All private eye Clayton Russell wanted was to be left alone at his home in north Georgia. But when a sixth-grade girl is kidnapped, a former girlfriend entices him to try to find her. Russell finds that the trail leads to an international child trafficking ring.
That’s the premise of “The Catcher,” the first novel by Gary Towers and Genevieve Frazier, a Kingston-based husband and wife writing team. Frazier grew up in Dalton.
“This is the first fiction book I’ve written. I wrote two nonfiction books,” said Towers, who has worked in the advertising industry for almost 40 years.
Towers began writing “The Catcher” about three years ago.
“I was having a slow summer a few years ago, so I wrote a 70-page outline of it,” he said. “I had a protagonist who was very good at finding things. Well, what’s the hardest thing to find? A person. A child. That was the genesis of it. That’s been done before. The challenge is to do it differently.”
One challenge, he said, came in a chapter where Russell has to get information out of a woman who doesn’t want to reveal it. He has to crack “a pretty tough cookie.”
“How do you do that and still keep him sympathetic?” Towers said.
It took him about a week to come up with the solution, which involves a surgeon, full-body anesthesia and poultry shears.
After about two years, Towers had a finished manuscript.
“It was over a thousand pages, then I got a hold of it. I edited it and did some of the character development,” said Frazier, an attorney who practices in Rome.
Frazier graduated from Valley Point High School in 1971. She and Towers met while they were both students at the University of Georgia.
“We had two dates and went our own ways,” Towers said.
Thirty years later, Towers found himself back in Athens with some old friends.
“I saw a girl who looked like her and said, ‘She reminds me of a girl I dated a couple of times,’” he recalled.
Later, he looked Frazier up and emailed her, rekindling a relationship that led to marriage.
And will the two continue writing together? “The Catcher” garnered a favorable review from Kirkus Reviews, an industry magazine that reviews new books.
“They aren’t afraid to knock a book if they think it isn’t any good, so that means a lot,” Frazier said.
They say that if the response to “The Catcher” is good they are interested in writing a sequel.
“It’s set up for one,” said Towers.