Today is launch day for The Hanging Murders by Rex Carothers so it’s fantastic to see Rex in the coffee shop. What can I get you Rex?
Hello Katy, I’ll have an espresso and biscotti please.
Certainly. Congratulations on the book. Can you tell us a bit about it?
Yes, it’s set in 1957 in and around the area of Lone Pine, Inyo County, California, which was the birthplace of filming westerns in 1920.
My protagonist, the flawed county sheriff of Inyo County, California, Jim Cobb, has been on a four-month drunken binge since the deaths of his wife and daughter while they were leaving Inyo County’s rural setting and the Sheriff for a History Professor at UCLA.
Jim has given up on his job, the people surrounding him, and all reason for living. In the depths of Jim’s despair, the Hanging Murderer returns, after a fifteen years hiatus. Between 1932 and 42, ten unknown men, all drifters, were murdered by hanging in the county. None of these cases were solved. All the previous murders occurred under the watch of Merrill Cobb, the Sheriff for thirty-six years, and Jim’s father.
Jim doesn’t think he could solve the crimes if his father couldn’t while he was Sheriff. A week after the discovery of the latest Hanging Murder, Jim’s best friend and retired sheriff’s deputy, Barton Haskel, is found dead in a car out in the Alabama Hills, a location area for movie westerns. Haskel’s death, at first, looked like a suicide, but Jim Cobb knows it was murder.
It sounds great. What gave you the idea to write it?
I wanted to write a damn good murder mystery and I’m a big fan of westerns.
Have you always enjoyed writing or is it something you’ve taken up recently?
I wanted to write since junior high, I loved inventing characters and stories, I even had an imaginary friend named George. My favorite stories were mysteries, thrillers, and suspense.
Who is your favourite writer?
My all time favorite writers are Elmore Leonard, Joseph Wambaugh, Michael Connelly, James Lee Burke, to name a few.
The Hanging Murders is the first in a series, isn’t it? Are you working on the next book?
Yes, I plan to write sequels to The Hanging Murders, the next in line is Blind Revenge dealing with Japanese internment at Manzanar in Inyo County.
Sounds fascinating – thank you for dropping in today, Rex and best of luck with the book.
The Hanging Murders us available to buy from Amazon