Darby’s Folly

During Dad’s writing career he wrote a wide variety of books — suspense, southern literature, young adult, even one that could be classified as fantasy. Darby’s Folly is a children’s book about a groundhog, J.D. Dawkins, who faces an interesting dilemma.

When it becomes evident that new residents will be moving into the abandoned farmhouse near his den, J.D. knows he must move. But he loves his home and wants to relocate it rather than move to a new one. But how do you move a hole in the ground?

Darby’s Folly is an entertaining story with lessons for the children. But it’s also a cute parody of society. In short, it’s a story that can be enjoyed by children and their parents alike.

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Runner

A new short story, Runner, is now available. This is based on a story I wrote many years ago about a woman who was attacked while jogging. I had planned to publish it as part of a short story anthology I’m working on, but when I read it I realized it needed a lot of work. So, I started over from scratch, using only the basic premise.

The story details what happens to a young woman when she is abducted by a serial killer. She isn’t his first victim, and certainly won’t be his last, unless she can somehow get free and run to safety.

But then, in an interesting twist of fate, she figures out how to turn the tables on her captor.

How fast can you run…how far can you go…if you’re running for your life?

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Violent Saturday and Ill Wind

I’m pleased to announce that Violent Saturday and Ill Wind are now available as ebooks through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Violent Saturday
Originally published in 1955, Violent Saturday was voted “Suspense Novel of the Year” by Cosmopolitan and later that same year 20th Century Fox released a movie based on the novel with an all-star cast including Victor Mature, Richard Egan, Lee Marvin, and Ernest Borgnine.

The plot centers around a bank robbery in the town of Morgan, Alabama. But the novel is more about the townspeople than the bank robbery itself. The story focuses on a slice of life in a small town in the 50’s, full of interesting characters whose mundane everyday routines meet in an explosive event that leaves them re-evaluating their lives. You will remember the people of Morgan and its violent Saturday afternoon long after you’ve finished reading this book.

Praise for Violent Saturday:
Violent Saturday is a helluva a novel and it will appeal to both the reader of thrillers as well as a more literary set. The best part is it does what literature should. It shines a light on the human condition while telling a terrifically entertaining and vibrant story. It is a violent novel that has all of the assets of a well-crafted thriller, but it adds the deliberate pace, the characters, and the illumination of a well-rendered piece of art.” – Ben Boulden, Gravetapping Book Reviews.

“It is quite an extraordinary effect Mr. Heath has managed in Violent Saturday – like the tick-tick-tick of a time bomb.” – Author and playwright Wilbur Daniel Steele

Ill Wind
Ill Wind is a more literary novel than Violent Saturday. It takes us back to Morgan, but looks a little deeper into the day-to-day lives of its inhabitants, providing a snapshot of life in the late 50’s with acute clarity – from the regret over past mistakes, to repressed feelings of love, to the gossip spread at the bridge clubs and the barbershop, to the struggle for political power and control of the community. It’s a taught, compelling novel that lays bare the emotions, ambitions, and struggles of the citizens of Morgan as they react to a tragic event that leaves in its wake more questions than answers.

Praise for Ill Wind:
Ill Wind is a passionate and lyrical novel written by a man with an extraordinary ear and an eye for the right detail.” – Award winning author Edward Gorman

Ill Wind is…about perfect. Succinctly written with excellent characterization and with good pace. A real fine job.” – Best-selling novelist and screenwriter W. R. Burnett

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Novels by W. L. Heath

During his writing career, which spanned three decades, my father, William L. Heath, published eight novels and more than three dozen short stories. Two of his short stories were adapted for TV and one novel, Violent Saturday, was purchased by 20th Century Fox and made into a movie.

I’m often asked by people who knew him, or have read some of his work, how they can get copies of his books. Since all but one are out of print now, they’re hard to come by. Some are available on Amazon.com, for sale by individuals. But any of these that are in good condition are fairly expensive. So, I am undertaking the task of republishing my father’s books.

I’m in the process of getting the publication rights to his novels that are no longer in print. I’ll publish them as ebooks and, possibly, in print as paperbacks. I also have a couple of novels and several novellas he wrote that were never published. I’m currently getting them ready for publication, as well. Last Known Position, is now available as an ebook. It’s Always Five O’clock will be published in July. Over the course of the next year I hope to publish all of his books. As this happens I’ll provide updates to this site.

For more info on W. L. Heath and his novels, visit his author page on this site.

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The Alec Stover Mysteries

In some ways this is an experiment – writing a series of novellas. But I’ve talked with a lot of people who said they don’t read more simply because they don’t have time. They look at the novels being published which are 300, 400, or even 500+ pages and don’t even want to start one because they know it will take weeks, if not months, to get through it. So, I’m trying to provide something that really doesn’t exist in the market today — short books that can be read in a weekend, or on a business trip, or even in a few hours if you’re a fast reader. There are short stories (30 pages or less) and novels (300+ pages) but there aren’t many short works available that are long enough to provide a complex plot and interesting characters and yet short enough to be read in two or three days. These are not intended to be deep, thought-provoking stories. They are fast-paced with lots of plot twists and surprises. Pure escapism.

All of the books will be 75-100 pages long, depending on the ebook format. There will be recurring characters and subplots that will carry over from book to book. I plan to sell them individually as ebooks, and hope to publish collections of 3 or 4 in print. The ebooks will be available in the various formats required by the most common ebook readers.

The first book, Bearing False Witness, is now available for the Kindle at Amazon.com. I hope you’ll read it and come back to this site and post your comments.

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Mysteries Worth Investigating

Welcome to my blog. My name is Merrill Heath and I’ve been writing fiction since I was in junior high school (which is more years than I care to reveal). While in high school and college I won a few awards for short stories. But there was such a limited market for short stories at the time that I never submitted any for publication. After college I began working, sporadically, on a couple of novels; however, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I dedicated myself to completing a novel and making a concerted effort to get it published. That novel is Consequences.

My latest project is a series of short novels about a private detective, Alec Stover. These will be published individually as ebooks, with the plan to publish collections of 3 or 4 in print format. If you live in, or are familiar with, Birmingham, Alabama, then I think you’ll find these fun and entertaining. There will be lots of references to local landmarks and popular events, as well as lots of plot twists and surprises.

The first book in the series is Bearing False Witness.

I hope you’ll read the info on my novels and provide your comments and feedback.

If you are an author you might enjoy my blog On Writing.  This features a series of articles on writing including tips, techniques, and suggestions.

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