Why do I read and write so many mysteries?

All of life is a mystery. I don’t care what happened. I just want to know why it happened. 

I read mysteries. I have always been attracted to mysteries.

But why?

A tornado stormed through Kilgore when I was still a small boy growing up on a farm. We had known for a long time that bad winds were coming, and they struck with a sudden fury and vengeance. Hit and Run. Here and Gone. Oil derricks lay twisted in the streets, and we read that a fifteen-year-old boy had died. He wasn’t just any fifteen-year-old boy. He was the son of a friend. He was my friend. We went to the same church together. The tornado had left town, and Bruce walked out into the yard to inspect the damage. He stepped on a fallen electrical line, and the charge took his life.

It was a mystery to me.

I wanted to know why it happened.

I was led down the hallways of New London School to start the second grade only a decade or so after an explosion ripped through the classrooms, and a little oilfield town lost a generation. The death toll reached toward three hundred. The broken bodies of students and teachers alike lay beneath rubble and debris as a chilled March rain touched their lifeless faces. Families were in a panic. They dug in the mud with their hands. They raced from hospital to hospital. They walked silently through makeshift morgues in gymnasiums and warehouses. All were searching for a lost child. More than lives were lost that day. Some families, and I knew a few of them, would never be healed or made whole again.

It was a mystery to me.

I wanted to know why it happened.

I had just started to work as a police reporter on the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and the headlights from a car, in the dark of the night, fell on the corpse of Mildred May, lying on an embankment on the east side of town. It was not the good side of town. It was a place where a fine woman like Mildred May would have never gone, especially not after dark. She had driven to the movies that night. That’s what her family said. Many saw her walk out of the theater. No one ever saw her again, not alive anyway. The police retraced her steps. I retraced her steps. No one ever found the man, and surely it was a man, who had strangled Mildred and left her torn and twisted on an earthen dam.

It was a mystery to me.

I wanted to know why.

And maybe that’s the reason I read so many mystery novels.

Maybe that’s the reason there’s always a mystery tucked away inside the thrillers I write.

Take my Night Side of Dark, for example.

American operative Ambrose Lincoln has no idea where he is or has been or where he’s going. He believes he has been to the night side of dark, a place of the first death, from which no one can return. So why does he find himself on the bomb-ruined landscape of Poland, or has he been exiled to the second death? 

Lincoln only realizes, if the man in the shadows has not lied to him, he must find an ancient religious painting that has been missing for centuries. The German Gestapo will pay a fortune to buy it, or take a man’s life to get it. The painting, if legend holds true, is the German hierarchy’s final and only chance to escape the onslaught of the war that is crumbling around their feet.

Is the painting a myth?

Was it painted by a blind artist who saw the crucifixion of Christ?

Does it really exist?

Can Ambrose find it before the Nazi Gestapo does?

It’s all a mystery to me.

But then all of life is a mystery.

And I want to know why.

I don’t care who did the crime.

I don’t care who solved the crime.

I don’t care how the crime was solved.

I simply want to know why it happened.

Please click HERE to find Night Side of Dark on Amazon.

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  • Kelly Marshall

    Caleb, you are an extraordinary writer. You have an unusual voice that hooks readers. More continued success to you and Linda

    • Caleb Pirtle

      Thanks, Kelly. How close are you to releasing your new book?

      • Kelly Marshall

        Sigh. Life encroaches. Most likely after the first of the year. Thanks for your continued interest. I have a couple of issues I’d like to discuss with you. I’ll email you privately.

        • Caleb Pirtle

          Please do, Kelly.

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