets the job done.
Through his two main characters, the author offers us a glimpse of a couple who have been through a lot. Bailey Crane and Wendy have a very strong relationship, one with a love that runs deep and is deeply personal. Within that love, words are not always required to express how they feel for each other. At times, the book reads as an ode from Bailey to Wendy, and I found this particularly endearing.
As with all good mystery/thrillers, there are twists and turns and a surprise ending that made for a wonderful read. For lovers of the mystery genre, whether you slant toward action, cozy, or literary–A Common Evil will not disappoint.