Clark Thomas has a lot on his plate. A new book, a beautiful woman far from home, a missing fiancé, and a mysterious dead body plunges him headfirst into his latest real-world Myrtle Beach investigation.
As he unravels the case involving renowned food bloggers, restaurant reviews, and The Grand Strand, Clark learns that there is more to the story than meets the eye–and more to his wife’s death.
And the one dead body may not be the last.
With his world turned upside down after uncovering new information about Autumn’s death, Clark must get to the bottom of this mystery while he still can… before it’s all too late.
Caleb Wygal recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing his latest thriller, DEATH ON THE CAUSEWAY.
Can you pinpoint a moment or incident that sparked the idea for this book?
Two things from opposite ends of the spectrum came together at the same time, giving me the idea for Death on the Causeway.
We were in the process of planning a 20th wedding anniversary trip to Orlando, FL and watching countless YouTube videos of restaurant reviews, trying to determine where we would celebrate the big day. My wife found a young couple who traveled around Orlando doing reviews and we watched several of their videos. They were cute together.
At the same time, I was re-reading John Grisham’s THE PARTNER for the umpteenth time in my life. It is a book about an attorney who stole millions of dollars from his law firm that it landed from a huge settlement. He faked his death and disappeared in the the rain forests of South America only to be found a few years later, with the question asked through the entire book: how did he do it?
Towards the end of the book, he tells what happened the night he faked his own death.
A lightbulb lit when I read that chapter in the midst of planning for Orlando and the inspiration for DEATH ON THE CAUSEWAY came to light.
Were there any particular books, movies, or songs that were knocking around in your head while you were writing this one?
As mentioned before, John Grisham’s THE PARTNER served as a big inspiration for this book. DEATH ON THE CAUSEWAY is the fourth entry into the series. The three preceding books were told as whodunits with big reveals on how the murder, or murders, were committed in a mix of Agatha Christie and James Patterson’s styles. This new book moves and unfolds more like a Grisham novel.
When you first created your protagonist for this book, did you see an empty space in crime lit that you wanted to fill? What can you share about the inspiration for that character?
My inspiration for this character and series came about while driving my infant son up and down Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach so he would take afternoon naps. I realized that there weren’t many books set in this area, despite it being one of the biggest tourist destinations on the East Coast, and that if I wrote great books that the interest would be built in.
I wanted the main character to be a bookstore owner stuck in a rut and have a larger issue lurking in his background that he doesn’t know about until literally the last line of the first book. He then has to figure out what happened to his wife while going about his life. People at his bookstore depend on him and he can’t just drop everything.
In addition to a great read, what do you hope readers will take away from this story?
That if you think the grass is greener on the other side, crossing the fence to get there has its own set of dangers.
What can you share about what you’re working on next?
I’m working on the fifth book in the Myrtle Beach Mystery Series and planning a standalone thriller set in the same universe.
Caleb is the author of the award-winning and critically acclaimed Death on the Boardwalk: Book 1 of the Myrtle Beach Mystery Series. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers and Southeastern Writers Association, the author of six novels, including the breakout hit, Death on the Boardwalk: Book 1 of the Myrtle Beach Mysteries. He is also social media marketer, woodworker, occasional golfer, reacher of things on tall shelves, beach walker, shark tooth finder, and munchkin wrangler.
His two Lucas Caine Adventure novels, Blackbeard’s Lost Treasure and The Search for the Fountain of Youth, were both Semi-Finalists for the Clive Cussler Adventure Awards Competition.
He is currently at work on the next book in the Myrtle Beach Mystery Series.
He lives in Myrtle Beach with his wife and son (the munchkin).
To learn more about the author and his work, please visit his website.