LUMBERTON — Robeson County residents might enjoy a book written by a former employee of The Robesonian.
Mark Phialas’ thriller-mystery “Who Killed 20G?” will hit a lot of local notes, as its venues will be familiar, and the book’s main character is a big fan of the sports teams of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where Phialas went to school.
“Trent is a great guy in spite of himself,” said Phialas, who worked at The Robesonian in the late-1970s as a sports writer. “He loves Carolina basketball, seven-card stud, golf, single malt scotch, and doing things his way on his time. Trent would much rather play golf and poker than work. I can’t blame him.”
The story takes the main character on a journey of revenge and a little bit of redemption, according to Phialas. After losing his money to a golf hustler in Florida, Trent goes to his friends’ house in the gated golf community Tranquility, located just south of Myrtle Beach. That night, he gets into a drunken brawl with a renowned college basketball coach, called 20G, who later is killed.
Trent is on the suspect list for the murder and the next night, moments after the Tar Heels advance to the Elite 8 in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, Trent finds out his friend who owns the Tranquility house has been killed in New York City.
“I’ve had a number of people say they read the entire book in a day,” he said. “That’s what you want to hear. That the story captivated to the extent that someone wouldn’t put it down.”
Phialas hopes to make this the first in a series of novels about Trent Jones, and he is working on his second book, “Who Killed Foghorn Feeney?”
“I want to write a series about North Carolina, the state as well as the athletic teams,” Phialas said. “Trent Jones, like me, loves the Tar Heels, and I think if you’re a Carolina fan, you’re going to like Trent Jones. If you play or like golf, poker, travel, music, you’ll have more reasons. My intention is to use locations that actually exist, and if needed, tweak them a bit for fiction purposes.”
The 231-page book is sold on Amazon.com.