DEADLY EYES is a haunting Caribbean mystery. James Cuffy, better known as Cuff, is living in paradise with his girlfriend, on the small Caribbean island of St. Croix, where the sky is as blue as Cuff's eyes, the ocean as pretty as Rosie's cheeks, where the gentle lapping of the waves is a lullaby, and the swaying of the palm trees is a dance. The sandy beaches are as white as sugar, and the horizon is a world away. St. Croix indeed is paradise, the perfect place for living, laughing, and loving.
But the sandy beaches and the turquoise sea can provide no cover from the deadly eyes of the unknown stalker pursuing Cuff. Murder leads to murder as he attempts to untangle the terrible web in which he has suddenly become entangled.
The twists and turns are relentless, the roads of the fast action leading in all directions, but time is running out, and Cuff, his faithful Rosie at his side, knows it.
2) What inspired this book?
I was a professor of writing for four years at the University of the Virgin Islands, St. Croix campus. I fell in love with the Caribbean. It truly is American paradise. I have always loved a good mystery, especially one with never-ending twists, turns, and surprises. Local color is important to me, so I saw that placing a mystery on the romantic island of St. Croix was a win-win situation for me, since I am like a reader when I write, never quite knowing what will happen next.
3) The grimy decay of the urban jungle is often intimately associated with thrillers. You've gone a different direction. Why did you choose to set your book in the Caribbean?
Reggae, calypso, swaying palms and sandy beaches provide such a terrifying contrast to the fact that a romantically linked couple is so brazenly stalked in such an idyllic setting, which sets the perfect tone for what I wanted to achieve in this mystery. Romance, beauty, and mystery are all intermingled in DEADLY EYES.
4) Ever have an opportunity to do a little on-site research in St. Croix?
I spent four wonderful years as a college professor on the beautiful island of St. Croix. I love the island! I miss being there. The only research I needed was to make full use of my own memory bank, which is a storehouse of exciting moments personally experienced by this author. St. Croix is a part of me and always will be.
5) Did setting the book on a Caribbean island present any unexpected plot difficulties as you wrote the book?
Since I know the island of St. Croix so well, having lived there, the setting posed no problems at all for me. In fact, the setting actually enhanced everything I was attempting to achieve. The local color is authentic, but the plot is my own creation, the bits and pieces falling into place as I dug deeper into the story.
6) Tell us about your lead, James "Cuff" Cuffy.
Cuff is a laid-back sort of guy, a real looker, a guy who has come to live on the island to get away from some bad memories on the mainland. He and his girlfriend, Rosie, are both very strong individuals, and the repartee between them was quite enjoyable for me, the reader-writer, to observe. She is like Maureen O’Hara, the one woman who could actually stand up to John Wayne. The two actors were like magic on the screen together, and that is how I view the relationship Cuff has with Rosie. They are both caught up in something scary that they do not understand, but neither will slow down one iota in their quest for justice.
7) With several novels under your belt and decades of experience as a writing professor, you are hardly a neophyte when it comes to the written word. Can you tell us a little about your journey and career as a writer?
I wrote my first book when I was ten years old. My parents bought the only copy, paying me a dollar. I have continued to write my entire life. My study was filled with unfinished manuscripts, begun, discarded, and then restarted over the years, so the year before I retired, I had all the bits and pieces word processed for me, so that when I retired, having all the time in the world to devote to one of my lifelong passions, writing, I could do so. And that is what I have done. I now have four novels published on Amazon Kindle, and the fifth is well on its way. I hope to keep writing until I die. It is my favorite avocation. I only wish I could have retired years ago.
8) Please tell us briefly about your other works.
COVERT DREAMS is an international thriller set primarily in both Munich and Saudi Arabia, two other places I have lived. It, like DEADLY EYES, is a novel of suspense that takes place in colorful settings. THE FAMOUS UNION is a rollicking romp through the halls of academia, where the often-eccentric characters are forced to cope in an atmosphere where compromise is a four-letter word. One reviewer said that the characters would make good case studies for a psych class. I like that. THE SURVIVAL OF MARVIN BAINES is about a loving husband and father, who, at midlife, suddenly begins to find his life unraveling. He wants escape, but instead he gets something altogether unexpected.
DEADLY EYES is available at Amazon.