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PDF The Last Death of Jack Harbin: A Samuel Craddock Mystery

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Remember Samuel Craddock - the ex-chief of police who is now retired in his ranch with his cows and the fine art he The shocking murder of a wounded veteran challenges the investigative skills of ex-chief Samuel Craddock. Just before the outbreak of the Gulf War, two eighteen-year-old Terry Shames. Small town mystery and veteran's issues collide as retired police chief Samuel Craddock investigates a murder.

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Right before the outbreak of the Gulf War, two eighteen-year-old football stars and best friends from Jarrett Creek signed up for the army. Woody Patterson was rejected and stayed home to marry the girl they both loved, while Jack Harbin came back from the war badly damaged.

I want the town to change, and Samuel to change with it. If Samuel is to continue to grow more confident in his role as an investigator, that means that I, as a writer, also have to grow—I have to learn more about what a small-town lawman is expected to do. Not that I have to include every detail in the books—but I have to know the reality of what would happen in tight situations. I also had to research the structure of Texas crime prevention forces. Who really investigates serious crime in small town Texas? And what about the Texas Rangers?

How did they fit into the mix? Having grown up in Texas, I knew something of their notorious reputation. How much of that was true? Had it changed? How were police chiefs selected in small towns? By ballot? Were they chosen by the county sheriff? And what did they really do?

Terry Shames - The Last Death of Jack Harbin

What I discovered is a hodge-podge of crime prevention and investigation. As for the question of how many crimes I can set in a small town, people are fond of pointing out that some of the best series happen in small towns. And what I discovered is that in reality there is more mayhem in small towns than you might imagine. The first book happened outside of my fictional town of Jarrett Creek.

The Last Death of Jack Harbin: A Samuel Craddock Mystery by Terry Shames (Paperback, 2014)

Books two and three happen in Jarrett Creek, each with a different focus. And because of the art theme that runs the book, I will be taking Samuel somewhere outside of Jarrett Creek to investigate a to-be-determined crime centering around art. And then there is the prequel.


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I think I can keep going for a nice, long series. As for whether the same characters will continue, the book has quite a few geezers in it and we all know what eventually happens to geezers. Somebody, in some book, has to go. Also, with a man who still has vitality and interest in the world, Samuel will eventually become interested in another woman.

And then the next question will be, how far do I follow him into the bedroom. More decisions. Terry was kind enough to talk about these elements of the novel witih us. It took me about eight months total to write both books from the beginning of the first to the polished draft of both. I wrote the first draft quickly, but was dissatisfied with it. Suppose this third book was a poor shadow of the first two? Suddenly, I have readers to satisfy.

To ditch a couple of characters? To jettison the first two scenes? But their advice only confirmed what I already knew. TS :Good question about vets.

Samuel Craddock Mysteries - Book Series In Order

What did you want to explore about it? They believe things could have been different if they had made better decision. People deal with the guilt in different ways, but everyone is changed by it. For some people it engenders a determination to do better or to make amends, like Woody and Walter.


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  4. And then there are those who have no capacity to feel guilt. A lack of remorse is at the core of sociopathic behavior. He feels a whole range of emotions, but guilt is not one of them. Guilt is a useless emotion unless action follows on its heels. I admire Woody for wanting to find a way to assuage his guilt through action- even if his plan is a sadly impractical…At its most basic use, punishment is a way of letting the guilty atone for their guilt.

    I wonder if the guilty party in The Last Death of Jack Harbin feels some relief, knowing that there is a way to pay for the crime? The simple answer is that Samuel feels a sense of responsibility to his community. I talked to one of my readers who adored Samuel. Both are observers and in a sense live apart.


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    And both can use their jobs as a way of bringing justice to a situation. MP : Which supporting character did you have the most fun writing? TS : It sounds sappy, but I love all my characters—even the killer.