Owen Wolfe is a thirty-five-year-old former Dallas police homicide detective. After a drug dealer kills his partner in Dallas, believing it was his fault, Wolfe is crushed by guilt. He resigns from the Dallas police in frustration when his supervisors forbid Wolfe’s involvement in the investigation of his partner’s murder. He moves back to Kimble, his quiet, sleepy little West Texas hometown, the county seat of the fictional Perdido County where he seeks solace from a bottle.
Emory “Bud” Frazer, a lifelong friend of Wolfe’s late father, is the Perdido County Sheriff. Frazer reveals to Wolfe he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and must take an extended leave of absence for medical treatment. He then tells Wolfe he wants to hire him as a deputy so that Wolfe can serve out the rest of Frazer’s term as acting sheriff of Perdido County. Wolfe refuses initially. Frazer perseveres telling Wolfe it will give him an opportunity to impress the voters in the county so Wolfe can successfully run for sheriff in the next election. Wolfe grudgingly accepts the offer and is sworn in as a deputy.
Carlos Sosa, Wolfe’s childhood friend provides insight into and sometimes aids Wolfe in dealing with the county’s Hispanic community. As the series progresses, the two friends deal with issues of drug trafficking and smuggling from across the border with Mexico, issues of competing for jurisdictional authority between the county and U.S. Customs and Border Protection for protecting the citizens of Perdido County and prosecuting crimes.
In the first episode, Wolfe runs into Melanie Roberts, his girlfriend back in high school. In subsequent episodes she grows concerned that Wolfe has been stuck since the death of his Dallas partner. She tries to rekindle a relationship with him and wants to help him get past it so he can focus on his law enforcement career.
While taking over as acting sheriff, Wolfe also prepares to run for election. While two of the other deputies, Barney Riggs and Olivia Alvarez accept Wolfe as acting sheriff, he experiences conflicts with the other deputy, Chase Carpenter. Carpenter, the son of a wealthy Perdido County oilman, believes he should have been named acting sheriff and also campaigns to replace Frazer as sheriff.
In random flashback scenes, Wolfe travels to back to Dallas where he attacks a drug dealer. Dallas Police Homicide Detective Rodney Dutton later comes to Kimble to talk to Wolfe. Dutton tells Wolfe they found the murder suspect who killed Wolfe’s partner in a shallow grave. Wolfe denies killing the man. However, Detective Dutton suspects Wolfe committed the murder.
Since the post, An Inside Look at Serialized Novels, I’ve done more research and given the idea more thought. This post is my concept update for a serialized crime novel I plan to write and publish over the summer.
BRAND NEW NOVEL
It seemed best to create a brand new novel for the series rather than using one of my existing series. This of course requires a completely new major character and host of supporting characters. The title of the novel is Perdido County. The title of Part One of the novel is “A Dark Road” which I have already started to write.
At left, you can read the working concept summary for the novel.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Perdido County will not be a traditional novel chopped into episodes or parts. It will written as a serialized novel from the ground up. That means readers can expect an overarching primary plot for the novel along with heaps of subplots (one per episode). In a sense, like a short story, each episode will be complete within itself with a beginning, a middle, and an end. But, each episode will move the overall plot forward as well as see the development of the main characters as well. Together the episodes will be woven together to form the larger narrative.
I’m aiming at 80,000 -100,000 total words, so I expect to publish the novel in about ten episodes or parts of between 8,000 to 10,000 words.
The timing of publication I envision is publishing the first two episodes a week apart and then publishing a new episode every two weeks until the novel has been completed. Of course, since this is my first attempt at publishing serialized crime fiction I may have to adjust the publishing schedule once I see how it all works. But, the aim is to publish the episodes rather quickly.
I haven’t yet decided on pricing for the episodes. In fairness, I’m aiming this project at Kindle Unlimited subscribers who will be able to read the episodes virtually for free. That means all the episodes must be available exclusively on Amazon to target Kindle Unlimited subscribers. Still, I want to establish a price fair to those who aren’t Kindle Unlimited subscribers who may be interested in reading the novel. So, I plan to set a purchase price roughly equal to what the episodes cost subscribers to read which actually isn’t really free since they pay an annual subscription to get access to the content.
Delving into serialized fiction for the first time is both exciting and frightening. There is no way to predict whether the outcome will be success or failure. But, I find some solace in the fact I can always re-edit and re-publish the episodes as a unified complete novel if the serial episodes don’t perform as expected. The thing I most hope to achieve with this experiment is achieving a more engaged readership through more frequent publishing. Hopefully, the first episodes will be available next month, May 2019.