For Aristotle "Soc" Socarides, diver, Cape Cod fisherman, and sometime private investigator, summer on Quanset Beach can have its irritations. The throngs of pushy tourists who converge on the town turn everyday events like parking and finding a seat at a bar into headaches, and the heat and humidity make fishing expeditions grueling tests of endurance. Still, for all his griping, this is home, and Soc likes it. Likes it, that is, until the day horrible screams shatter Quanset ...
For Aristotle "Soc" Socarides, diver, Cape Cod fisherman, and sometime private investigator, summer on Quanset Beach can have its irritations. The throngs of pushy tourists who converge on the town turn everyday events like parking and finding a seat at a bar into headaches, and the heat and humidity make fishing expeditions grueling tests of endurance. Still, for all his griping, this is home, and Soc likes it.
Likes it, that is, until the day horrible screams shatter Quanset Beach's calm. A swimmer is attacked and killed by a mysterious aquatic predator, his body viciously disfigured in a way that is unlike anything ever seen. The town goes into a state of complete panic, and when another swimmer is mutilated, and bodies start coming ashore, Soc knows there is no time to lose.
Time is something Soc already has little of, though, for he has agreed to help beleaguered Tillie Talbot, the owner of the Quanset Beach Sailing Camp for children. The camp is set on prime waterfront real estate, and Tillie has repeatedly fought off aggressive developers looking to buy. But now sinister forces are at work to bankrupt Tillie and make her sell-forces that, Soc learns, have ominous levels of power in local and state government. And, as if Soc didn't have enough to think about, his mother coerces him into trying to shake some sense into his cousin Alex, a spoiled young punk who has started running with a particularly nasty crowd. Add to that a messed-up love life and you have all the ingredients for a thoroughly rotten time.
And then John Flagg shows up in Quanset, and Soc knows that things are about to go from rotten to surreal. A sinewy ex-commando with ice in his veins and a wicked mean streak, Flagg is an old friend who does odd, unsavory jobs for the CIA, and his sudden interest in the Quanset Beach attacks is definitely not a good sign. Other groups in Quanset are interested in the attacks as well, and some of them make the CIA look like Cub Scouts. As usual, Soc is in completely over his head; one false step on his part could jeopardize national security at its highest level and cause him to be very dead.
So much for a quiet summer.
Tourist season is in full flush at Cape Cod's Quanset Beach when a swimmer is badly mauled and dies from his injuries. Aristotle ``Soc'' Socarides, a commercial fisherman and PI, helps pull the victim from the water and is baffled by the wounds that look only somewhat like shark bites. The town selectmen nervously vote to keep the beach open--until bloated corpses start washing up on shore. While Soc speculates on this sudden rise in the death rate, Tillie Talbot asks him to find out whether the official scrutiny her summer camp has recently come under--from locals checking for sanitary code infractions to feds hunting illegal aliens--is linked to a real estate agent's interest in the valuable beachfront property. Next, John Flagg, an old friend and ``spook'' at an obscure government agency, hires Soc to do a bit of diving on the quiet. Likable Soc even finds time to help straighten out his young cousin Alex, who has fallen in with a bad crowd. Leaping nimbly from mystery to mystery, the overachieving Soc may strain credibility (anyone as clever as he is should take a day off from fishing and sort out the national debt), but his good nature makes him pleasant company nevertheless. (Oct.)
My fiction-writing career owes it start to the bad navigation of an 18th century pirate. For it was in 1717 that a ship, the Whydah went aground, reportedly carrying a treasure. In the 1980s, three salvage groups went head-to-head, competing to find the wreck. The controversy over the salvage got hot at times and I thought there might be a book in their story.
I developed my own detective, an ex-cop, diver, fisherman, and PI named Aristotle "Soc" Socarides. He was more philosophical than hard-boiled. Making his first appearance in "Cool Blue Tomb," the book won the Shamus award for Best Paperback novel. After many years in the newspaper business, I turned to writing fiction and churned out five more books in the series.
Clive Cussler blurbed: "There can be no better mystery writer in America than Paul Kemprecos."
Despite the accolades, the Soc series lingered in mid-list hell. By the time I finished my last book, I was thinking about another career that might make me more money, like working in a 7-11.
Several months after the release of "Bluefin Blues," Clive called and said a spin-off from the Dirk Pitt series was in the works. It would be called the NUMA Files and he wondered if I would be interested in tackling the job.
My wife closed the deal when she said: "What else have you got to do?"
The answer was "nothing," and I took on the writing of "Serpent" which brought into being Kurt Austin and the NUMA Special Assignments Team. Austin had some carry-over from Soc, and another team member, Paul Trout, had been born on Cape Cod. The book made The New York Times bestseller list, as did every one of seven NUMA Files that followed, including "Polar Shift," which bumped "The DaVinci Code" for first place.
I continue to write and am working on the e-book release of my Soc series. Christi and I live on Cape Cod where she has her own financial services business. We live in a circa 1865 farmhouse with two cats. We have three children and seven granddaughters.
To learn more about Paul Kemprecos, check out his website at http://www.paulkemprecos.com/.