Bright future for Apple Valley author’s dark fiction
Buzz surrounds release of crime thriller ‘The Chessman’
Jeffrey Burton’s journey into darkness is starting to pay dividends.
The Apple Valley author’s new novel, “The Chessman,” is a crime thriller about a serial killer who’s hunting his own copycat.
Upon completing the manuscript Burton received an advance from his publisher, San Francisco-based MacAdam/Cage, which released a hardcover edition of “The Chessman” last week.
One has to ask: What does someone who writes about murder, secret government plots and gory crime scene investigations do with an advance?
Purchase a collection of human skulls, perhaps? Maybe pay for a trip to visit the grave site of Edgar Allan Poe?
“I bought Twins season tickets,” Burton said with a laugh.
“The Chessman” is a dark novel whose publication has been filled with bright omens. It’s already received reviews in the New York Journal of Books, Midwest Book Review and Suspense Magazine.
Publishers Weekly gave the novel a “starred” review, listing it among the best new books for the week of May 21.
While his writing often delves into the grim and horror-filled elements of human nature, Burton relies on meticulous research, and a lifelong love of detective novels, to inform the more macabre aspects of his fiction. His real-world experience with blood-spattered crime scenes, he admits, is somewhat limited.
“I’ve been a bookworm my entire life,” he said, “and in the last decade I’ve sort of focused in on mystery novels.”
Burton’s writing draws inspiration from his favorite mystery authors, such as Michael Connelly and Harlan Coben.
And he logged long hours at his computer doing research for “The Chessman,” digging though websites on the FBI, criminal investigations, and the various geographical locations featured in the book to give his novel a true-to-life tone.
“My hat is off to authors pre-Internet – they had to live in the library,” said Burton, who does his writing at night and on weekends as he’s employed at Health Partners as a designer of computer-based training courses.
“The Chessman” is Burton’s third book of fiction. In 2005 he published the short story collection “Shadow Play,” and his debut novel, “Sleuth Slayer” – a crime thriller co-written with his father, Bruce Burton – came out in 2008.
“The Chessman” is available through online booksellers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
More about the author is at www.JeffreyBBurton.com.