Michael A. Kelley of Anoka has published his first detective mystery novel.
“It’s the dream that I’ve been chasing since I was 10,” he said.
The 125-page adult book titled “The Talking Dog Says” was released June 18.
The story is about Minneapolis detective Jim Diamond, who is attacked in his home. He learns his assailants are connected to the mob, which leads him to Sin City to track down tough guy Armand Backus, a has-been entertainer who wants him dead.
A subplot involves Diamond’s sister, Kathleen, suffering beatings from her live-in boyfriend.
The book’s cover features a photo of a perky, white tarrier standing on his hind legs on a chair and leaning into a vintage microphone. He appears to be talking (or barking) into the mic.
But the book isn’t about a dog. Rather, Backus is a former singer who once scored a hit record called “Talking Dog Song.” Diamond hated the song.
“Action, danger and startling plot twists lead the reader down a path of suspense as Diamond struggles to rescue himself and only gets in deeper trouble,” Kelley writes in a synopsis on the back cover of his book. Kelley also weaves morsels of humor into the plot.
Kelley was born in Delano and graduated from Delano High School. He started writing and drawing picture stories at the age of nine.
“My teacher always said I had just an incredible imagination,” he said.
Kelley earned an associate of arts degree from North Hennepin Community College. He later worked as a psychiatric nursing assistant for 17 years. He now works as a customer services specialist in the law enforcement program at Hennepin Technical College in Brooklyn Park.
“It doesn’t hurt to be surrounded by cops in writing my story,” Kelley said.
Kelley tries to write two to three hours a day. He writes 90 percent of his material on the computer and the remainder longhand.
He started his novel three to four years ago. He also has published two poetry books “Only the Sun Returns” and “Alcatraz” (no longer in print).
“I love to write. It’s the creativeness,” Kelley said. “I’ve never known a time when I wasn’t writing a story, when I wasn’t drawing one,” he said.
He already has three books in the draft stages for the Diamond detective series.
Kelley says he’s not looking to make a killing (no pun intended) with the earnings from his book.
But he is hoping that years from now when he does decide to retire, the writing will supplement his income.
“The Talking Dog Says” by Michael Kelley can be purchased in book stores and from www.createspace.com/37522944 or from www.amazon.com. Price is $11.99. For more information, write to Kelley at 801 East River Road, apartment 212, Anoka, MN 55303.
Elyse Kaner is at [email protected]