By Greg Ellison, Staff Writer
After years of stalled writing projects, Ocean Pines resident Terry Adcock got the time he needed to write his crime novel, “They Call Me Ms.” When he had to retire for medical reasons.
Intended for fans of fast-paced crime fiction and suspense, Adcock’s book centers on protagonist Vic Carella, formerly military police who retired to become a private investigator.
“She’s not some little wallflower; she’s been around the block,” he said.
Adcock said despite a long interest, full-time writing is a recent endeavor after four decades
in IT Management.
“I was always interested and started a few stories in past,” he said.
Adcock stepped away from his former career several years ago after arthritis crushed his spinal cord.
“I had to retire due to medical conditions,” he said. “It made walking a little more difficult for me.”
Over the last decades, Adcock had worked to build out and manage data centers with private firms and government agencies in D.C., including the Department of Labor and the National Archives.
“I took early retirement and was recovering from surgery for six to eight months at home,” he said.
While on the mend, Adcock became determined to reignite the creative juices.
“I sat down and I got serious about it,” he said.
Before penning “They Call Me Ms.,” Adcock published the stage play, “Swept Away by Murder,” as an homage to the “Golden Age of Mysteries.”
“I tried my hand at the stage-play thing, and I got it finished [and] published,” he said. “In fact, it’s having a live performance next month.”
Following cold readings online during the height of covid, the Wakefield HS drama club in Raleigh North Carolina is set to perform Adcock’s play next month before a live audience.
“I tried it due to an interest in the format and I already had lots of notes from a previous book project,” he said.
With his first work published, Adcock dove into developing the Vic Carella character.
“She’s had her share of dealing with tough situations,” he said.
Adcock’s heroine has former armed forces experience and enters the civilian ranks as an ace private investigator celebrated as a “finder of lost objects.”
The action-oriented mystery, which is set in the D.C. region, involves a stolen yacht and Russian crime syndicates involved with human trafficking and gun running.
“If people like to watch detective mysteries on TV, but not the prim and proper … type,” he said. “It’s a fast read.”
Adcock said Carella exhibits a tough-as-nails exterior after escaping multiple assassination attempts by Russian gangsters.
“She is attacked on the street and is creative enough to defend herself with a water bottle,” he said.
To help draw readers into the thrilling twists and turns, Adcock wrote Carella’s character in first person.
“A lot of dialogue is directly addressed to the reader,” he said.
The goal was adopting a more conversational tone with readers.
“She’s describing things and asking your opinion,” he said.
Regardless of occasional asides to the audience, Adcock said the action moves along at a very fast pace.
“There’s not a lot stalling and descriptive language of how beautiful the wallpaper is,” he said. “This girl gets into more action than anybody.”
Despite the crime action Adcock also rolled in romantic underpinnings.
“There is a little romantic interest in there, but by and large it’s what happens next, with trouble around every corner,” he said.
Adcock was careful to resolve mysterious elements for readers and avoid leaving any dangling questions.
“All the beginnings are wrapped up in the ending,” he said.
Adcock said one cliffhanger involving Carella’s conflicted love interest with character Boots Johnson was intentional.
“She thought he was a bad guy to begin,” he said. “It turns out in the end he’s not a crook, so she has more of an interest.”
In fact, Adcock intends to produce a series of Vic Carella mysteries, with work already underway on a sequel, “That Kind of Day.”
“It picks up where she hadn’t seen him in six months and he’s at her doorstep bleeding to death,” he said.
“They Call Me Ms.: A Vic Carella Mystery” is available in paperback for $9.99 on Amazon or at the Greyhound Bookstore in Berlin.
This story appears in the print version of Bayside Gazette on May 5, 2022.