Amelia Nielson-Stowell: Former Sandy police officer Mark Nosack uses experiences on force to write 'Murder Gene' novel
SANDY — From the Cottonwood Canyons to Harmons grocery store, Jordan High School and Primary Children's Medical Center, Jake Barkley is looking for a killer.
And the fictional action thrills in "The Murder Gene" takes readers all over the Salt Lake Valley.
Retired Sandy police officer Mark Nosack wrote the book, loosely based on his experiences working in the south valley force for three decades.
"I really do write about the people who were in my cases," Nosack said. "I have no imagination, so I base my fiction on real life. The vast majority of people I write about were real human beings with real experiences."
Nosack officially retired in 2004 and now works as a private investigator. But his great love is writing.
He put a lot of himself into protagonist Jake Barkley, a detective for the Sandy Police Department. Barkley watches his wife contract breast cancer, a painful experience Nosack dealt with when his wife, Sandy, battled non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
"My books are real life," he said. "It's the real life I know. There's a lot of sadness, a lot of death. That's the world I come from."
Nosack even had an old cop friend e-mail him after reading the book, remarking that he recognized who Nosack based Barkley's captain on because of the similar mannerisms.
"The Murder Gene" is the first in a planned trilogy about Jake Barkley, a name Nosack hopes people will come to know just as well as Jack Ryan from the Tom Clancy series.
Nosack wrote "The Murder Gene" in the action style he loves as a reader. The first five chapters in particular are nonstop action, while weaving through a tale full of family drama and even psychotic twins.
"The dynamics become interesting," he said.
"The Murder Gene" is Nosack's second book. "The Re-Killing of Greyeyes" was his first, a true cold case of the 1979 murder of Marilyn Greyeyes in Sandy. Both are published by PublishAmerica, a publish-on-demand distributor that sells the books through its site and Amazon.com.
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