Author Richard Echols will hold a book-signing event May 11 for his novel "Colt Ace," a fictional story based on true events during a Jefferson City cold case more than 50 years ago.
Echols served 23 years at the Missouri Department of Public Safety, with the last nine years as a deputy director. After having been involved with this case, Nichols decided to write a novel featuring Connor Pennington as a private investigator hired to look at the mysteries surrounding a troubled young man's suicide. Doubts of the case's validity soon arise when Pennington looks deep into the pasts of those involved.
"Conner is cautious, laid-back, not easily excitable, maintains a level of fitness, former Marine officer, has a definable concept of when to take charge and when to back off," Echols said. "He isn't perfect, but he is dedicated to finding the truth, recognizing there are gray areas that may not fit into the truth of black and white."
Citizens of the small Midwestern town prefer to leave the troubled young man's death behind; but Pennington, who retired from government service, is living his childhood dream of being a private investigator and is determined to find the evidence and unveil the truth.
The book also gives residents a hometown setting, as Echols spent several years as a local.
"I consider my home as being Jeff City, so I also consider myself a local author," Echols said.
Echols is a 1965 graduate of Jefferson City High School who then spent the next few years in the U.S. Marine Corps. Having had temporary duties as an investigator while being a commanding officer, Echols found his passion for finding the truth and later became a private investigator after retiring from public service.
His inspiration to begin writing began nearly 20 years ago, with a desire to write a novel of some sort. He then began writing the Connor Pennington novels after being asked by a high school classmate to investigate a long-ago incident involving his classmate's younger brother. When looking into the case, Echols agreed with the family that the man's death could not have been a suicide. The alleged weapon used in the suicide was a .22-caliber Colt Ace, which brought about the name of the book.
Echols' book-signing will be 6-8 p.m. May 11 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Jefferson City. He also will mention his second Pennington novel, "Motor Dynasty," which further involves Pennington being hired to research documents involving automotive misdeeds from a 1958 Jefferson City cold case, which was determined to be an accidental death but could in fact be murder.
Both books will be available for purchase at the signing. "Colt Ace" can be purchased at rosedogbookstore.com/colt-ace and on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. "Motor Dynasty" is available on Amazon and from Outskirts Press.