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Local Author

Hoffman pens novel
set in his native Henry County, Ky.

He is a former newspaper
columnist-turned-novelist

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

PENDLETON, Ky. (December 2012) – After years of writing about the outdoors through syndicated columns, John Henry Hoffman decided it was time to try his hand at novel writing. Knowing he possessed the experience to accomplish this feat, the outcome centers on events in and around the tiny town of Lockport, Ky.
“I’ve always wanted to write a novel,” said Hoffman, 71. “I chose fiction for the latitude it gave me and the locations because of the familiarity. This is my first full-length novel.”

John Hoffman

Photo provided

John Hoffman has
released his first
novel, “Lockport Blues.”

Lockport Blues

“Lockport Blues” is the result of Hoffman’s efforts. It is the first in a series of Jace Sterling mysteries. Sterling is a Henry County sheriff who teams with FBI agent Dee O’Brian to investigate a series of tragic murders that first occurred in 1958 and seem to be repeating themselves in the novel’s 1978 setting.
In the course of the book, Sterling finds himself ensnared in a trap laid out for him by a former Mafia enemy, who is out for blood. When he teams with O’Brian, these two characters become embroiled in the crossfire of events taking place in the small rural community of Lockport, which is in Henry County, Ky. Their investigation also takes them and a veteran law enforcement team to Washington, D.C., and to London in search of the truth.
“I based the book on many similar incidents that did take place in Henry County but kept it fictional,” said Hoffman. While there was no certain case in particular that Hoffman singled out, “the area (Lockport, Gratz, Monteray and Guiestville) has lots of history of Ku Klux Klan and criminal activity.”
Over the past 20 years, Hoffman has written and had published several award-winning short stories, including, “Ghost of the Tracks” and “The Sawmill Hollow Buck.” He majored in English at Ohio State University with an emphasis on creative writing.
He began writing for Landmark Newspapers in 1996. “My weekly columns appeared in 29 of their community papers for about five years,” said Hoffman. The columns were titled “Bluegrass Outdoors.”
He worked from 1994 until 1999 as a radio talk show host at WKX (AM and FM) in Eminence, Ky. The show was a call-in outdoors program, also known as “Bluegrass Outdoors.”
Hoffman is originally from Cleveland. He has lived in Cincinnati, Dayton, San Francisco, Orlando, Fla., and Minneapolis. He is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corp, having served from February 1962 until February 1966.
“My father was a Marine who saw action on Iwo Jima during World War II. I was attracted to the Esprit and reputation of the Corp,” said Hoffman as to why he chose to enter the Marines.
“I am currently working on two more full-length novels,” he said. “One is a sequel to ‘Lockport Blues’ and another about my time in the USMC and Vietnam.” Hoffman lives in Henry County with his wife, Terry.
When not hard at work writing, Hoffman enjoys fishing and bird hunting with his Weimaraner, “Keiser.” He also listens to audiobooks, preferring crime and spy fiction genres. His favorite authors include John Grisham, John Sandford, James Lee Burke, W.E.G. Griffin and Ed McBain.
As to his own writing career, “I like the latitude one gets when writing fiction. It’s a creative outlet for me.”

• “Lockport Blues” can be purchased at Barnes & Noble book stores or online at Amazon.com or directly from the publisher at: www.bookstore.xlibris.com.

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