Tense suspense book series sees veterinarian become hero
Veterinarian Ron Erskine knows a good story when he hears it. His second book, “Prometheus Scorned,” which stars hero Malcolm Cromarty, weaves a complex tale involving greed, an arsonist, and the Amish community of Pennsylvania.
Erskine, who recently retired from Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine, said his fascinating mystery is an amalgamation of an 80s arsonist in Hubbardston, Mich., And an arsonist from Pennsylvania, where he worked. within the Amish community as a young veterinarian.
While writing the book, he consulted extensively with firefighters and an adjuster specializing in barn fires.
His research shows in his compelling descriptions of barn fires, which differ from other building fires in intensity due to the flammable contents and the animals that board them. The two dynamics create a dangerous and often uncontrollable situation.
In one example, he explains how often animals rescued from a barn fire rush into the conflagration.
It’s in Erskine’s vivid descriptions of the difficult day-to-day work with unpredictable farm animals – and their even more unpredictable Amish owners – that the book steadily soars.
Erskine said he learned a lot from writing his first Cromarty book, “Castings Demons Into Swine”.
“I hope I have learned to write fiction and lose some science journaling habits,” he said.
Erskine said many of the situations in the book are based on actual events he experienced as a vet.
“I tried to capture the chaos of a barn fire in a whole different world. It’s a reflection of what happens when unspeakable forces, this time an arsonist, and how a small community reacts, ”he said.
Erskine said the drama in the book is not about high tech. “There are no black helicopters circling above us,” he said.
However, it emphasizes the gap between people who live in rural communities and those who live in urban areas.
While doing his research, Erskine said he learned that most arsonists are not arsonists and that most fires are started for the sake of revenge, fraud and family disputes.
The strength of “Prometheus Rising” is that it leads the reader to discover the reason for the fires, which will lead to the identification of the arsonist. It is not an easy solution, and Erskine brings it to a dramatic and dangerous solution.
In her new book, Erskine introduces several new characters, including an insurance investigator who becomes her new lover and an enigmatic teenager who can talk to animals and could be the arsonist.
Once again, the book, set in the ’80s, offers tantalizing detail about the ways of Amish farmers, including their addiction to hexagons.
“My next book featuring the amateur vet sleuth will delve deeper into the stories of Amish witchcraft, which I observed as a young vet,” Erskine said. “There will be a little more magical reality in the next book.”
But Erskine said his next book would not become a “Harry Potter” and would primarily be rooted in the realm of science.
Erskine said he and his wife, Tina, enjoyed watching the new seven-part adaptation of “All Creatures Great and Small” by James Herriot, who follows a young vet in 1930s Yorkshire, England. The original series, which ran from the 1970s to the 1990s, showed the era’s deep political divide between urban and rural areas.
“I absolutely love them. Many vets and I have been influenced by Herriot’s fictionalized version of a vet’s life: walking through a farm, stopping at a pub and having a beer, ”he said.
The reality was more like a kick in the shin by a cow.
By spring, residents of Lansing might notice Erskine’s 1963 Chevy truck driving through Lansing. It’s painted like a cow so it’s pretty hard to miss.