Books

Ex-Congressman Writes Paranormal Mystery Novel

Scott Klug, also an ex-TV newsman, is now a published novelist, and he doesn’t skimp on the plot.

By - Feb 19th, 2014 02:22 pm
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Scott Klug

Scott Klug

What happens when a Catholic priest, a Jewish rabbi, a Buddhist monk and a Muslim mystic walk into the pages of a paranormal mystery novel? If Scott Klug is guiding the characters, they will race around the globe in a fast-paced adventure to solve a gruesome murder, unravel an artifact heist, and disrupt a coup d’etat featuring a notorious Russian n’er-do-well.

Klug’s experience as a TV news reporter, scholar, and U.S. Congressman who has traveled the world, enhance his storytelling skills. The Alliance is a super tale of religious beliefs, otherworld mysticism, and government shenanigans as told from a global, multi-person perspective, with some mind-bending lessons in history, religion, geography.

Where did all that plot come from? Klug chuckles when asked. “I was on a golf trip with my son,” he says, “and I wrote out the plot on an airline baggage card.”

Klug’s main character, Father Pete Farrell, is a no-nonsense Milwaukee priest who teaches at Marquette University. He’s also a former Special Forces army soldier with extensive knowledge about the stolen artifacts trade who is summoned to northern Russia by an old friend, Lev Dukor. Dukor is a Russian police detective and rabbi who’s been assigned to an ugly case. Someone has breached security at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg and pilfered priceless artifacts from an exhbition of religious art and relics, including bronzes from the Hindu Angkor Wat temple; Buddhist Afghan coins; a holy Islamic key; an Israeli “kilim” rug; a crown that contains an iron remnant from a nail used for Christ’s crucifixion; and a wooden plank “believed to be one [of] the steps Jesus stood on when Pontius Pilate sentenced Him.”

As if that wasn’t enough, also mysteriously filched is the tooth of the Buddha: “The Buddha, according to some early Buddhist writings, gave detailed instructions for the cremation of his body,” Klug writes. “His funeral pyre was to be built at the intersection of four major roads. Afterward, his disciples gathered four of his teeth and took the to various communities around the world … One tooth is in Sri Lanka … Others are in Beijing, Singapore, and Japan.”

Adding some gore to the proceedings, a powerful Russian Orthodox archbishop and his assistant priest are found butchered and hung inside the Hermitage, and ominous phrases in different languages are scrawled on the museum’s walls using the victims’ blood.

The Alliance

The Alliance

Called in for assistance are Thang Mai, a computer-geek Buddhist monk from Thailand, and Tariq Nasrallah, a Sufi Muslim philanthropist and mystic from Damascus. Farrell, Thang and Tariq race to St. Petersburg to help Dukor solve the gruesome crime. The four men, along with a cynical Interpol female detective, quickly pursue the stolen artifacts, which the crime fighters know will be sold within hours of the theft. Yes, that’s a lot of plot to fit on an airline baggage card, and the complications go on from there.

Klug is apparently not the sort of novelist who suffers from writer’s block. He writes about four pages per day, or about 1,000 to 1,200 words; it took him about three months to produce the first draft of The Alliance. “I write fast; I want to get it down on the page,” he says. “And I see stuff in scenes.”

His experience as a news writer, Klug says, allows him to see scenes in his head that he quickly translates to the page. It’s a third-person, Dan Brown-style of writing, complete with a fast-moving plot. However, it can distance the reader from the characters. “I would like to develop my characters a bit more,” Klug admits.

Still, they are not without charm, partly because, instead of being young virile heroes,  they’re 50ish oldsters, real guys with real afflictions, who suffer age-related aches and fish-out-of-water moments. Farrell is the most developed character. Klug says the character is named after Klug’s cousin who was a Jesuit priest, though he may also have a bit of Klug himself and his sense of humor.

Klug admits his writing style leans less literary and more “beach read.”  He ultimately self-published his book using Amazon’s publishing platform, and has not printed hard copies. Klug considers his work suitable for grabbing at the airport en route to a vacation or a business trip. He’s an excellent writer, and the book provides a real thrill ride.

Klug is already planning a sequel to The Alliance. “I always have books running around in my head,” says Klug. “I may have four or five more, plus something in the young adult category, too.” But, he adds, “I don’t do romance.”

Tracey Kathryn and her writing partner, Annette O’Connor, review books and write a blog about Wisconsin-sourced books on Read Village-Wisconsin. For details or contact information, check their Facebook page  or at Twitter @cheesereads.

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