You may think you need a break from politics after the election, but if you combine that subject with a story involving a serial killer, romance, intrigue and Texas culture, it can be irresistible.
That’s my description of Matt Minor’s new novel “The Singular Passion,” which is set in the fictional Fort Bryan and Wagoneer counties, which sound a lot like Fort Bend and Wharton.
The book was released Friday and is available on Amazon.com.
Minor, as you may recall, is chief of staff to state Rep. Phil Stephenson, R-Wharton, who won re-election Nov. 3 for a fifth term in the Texas Legislature.
Some people may like to hunt, fish or play golf in their spare time, but Minor likes to write novels and poetry.
Minor, who grew up in Missouri City and lives on a farm in Wharton County, reprises his recurring character John David Dothan in his fourth novel since 2014.
The book opens with Dothan, the Democratic state representative of House District 100, reeling after getting divorced from his pregnant wife Tryphena after their home burned down.
He moves into what may be a haunted apartment above the district office in what’s called the historical district of Fort Bryan City, which resembles a blend of downtown Rosenberg and Richmond.
In addition to his legislative duties, Dothan, a former musician, likes women, drinking beer and writing poetry. He hires an attractive new female district manager, who’s also the daughter of a city councilwoman.
Dothan can’t resist Kat Morgan, and ends up having what the book description calls “an unprofessional affair.” This occurs as Dothan becomes a new father and deals with unresolved feelings for Tryphena.
Yes, you could easily say Dothan is a personal train wreck.
Central to “The Singular Passion” is also a bizarre series of serial killings that has law enforcement baffled, but officials have too much pride to call in outside help from other agencies such as the FBI.
Further, police can’t decide if Dothan is a suspect or someone who can use his creative background to help them solve the murders. Naturally, this occurs during the middle of Dothan’s re-election campaign.
Minor brings the novel full circle in a way that’s tied to a story involving the six wives of King Henry VIII of England, who lived in the 1500s.
If you don’t know much about Henry VIII, don’t worry, I didn’t either. Minor weaves intriguing details and clues into a plot of present-day realities. It’ll keep readers turning the pages.
Minor describes his novels as having character-driven plots as opposed to plot-driven characters. When writing, he said his characters often take on a life of their own.
“I like the (English novelist) Graham Greene quote where he says you know you’ve got something as a novelist until your characters do something you don’t expect,” Minor said.
“I take what’s available to me and what I find interesting, and just try to blend it all together,” he added.
Minor calls Dothan a romantic and an anti-hero at conflict with his surroundings. “He’s an artist in a political environment, and that’s like a fish out of water.”
Minor already has the idea for his next political fiction novel, but with none of the characters from his previous books. However, Minor expects Dothan to return in a future novel.
Meanwhile, he’s gearing up for the 87th session of the Texas Legislature that starts in January.
– Reach Fred Hartman at email@example.com. Matt Minor’s previous novels are The District Manager, The Representative and The Water Lord.