Originally Published: August 11, 2014 6:02 a.m.
Bob Brill's second fiction novel, "Lancer; Hero of the West: The Prescott Affair," features a lead character from Tombstone who takes on a missing persons case in none other than 1880's era Prescott.
For the author, writing about Everybody's Hometown was a chance to revisit an area that, for him, is full of fond memories. Brill started in broadcast media as a disc jockey for Prescott's KNOT radio in 1972. He was also known in the area for a sports column that appeared in The Daily Courier - known back then as the Prescott Courier.
Lancer, he said, is the first in a planned series of novels.
"I've always wanted to write a western. I loved westerns growing. My father was a huge fan. He told me he read every Zane Grey novel there was," Brill said. "If there was a good western movie coming out in theaters, we were there."
While he grew up with a love and appreciation for westerns, he was always hesitant to write one himself due to the research involved.
"I wanted to make it a fictional character who intermingled with real life characters of the day," Brill said. "Prescott was my first job. I have this real love for Prescott. I can almost remember everything that I did in Prescott clear as a bell and that was 42 years ago. I thought this would be a good place for my character to go."
Wyatt Earp and others appear in the novel, as does Tombstone as a setting. Brill is already at work on the second Lancer novel, which will bring the gun-for-hire out to Los Angeles.
Brill, who lives in Los Angeles County, is no stranger to the spotlight. While he worked for 40 years in both print and broadcast media, his name garnered national attention in 1992, when he was sent to cover the L.A. riots for NBC Radio.
"I was assigned to cover reactions to the verdicts that came down for the police officers in the Rodney King beating," Brill said. "I got on a pay phone, since we didn't have cell phones back then, and called my desk and started filing the story. Reginald Denny had pretty much been thrashed and I was there before him. I was basically describing him at the intersection. Just as I was getting ready to leave I got attacked."
Brill suffered a number of injuries as a result of the riots, including a crack in his skull, punctured eardrum, and damage to his thumb, cuts, bruises and more. Footage of his attack has since surfaced on the Internet. Rioters also tossed a rock through the windshield of his car, which Brill still has in his possession.
The Peregrine Book Company will host Brill for a special signing, question and answer session, and reading on Wednesday, Aug. 13, beginning at 5:30 p.m. The local, independently owned bookstore is located at 219A North Cortez Street in Prescott. For more on Brill, visit his website at www.bobbrill.com.
Coincidentally, author Michaela Carter's book, "Further Out Than You Thought," which is set during the L.A. Riots, is featured at the Peregrine Book Company near downtown Prescott this month.
Follow reporter Patrick Whitehurst on Twitter @pwdcourier