Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A New Sticks Hetrick Novel

Arson, a heinous crime, is at the root of A Burning Desire, sixth in my Sticks Hetrick mystery series.

FBI statistics show arson in the United States increased 3.2 percent over the previous year in the first six months of 2012. This was a higher percentage than recorded for other serious crimes such as robbery, aggravated assault and larceny-theft.

There are arsons for profit—individuals who torch their own property or hire someone else to do it in order to collect on insurance. In the former case, these are often amateurs who are sloppy about technique and prone to mistakes which get them caught. Professionals are another matter.

A possibly more dangerous type of arsonist is the pyromaniac. This is a person suffering from an actual psychological disorder. They don’t light fires for monetary gain or other common motives. Instead, they derive their pleasure from seeing the fire. It relieves their stress and may even gratify them sexually or in other ways.

Authorities say one of the biggest problems with these individuals is they aren’t always easy to identify. Other than a fixation with fire, they may seem little different from their neighbors. It’s estimated 90 percent of pyromaniacs are male. They may have a juvenile record, but most likely will work a normal job and not stand out from co-workers. As an expert tells Hetrick in the novel, a serial arsonist “…is generally male, usually white and probably under thirty. Intelligence-wise, they’re all over the charts—from moron to genius and everything in between.”

That does not make things easy for our detective facing an outbreak of arson in rural Swatara Creek, Pennsylvania. Initially, the minor nature of the fires inclines authorities to view them as pranks, probably the work of juveniles. Hetrick and his fellow law enforcement officials know arson always has the potential to become more serious. This fear is confirmed in the wake of a murder at the site of one fire.

As they hunt the arsonist, Sticks and his protégé Officer Flora Vastine must also confront troubling, dangerous people from their pasts, adding to their jeopardy.


  1. Sounds like a super, exciting read. But then all your books fall into this category. Lots of luck.

  2. Love the cover. When I get a moment, I will read John's book. Congratulations and I wish you much success. John is a wonderful author!

  3. Sounds excellent, John. I'll be sure to pick it up. Happy sales!