A rural town with tons of suspects.
From debut author Cam Torrens comes a gut-wrenching suspense novel based on an actual missing person case.
A 911 call sends Search & Rescue on a search for a missing girl in the Collegiate Peaks. They find a child…but not the one they seek.
Air Force pilot Tyler Zahn’s life disintegrated when he lost his son. He discarded his family, his career, and his dignity, finding solace in apathy and beer. Eight years later, armed with new confidence, he invites his estranged daughter, Daria, to visit his Rocky Mountain home. Zahn tries too hard to mend their relationship, and as the tension between father and daughter increases, forgiveness seems out of reach. Especially when his Search & Rescue work pulls him away from Daria and she finds romance at the church camp next door.
But Zahn can’t get the missing girl he found—and the one he can’t find—out of his mind. Someone in this mountain valley is collecting children, and Zahn is gradually drawn into the case while still trying to break through to his daughter.
Then she disappears too.
Cam Torrens sat down with The Big Thrill to discuss his debut thriller:
Can you pinpoint a moment or incident that sparked the idea for this book?
I am an active member of our county’s search & rescue team. We received a call for a missing child near Mt Columbia, one of Colorado’s 14k’ peaks. We pulled in every resource we had and eventually found the girl unharmed. But I came home from that mission with the idea for my book—what if the girl we found wasn’t the one we were looking for?
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?
I joke that Tyler Zahn is me—ten years younger, with a thicker head of hair and all the admirable character traits I lack.
In all seriousness, Zahn lacks the strength of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher and doesn’t suffer from significant PTSD like Nick Petrie’s Peter Ash. He’s a smart guy, struggling with many of the same issues your average veteran deals with: family, love, and how to do your duty when you’re no longer in uniform. Many of my readers will see themselves in Zahn.
In addition to a great read, what do you hope readers will take away from this story?
The power of forgiveness. Sometimes it’s more important to forgive yourself than it is to seek forgiveness from others.
Were there any particular books, movies, or songs that were knocking around in your head while you were writing this one?
I’m normally a “plotter” more than a “pantser” but as this book wrapped up, Otis Redding’s “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” popped into my head and found its way into the narrative.
What can you share about what you’re working on next?
I just finished the first draft of the third book in the Tyler Zahn series. While investigating an art heist, Zahn finds himself trapped by a forest fire in a mountain lodge. It’s up to him to lead the others to safety, but he’s not sure he can trust the people he needs to save.
Over a 30-year Air Force career, author Cam Torrens delivered combat supplies and personnel across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. He piloted the first mobility aircraft into Iraq during the Iraq War, served as the United States Air Attaché at the US Embassy in Beijing, China, and spent four years as the Professor of Aerospace Studies at Virginia
A father of six, Cam and his spouse live in Buena Vista, Colorado where he serves as the Vice President of Central Colorado Writers and volunteers with the Chaffee County Search & Rescue team.
STABLE is his debut novel. The next book in the Tyler Zahn series, False Summit, will be released in October, 2023.