Wassaic resident finalist in TruTV's 'Search for the Next Great Crime Writer Contest' contest


 

WASSAIC - This rural hamlet is a long way from the mean streets of Manhattan. But Terrence McCauley found inspiration here to write a gangster-era crime novel that is one of five finalists in a nationwide writing contest.

McCauley submitted his novel, "Prohibition," to TruTV's (the former Court TV) "Search for the Next Great Crime Writer Contest." He has recently been named one of five finalists in the competition. The winner will be announced Feb. 4 at 10 p.m. on TruTV's "Murder by the Book."

The novel, which is set in Prohibition-era New York City in 1930, is about ex-boxer Terry Quinn, who is the bodyguard to mob leader Archie Doyle.

Doyle has been in control of the most powerful mob on the East Coast for a decade, but he begins to lose control as America enters the great Depression. Doyle devises a plan to make his mob more powerful, but the plan comes to a halt when someone tries to kill one of his top men. He sends Quinn to find out who did it.

"Quinn tries to become more than an enforcer, he tries to become a detective," McCauley said. "Which is something he doesn't think he's capable of. He needs to sniff out who is trying to end his empire."

McCauley said the book is fictional, but is based on actual events.

"I first got interested in the genre because of my parents, who were big fans of movies from the 1930s and '40s," McCauley said. "I never lost my love for those movies as I grew up, and I decided I wanted to learn more about the time period. After doing some research, I decided there was much more to the world back then than what you saw in the movies."

One thing he learned: "The widespread violence that happened during that time in Chicago didn't happen in New York City," he said. "New York was different because it was much more organized."

McCauley grew up in the Bronx, but moved to Wassaic four years ago with his wife, Rita.

"My wife is from Millbrook, so we knew about the area," he said. "We have a weakness for older homes and we found a great 1880s Victorian house on Firehouse Road. We also love the people and the community here. This is a great part of the world."

A graduate of Fordham University with a degree in political science, he made his career in economic development and government affairs. He now works for Metro-North railroad as a government community representative. He is proud to be working for the second-largest commuter railroad in the country, of course, but there is something appealing about the idea of being a published author.

The winner of TruTV's contest will be awarded a book contract with Borders and a $5,000 cash advance.

"If I don't win, I'll keep on trying to find a publisher and agent," he said. "A good writer of crime stories is like any other good writer: You have to be observant and tenacious. It's not an easy craft because it can be a lonely craft. But it's rewarding."

Authors were chosen by popular vote in the first two rounds of the competition. The first two chapters of their books were posted online and readers gave a "10" to any entries they felt were worthy of being published. Twenty-five semifinalists were chosen from the 269 novels submitted in the first round of judging.

The panel of judges for the final round is made up of three authors who have been featured on "Murder by the Books" (a series where writers tell about the true crimes that inspired their fictional bestsellers). They are Sandra Brown, Harlan Coben and David Baldacci. Also on the panel are a marketing expert and two buyers from the Borders bookstore chain.

To be your own judge, read the first two chapters from "Prohibition" online at trutv.gather.com.

Latest News

Fresh perspectives in Norfolk Library film series

Diego Ongaro

Photo submitted

Parisian filmmaker Diego Ongaro, who has been living in Norfolk for the past 20 years, has composed a collection of films for viewing based on his unique taste.

The series, titled “Visions of Europe,” began over the winter at the Norfolk Library with a focus on under-the-radar contemporary films with unique voices, highlighting the creative richness and vitality of the European film landscape.

Keep ReadingShow less
New ground to cover and plenty of groundcover

Young native pachysandra from Lindera Nursery shows a variety of color and delicate flowers.

Dee Salomon

It is still too early to sow seeds outside, except for peas, both the edible and floral kind. I have transplanted a few shrubs and a dogwood tree that was root pruned in the fall. I have also moved a few hellebores that seeded in the near woods back into their garden beds near the house; they seem not to mind the few frosty mornings we have recently had. In years past I would have been cleaning up the plant beds but I now know better and will wait at least six weeks more. I have instead found the most perfect time-consuming activity for early spring: teasing out Vinca minor, also known as periwinkle and myrtle, from the ground in places it was never meant to be.

Planting the stuff in the first place is my biggest ever garden regret. It was recommended to me as a groundcover that would hold together a hillside, bare after a removal of invasive plants save for a dozen or so trees. And here we are, twelve years later; there is vinca everywhere. It blankets the hillside and has crept over the top into the woods. It has made its way left and right. I am convinced that vinca is the plastic of the plant world. The stuff won’t die. (The name Vinca comes from the Latin ‘vincire’ which means ‘to bind or fetter.’) Last year I pulled a bunch and left it strewn on the roof of the root cellar for 6 months and the leaves were still green.

Keep ReadingShow less
Matza Lasagne by 'The Cook and the Rabbi'

Culinary craftsmanship intersects with spiritual insights in the wonderfully collaborative book, “The Cook and the Rabbi.” On April 14 at Oblong Books in Rhinebeck (6422 Montgomery Street), the cook, Susan Simon, and the rabbi, Zoe B. Zak, will lead a conversation about food, tradition, holidays, resilience and what to cook this Passover.

Passover, marked by the traditional seder meal, holds profound significance within Jewish culture and for many carries extra meaning this year at a time of great conflict. The word seder, meaning “order” in Hebrew, unfolds in a 15-step progression intertwining prayers, blessings, stories, and songs that narrate the ancient saga of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery. It’s a narrative that has endured for over two millennia, evolving with time yet retaining its essence, a theme echoed beautifully in “The Cook and the Rabbi.”

Keep ReadingShow less
Housy baseball drops 3-2 to Northwestern

Freshman pitcher Wyatt Bayer threw three strikeouts when HVRHS played Northwestern April 9.

Riley Klein

WINSTED — A back-and-forth baseball game between Housatonic Valley Regional High School and Northwestern Regional High School ended 3-2 in favor of Northwestern on Tuesday, April 9.

The Highlanders played a disciplined defensive game and kept errors to a minimum. Wyatt Bayer pitched a strong six innings for HVRHS, but the Mountaineers fell behind late and were unable to come back in the seventh.

Keep ReadingShow less