A graduate of Northwestern, William Crawford began telling stories at the age of five to his cousins late at night while on family vacations in the Great North Woods. This quickly progressed—if you can call two decades quickly progressing— to political satire. In 1996 the author created a parody on the OJ Simpson saga. My Search for the Real Killer, not by OJ Simpson became a minor cult classic. The author’s real ambition was to become a novelist. Over the years he developed several storylines. Once he retired from his safety position in government he turned that ambition into reality. The result is the Floating Man: a mystery thriller that takes place in both past and present, where historical figures collide with fictional characters in a story of love, discovery, ambition, greed, death, and redemption.
The Floating Man William Crawfordby william crawford
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An amazing scientific discovery in 1830 leads to a government cover-up spanning two centuries and two continents, leaving a trail of death and destruction in its wake. Replete with dark psychosexual overtones, the Floating Man is a mystery thriller that takes place in both past and present as fictional and historical characters collide.
When ‘burned out’ investigative reporter John Hill returns home to take over the Beaufort Sentinel from his friend and mentor, James Campbell, he finds that his friend has literally fallen onto the story of a lifetime. The headline from 1830 screams out at them: Floating Man from France to perform Aerial Stunts this Saturday.
Who was Henri Richaud? An early hot air balloonist . . . or something else? How did he end up on a plantation run by Harriott Pinckney Horry, one of South Carolina’s most famous women? As John and James begin their search for this mysterious friend of Napoleon and protégé of Pierre-Simon Laplace—one of the greatest scientists of all time—they find that virtually all historical references to him have been deleted.
John and James soon enlist the help of John’s former investigative partner, Sheila Jefferson, now a staffer on the National Security Council. Big mistake. While romance ensues, alarm bells go off in a deeply embedded rogue cell of America’s labyrinthine intelligence apparatus. They soon find out that their search for Henri Richaud and the memoirs of the Sentinel’s founder, Robert Campbell, has deadly consequences. For Sheila, an erotic obsession turns violent as agents from the “Program” are dispatched to keep tabs on our trio.
Join John, James, and Sheila, along with a cast of historical characters that includes Napoleon, Andrew Jackson, Chief John Ross of the Cherokee Nation and Harriott Pinckney Horry and the slaves of Hampton Plantation as they try to stay one step ahead of their pursuers in both the past and present.
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- william crawford
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A real page turner. I especially liked the parallels between the past and present. The writer writes in a terse straightforward style and includes a little bit of everything (current events, history, mystery sex, violence, romance) and does so in a way that makes the story believable.
Enjoyed reading the combination of current and historical. Some plot lines were not as strong as others.
‘The Floating Man’ is one of those books you’re just so glad to have encountered. I know we always say “it hooks you in right on the first age,” but there is no other way of saying it—the book really reels you in the moment you lay eyes on the first few paragraphs. ‘The Floating Man’ is about John Hill, an exceptional investigative reporter with a lot going for him. But his long-time investigative partner, Sheila Jefferson, has quit the paper and joined “the other side”: the National Security Council, killing all possibility of not only further professional collaboration, but also any romantic future as well. Add to that are the recent deaths of his beloved parents, which seem to have left him jaded beyond redemption. So he retreats home, back to his old haunt in South Carolina. But what he thought was a quiet, uneventful business of taking over the management of his old friend James Campbell’s local paper, John and James stumble into some story from 1830 that is never meant to be read, not even in the present: France’s “Floating Man” named Henri Richaud, who appears to be well-connected politically and scientifically. Their investigative instincts kicking in, they embark on an incredibly suspenseful journey of historical discovery (along with Shiela) that places them on a deadly path against some shady conspiracy that threatens not only their journalistic reputation, but also their very lives. Crawford writes with a depth and surety that takes your breath away—his writing reads like Michael Crichton-meets-Dan Brown-meets-Clive Cussler (that is, if you’d remove all of Dan Brown’s cloying awkwardness)—he never flinches when he dives to further complicate the plot, and comes out of it as cleanly as a razor-sharp Samurai sword through a hapless fruit. Yes, it’s my own way of saying I enjoyed reading this book immensely, and I’m sure you will, too. Fans—even the most die-hard fans—of suspense techno-historical thrillers, especially those who like their intellects stimulated, will love ‘The Floating Man’ to shreds. I believe the logical next step for this novel is a Hollywood movie version, and I’m crossing my fingers that that is up-and-coming—and soon. I highly recommend!
I really liked the book. It kept you interested from the first sentence to the last.