Craig MacIntosh’s new novel draws on his experiences with the MIA Hunters in Papua New Guinea
Not many novelists consider malaria to be an occupational hazard.
And probably not too many novelists had quite the adventure Craig MacIntosh had while doing research for a book.
The Rosemount author’s new novel, “The Last Lightning,” centers on a plane that went down in Papua New Guinea during World War II, carrying cargo worth millions.
MacIntosh gathered background material for the book on his May 2010 trip to the jungles of Papua New Guinea with the MIA Hunters, a nonprofit which seeks to locate crash sites of World War II airmen missing in action.
A total of about 90 crash sites were located on that MIA Hunters trip. Participants wrote down serial numbers on the planes they found, got the GPS coordinates of the crash sites and ultimately forwarded that information to the U.S. Department of Defense. The idea is to help bring closure to missing soldiers’ families.
It was no Sunday picnic. On his forays into the jungle MacIntosh dealt with torrential rains, snakes, scorpions and mosquitoes. He even got malaria in the process.
“Oh boy – dumb mistake on my part,” MacIntosh said of contracting the mosquito-borne disease. “I made the mistake of sharing my malaria medicine with some of the villagers – they’ve all got malaria. I never should have done that.”
Symptoms began surfacing a few months after he returned home – chills, fevers, the whole business – and he was hospitalized for four days.
“It kind of put a kibosh on my writing for a while because I was really sick,” he said. “I’m done with my regimen of pills now and I’m malaria-free. I’m feeling good. It’s not contagious.”
“The Last Lightning” is MacIntosh’s second novel. A cartoonist by profession whose day job has him illustrating the syndicated comic strip “Sally Forth,” he made his fiction debut in 2009 with “The Fortunate Orphans.” Both his novels use incidents from World War II as their starting points.
A launch party for “The Last Lightning” is scheduled for 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, at the Apple Valley American Legion. The event will include a reading from the book by World War II re-enactor Mike Vogt, along with MacIntosh giving a slideshow presentation of his Papua New Guinea adventures.
MacIntosh also will be speaking at the Rosemount American Legion on Nov. 11 as part of Veterans Day events there, and he’s the featured speaker in the ongoing “Meet the Author” series at Rosemount’s Robert Trail Library on Dec. 4.
More about MacIntosh and “The Last Lightning” is at TheLastLightning.com.