How do medical thrillers and mysteries fit into the Southern Gothic literary genre? That is the exact topic WordCrafts Press and IPPY Award-winning author Darden North explored when he addressed the 29th annual Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration which was held at the Natchez Mississippi Convention Center from February 22 through 24. Dr. North presented at the celebration on Saturday afternoon, February 24.
“Speaking at the Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration was both an honor and a challenge for me as a physician and mystery/thriller author to show how medical thrillers set in the South have their place in the Southern Gothic literary genre. My current novel, “The 5 Manners of Death,” is steeped in suspense, local Southern color, and conflicted characters struggling to make sense of a world that has moved on without them. Perhaps, the novel represents a new Southern archetype and stream of consciousness not so much grounded in dusty ignorance but in bright intelligence from all races and genders, ” North said.
North’s new novel, The 5 Manners of Death, which released June 15, 2017 from WordCrafts Press, has also been nominated for the 2018 Fiction Award by the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters. Winners will be announced by April 1, 2018.
“One of the best things about “The Five Manners of Death”—and there are many—is that none of the characters are who they appear to be. If you like plot twists and surprises, you’ll love North’s fifth novel, a fast-moving story of crime and deception in the modern South,” declares Edgar Award nominee and three-time Derringer Award winner, John M. Floyd.
The story revolves around Dr. Diana Bratton, a surgeon with a penchant for solving mysteries. After a construction worker unearths a human skull on the campus of the University of Mississippi dating to the 1960s, the body count mounts, and a 50-year old note suggests her Aunt Phoebe might be involved. As a surgeon, Diana is familiar with the coroner’s ‘five manners of death.’ Suicide, accident, natural cause, and one death classified undetermined are soon crossed off this list—leaving her to believe that only homicide remains. Diana is torn between pursuing her Aunt Phoebe’s innocence and accepting the police theory that her aunt is implicated in multiple murders.
Diana steals precious time from her young daughter, her surgical practice, and her hopes for renewed romance as she attempts to clear Phoebe’s name. But as Diana searches for evidence to trump the police and outrun the conspiracy between her ex-husband and Phoebe’s long-time lover—her quest to expose the truth may be overshadowed by Aunt Phoebe’s need to rebury the past.
The truth emerges and Diana discovers that, of the five ways to die, murder is a family secret.
North recently joined host Marshall Ramsey on Mississippi Public Broadcasting’s acclaimed radio show, Now You’re Talking with Marshall Ramsey, where he discussed the process of bringing his latest novel, The 5 Manners of Death, to life. Fans can access the interview online at MPB.org.
The 5 Manners of Death is available now in hardback for $32.99, in trade paperback for $17.99 and in all major eBook versions for $6.99.
Darden North’s mystery and thriller novels have been awarded nationally, most notably an Independent Publisher Book Award (IPPY Award) in Southern Fiction for his novel, Points of Origin. North’s other novels include Wiggle Room, Fresh Frozen, and House Call. North has served on author panels at writing conferences including Killer Nashville, Murder on the Menu, SIBA Thriller Author Panel, and Murder in the Magic City.