Column: Local writer’s thrilling novel a new look at Kennedy’s Camelot

Chris Hoy (Courtesy)

Chris Hoy (Courtesy)

Chris Hoy knows of what he speaks and speaks knowingly of it. And the Prescott writer plows a fertile field in the writing of his recently published blockbuster spy thriller titled “Club Red.” In the book, filtering fact from fiction while focusing on yet another theory having to do with the Kennedy assassination, he centers on a mysterious, imperious jewelry box typifying the telltale tattling that would have pinpointed who was actually behind the egregious deed that turned America’s Camelot dream into a nightmare.

Hoy’s inventive mind is bolstered by his Army service while stationed in Germany from 1961-64 when he had a Top Secret clearance and was privy in the Heidelberg nerve center to CIA and spy reports concerning “dark news” — i.e., matters that “regular folks” could never view relating to such things as the assassination, the Berlin Wall, and the Cuban Missile Crisis. And so it is that he writes on “Club Red’s” back cover that “if you read it and you can tell which parts are true and which parts I invented, then you work for the CIA.”

Space constraints won’t allow me to delve into any plot twists or outrageous occurrences in Hoy’s riveting novel, so I must settle instead with a wee smattering of examples of his descriptive narrative, flecked with similes, to wit:

• “He was lean as a bean, almost bony, and his skin had a blue-white cast, like skim milk.”

• “A thin, pallid, bespectacled woman, Barbara wore her dark hair short and her dark skirts long. The thick lens in her glasses magnified her gray eyes to twice their actual size. She lived alone in a small townhouse with a parrot and a miniature poodle. Obsessed with personal safety, Barbara kept two vials of pepper spray in her purse to ward off rapists.”

• “He kept his stiff black hair cut short and his flat brown face shaved close to the bone. His steel-hard head sat on a neck as thick as a fire hydrant. His massive forearms and hands could crush bone.”

• “Rose leaned on the counter and tapped Redline’s forearm with a finger the size of a jumbo frank.”

Who’s Redline? Well, he’s Jim Redline, the hero of the novel who’s a private investigator versed in taking no guff from anybody, and as such is quite adept at commanding respect.

“Club Red” is a page-turner deluxe that’s available at Prescott’s Peregrine Book Co. or via Amazon.

Writer Hoy, incidentally, is high in versatility. For example, he penned a book back in 2007 that’s about as far afield from a spy novel as one can get. It’s for children and is titled “The Elk in the Attic.” He notes that “it was published locally, thanks to Elisabeth Ruffner and her daughter, Melissa, and was illustrated by Walt Anderson, a professor at Prescott College. We sold 1,200 copies to help raise money for the rehab of the Elks Opera House,” he noted, “and then Elisabeth asked me to adapt the story into a musical play. I did that … the play was performed at the Opera House in the summers of 2012 and 2013, with Jody Drake directing the 2012 play and Tiffany Antone the 2013 version.”

“The Elk in the Attic,” he adds, “is still out there; it’s for sale at the Opera House, in the lobby, and also in the gift shop at The Highlands Center for Natural History.”

A good book for a good cause, you might say!

Contact the columnist at editorial@prescottaz.com.