Finn Carroll is a failed artist living a marginal existence in his dead parents’ home. So why would a team of killers want to murder him and frame it as a suicide? Finn survives the encounter to discover the killers have left behind a “suicide note” detailing a dark incident from Finn’s past no one could possibly know about.
Finn escapes to Musqasset Island, his former home, to seek refuge with an old friend, but soon realizes he has trapped himself on the small island with the very people who want him dead—and with old debts that need to be paid. His only hope for survival, and redemption, is to figure out who’s trying to kill him and why they’ve waited eighteen years to act—no easy task in a raging nor’easter, where communications are shaky and relationships (and Finn’s mental state) are even shakier.
Andrew Wolfendon spent some time with The Big Thrill lending some insight into his debut novel, FISHERMAN’S COURT:
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
I hope readers will enjoy the fun ride the suspense structure provides, but also the character-driven story that lies beneath it—a story about friendship, trust, self-worth, and the corrosive power of secrecy. I hope the book is seen as more than just a plotted puzzle and that it touches readers in an emotional way that stays with them a while.
What attracts you to this book’s genre?
I’ve always been drawn to “ordinary person thrust into extraordinary circumstances” stories. For some reason, I don’t usually find myself reaching for books with fantasy or historical settings. I love the idea of a “normal,” contemporary life shattered by a seemingly impossible event or a hidden secret resurfacing from the past.
No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?
There’s a love story that’s central to the drama. I’ve had several readers tell me this was the most engaging aspect of the story. FISHERMEN’S COURT also tells the tale of a dispirited man who rediscovers his will to live via the experience of being almost murdered. The near-murder actually turns out to be a gift to him on several levels. To me, this is the most intriguing element in the book.
Which took shape first: plot, character, or setting?
Surprisingly (to me), setting came first. I decided to try to write a good beach thriller, the kind of book I’d want to take on vacation with me. The first thing I asked myself was, “As a reader, what’s a setting I would like to be transported to?” Immediately I thought of Monhegan Island, Maine, a place I love. I started to imagine a fictional island inspired by Monhegan, and literally within minutes a story began to form in my mind. Readers of FISHERMEN’S COURT describe it as character-driven, which pleases me, but setting was the first tent-peg I put in the ground.
How does this book make a contribution to the genre?
I’m a fan of the first-person, present-tense voice. I suspect that if novel-writing were invented today, this is the voice we would most naturally use. The simple-past-tense voice, the one that has become the storytelling standard, is a carryover from centuries of pre-cinema storytelling, it seems to me. It’s the voice used when sitting around a campfire, telling tales of a great hunt that took place in the past. Present-tense voice, to me, feels more cinematic, more immediate–but it’s still a bit on the fringe as a literary approach. I hope my book adds a tiny bit of credibility to present-tense storytelling. So that’s one thing.
Was there anything new you discovered, or that surprised you, as you wrote this book?
I was surprised to discover certain elements of my own past—things I thought I’d put to rest long ago—needling at me and demanding to be brought into the story. The protagonist is not me, but there are more resonances between him and me than I thought there would be. The story ended up being a bit more personal than I envisioned when I was doing the initial groundwork.
Andy Wolfendon is a ghostwriter of over sixty books for adults and children. His screenplays have been optioned numerous times in Hollywood. He has written/designed over twenty-five computer and video games, many of which have won major industry awards. His award-winning stage play Empties has had multiple productions. Andy has done scriptwriting work for Blizzard Entertainment, Disney, Titanium Comics, Viacom, and other entertainment companies. FISHERMEN’S COURT is his first novel.
To learn more about Andy, please visit his website.