Friday, October 23, 2009

Meet Sticks Hetrick

Daniel “Sticks” Hetrick is the lead character in a mystery series named for him. Though he’s the primary, there’s a cast of continuing characters and I’ll be introducing others in coming weeks.

In the first novel in the series, Something In Common, Hetrick was introduced as the retired police chief of the rural community of Swatara Creek, Pennsylvania. His successor in the job, acknowledging his more limited experience, reluctantly opened the door for Hetrick to act as an unofficial consultant to the department. There is a continuing element of rivalry in their relationship, though they’ve become closer friends in the later novels.

In addition to his years with the local police department, Hetrick previously served with the state police. His retirement was precipitated by the illness and subsequent death of his wife, Sarah, as well as a feud between him and his political overseer. Both issues continue to haunt him and frequently result in personal conflicts.

Hetrick had been bored in retirement. The challenges of his new responsibilities and comradeship with Brubaker and, particularly, his protégés, Harry Minnich and Flora Vastine have given him a new lease on life.

In the second novel, Cruel Cuts, he renewed acquaintance with an old friend and nearly became romantically involved. Though it didn’t occur then, a new romantic possibility cropped up in the third novel, Corruption’s Child, in the person of Anita Baker. Will love change Hetrick? That remains to be seen.

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