Happy Malice Domestic week – and welcome guest David Burnsworth, author of the Brack Pelton novels)
I put an elephant in my book
I couldn’t resist. There were too many amazing posts on Facebook about elephants. Video clips of them eating, flapping their ears, rolling in mud, and bathing in rivers. A young calf charging the cameraman. Another group of calves receiving their bottles from a sanctuary caretaker.
Plus I’m really ticked off at all the poaching still going on for ivory. What a travesty.
So, I felt the urge to add one to my newest book. To make it seem plausible, I put my own version of an elephant sanctuary right outside of the city of Atlanta, where my latest Brack Pelton novel, Big City Heat, is set. And then I gave a bull elephant a minor role in the story. His name is Mr. Grumpy and he doesn’t like anyone except his handler. But he takes a liking to Brack. I won’t give away what happens to them, but they make a good team.
Why elephants? Just spend some time watching videos of these magnificent creatures and you’ll understand. They are wise, social, and family oriented. And some can get to be ten thousand pounds—not something to be ignored.
Another author that placed an elephant character in one of his books was Spencer Quinn in a Chet and Bernie mystery. Quinn did a masterful job in the scenes where he had Chet the dog interact with Peanut the elephant.
For research, and because an African Safari is not in the budget right now, I called around and talked to some folks who take care of them. That’s where I learned that they like melons a lot. They use dirt and mud to protect their skin from the sun. And that the sheer size can make them that much more dangerous to humans if not careful.
A reviewer of Big City Heat said that they picked Mr. Grumpy as their favorite character. I can’t fault them for their choice. Brack has a lady killer of a dog named Shelby and he’s usually the pick of the litter, so to speak as far as being a favorite character from the series. So to have someone pick the elephant made my day!
What are your favorite animals?
Lowcountry bar owner and ex-Marine Brack Pelton heads to Atlanta in the wake of a panicked 3 AM phone call. A woman is missing and Brack’s friend Mutt is in danger. Brack’s old flame, investigative news correspondent Darcy Wells, now lives there and is set to marry another man. If Brack was honest with himself, and he usually wasn’t, he’d realize that the missing woman isn’t the reason for his visit. His Semper Fi buddy Mutt can handle himself just fine. When Brack and Mutt team up to find the woman, the Atlanta underworld revolts, the two biggest players target them, and people start dying. Most people would size up the situation, call it impossible, and walk away. But most people are not Brack Pelton. Impossible situations are his specialty. He made it through Afghanistan and when the military commanders mistook suicidal tendencies for leadership qualities they promoted him. Can Brack succeed at finding the woman, protecting his friend, and winning the girl without destroying the Capital of the South? Not since Sherman’s march across Georgia has the city of Atlanta been in this much danger
David Burnsworth became fascinated with the Deep South at a young age. After a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tennessee and fifteen years in the corporate world, he made the decision to write a novel. Big City Heat is his third mystery. Having lived in Charleston on Sullivan’s Island for five years, the setting was a foregone conclusion. He and his wife along with their dog call South Carolina home.