Dave McVeigh and Jim Bolone, authors of the widely popular 2021 novel “The Dockporter,” have penned an excellent prequel adventure, “Somewhere in Crime,” involving Michigan’s idyllic Mackinac Island, the cult film “Somewhere in Time,” a cold-case murder and a young boy’s coming of age.
“The Dockporter,” set in 1999, follows the wild adventures of the men who transport luggage from ferry boats to hotels on Mackinac Island. “Somewhere in Crime” starts out 10 years later. Protagonist Jack McGuinn returns to the island with his spouse and two children for a vacation, shocking them with a story about how in 1979, he solved a murder that had occurred 20 years earlier on the island.
McGuinn takes his kids back in time to when the film “Somewhere in Time,” starring the late Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour, was filmed on the island. McGuinn, then 11, was delivering newspapers to island cottages.
In the flashback, McGuinn is spending the summer on the island with his parents, who are going through some tough times. He decides to throw himself into solving a 20-year-old murder to collect a longstanding reward, hoping to send his parents on a romantic trip to patch up their marriage.
When the movie makers arrive in town, McGuinn gets to work putting together some long-lost clues, which he hopes will solve the murder. He joins forces with the daughter of one of the film’s producers, along with an odd fellow who takes tickets at a haunted theater downtown. Of course, some ugly and sometimes humorous situations muck up the works.
Although the book is peppered with film stories, the movie only serves as a backdrop to this “Hardy Boys”-esque young-adult novel, which the authors say is rated PG-13, probably for language.
“I have to take credit for the title and the idea of using the filming of the movie as the setting. We had some ideas, but the film seemed to be the obvious one,” McVeigh said. “I was there the whole summer of 1979, and we knew it would be a blast telling the story. I followed the movie crew around like a puppy dog. Reeve was a huge star coming off ‘Superman,’ and Seymour was a Bond girl.”
Bolone said, “It was pretty easy writing the book, although the revisions and the editing were tedious. After all, we already knew a lot about the island, so we didn’t have to fact-check that.”
McVeigh agreed, “When Jack is standing at a spot speaking, we know exactly what he is looking at when he turns his head left. You are in his head.”
McVeigh acknowledged that the book’s strongest influence was “The Hardy Boys” series.
“I was a ‘Hardy Boys’ fanatic,” he said.
The book may have a young-adult overtone, but it’s a fun read for all ages and genders. McGuinn’s summer friend is a sassy teenager, adding a humorous presence that keeps the book moving forward. And his rough-hewn, long-haired friend Blaze, the ticket taker, is a mysterious addition who adds an edge that will keep even the keenest mystery readers wondering what’s going on.
McVeigh said one of the challenges of the book was to weave in the subplots of the movie-making, family drama and murder mystery without making the book “too busy.”
“Of course, we made up scenes and dialogue about the filming of the movie that never happened, he said. “We did stay away from an actual murder that had occurred on the island, and the complete book, except for the setting, is fictitious.”
Each fall, at the end of the tourism season, Mackinac Island hosts a “Somewhere in Time” weekend that takes guests back in time more than 100 years and includes special events where guests dress up and party like it’s 1912. This year, it’s set for Oct. 27 through 29. Seymour has returned for the weekend extravaganza a couple of times and still loves the island’s atmosphere, which she has referred to as “pixie dust.”
This year, Bolone will be hawking his and Dave’s excellent adventure to the island’s guests.
“He’ll be one of many in a bowler hat,” McVeigh said. Bolone knows it’s a long shot, but he hopes he’ll be able to sell books on the porch of the Grand Hotel.
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