Archive for February 9th, 2009

My latest novel, The Dead Guy, is a murder mystery set in Detroit. Why Detroit? Two reasons. I was born and raised in a Detroit suburb, so I knew the area well and could write about it convincingly. The second reason was that I couldn’t think of a better place for a main character who investigates car insurance scams for a living. After all, Detroit is known as the Motor City.

Of course, my main character, Jack Thigpen, gets pulled into a murder investigation when his best friend gets shot and killed. And actually, Jack was the target. Not only did I want to add a lot of irony to The Dead Guy, I wanted to add a lot of twists and turns to the plot.

For someone who starts out writing novels in the mystery genre, the murder mystery will follow certain conventions. The writer learns these conventions and writes the storyline accordingly. But what if the mystery genre hasn’t been the main focus of your writing? That’s what I faced when I started writing The Dead Guy.

I’ve written mostly in the horror and suspense genres. And as I point out sometimes, when a black cat appears in a horror novel, the implications are totally different than when one shows up in a mystery. But I was determined to write a straight-up mystery with no supernatural elements. But then, how do I create tension? It’s easy when there’s a monster lumbering toward town. Everyone fears monsters. But what do people fear in a mystery novel?

The answer I came up with was death. Everyone fears death, which is why I gave my main character a fatal disease in the first chapter. It’s a fast-acting disease, too, which adds to the tension. In a way, it’s a ticking bomb, and the mystery has to be solved before the disease renders my main character dead.
The first reviews are in, and they’ve all been good so far. The common thread is that The Dead Guy is a fast-paced mystery. I think that stems from my history as a horror writer. I want readers to want to turn the page to find out what happens.

With The Dead Guy, I think I’ve succeeded.

The Book:

Jack Thigpen works in Detroit, nicknamed The Motor City, the perfect place for a fraud investigator who specializes in car insurance scams. He is on a case he believes is a typical, low-level crime, but it quickly turns into a situation with ominous international consequences. Ironically, as he is targeted for death frontcoveronlywithbylinejpeg-185x255because of his investigation, Jack is diagnosed with a fatal disease that is untreatable, a disease that will end his life within months. And instead of killing Jack, the hit man shoots Jack’s best friend. Struggling to come to terms with his impending death, Jack vows to track down his friend’s killer.

Jack plunges into the world of corrupt car dealerships, chop shops, and fraudulent auto repair shops. He is soon swept into the darkness of Detroit’s criminal underbelly to uncover the truth about power struggles within organized crime rings. Death is staring him in the face, but Jack doesn’t back down. He pushes ahead, plowing through perilous roadblocks planted by his enemies, propelling himself toward the finish line and a teeth-gritting, heart-pounding conclusion.


Doug Hewitt was born and raised near Detroit, Michigan and now lives in North Carolina. Along the way, he did a four-year stint in the Marine Corps and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics. He has been writing short stories for over 20 years and has been getting them published for most of that time, with over 80 stories in print. His stories have appeared in anthologies such as The Dead Inn and 100 Wicked Little Witch Stories. He has appeared in the premier issue of Apex Digest and has seen his chapbook, Slipstream, published by Scrybe Press.

He turned his attention to longer works and had his first novel SPEAR published in 2002. The Midwest Book Review calls SPEAR “a thrilling and deftly crafted novel.” After being remarried in 2004, he and his wife, Robin, founded HewittsBooks.com. In addition to authoring a non-fiction parenting book, The Practical Guide To Weekend Parenting, Doug and Robin teamed up to write The Joyous Gift of Grandparenting.

Doug returned to his original passion, writing fiction, and wrote The Dead Guy, which St. Martins author Lynn Chandler-Willis calls a “high-octane, pedal-to-the-metal ride through the criminal underbelly of the automotive world.” You can visit Doug Hewitt and read a free PDF chapter of The Dead Guy at www.HewittsBooks.com.

www.HewittsBooks.com (download the first chapter free here!)
www.TwoHewitts.blogspot.com (where I blog about book promotion)
www.ParentsWrite.com (where I blog about parenting)

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