The Compleat Kepler: What Next?

cover-smallerAnd so we have reached the end, 13 tales of crime from America’s North Coast. In them, Nick Kepler has taken down an unstable cop threatening two of his fellow officers, made a couple of domestic abusers disappear, solved a decade old murder, nabbed a sexual predator, watched the events of 9/11 while chasing a fugitive in an airport, and even disarmed a gun-wielding maniac in the nude. To say Nick Kepler leads an interesting life is an understatement.

The events in this collection start in 1999 and end a month after those in Northcoast Shakedown, set in the summer of 2002. So what’s next?

Well, Second Hand Goods, the follow-up to Northcoast, takes place about eleven months afterward. So you have that to read until the next Keplers appear. What are those?

For starters, there is a short story called “Gypsy’s Kiss,” a sort of sequel to “Roofies.” In it Gypsy informs Nick that she is finally getting out of the sex trade. And she wants Nick to be her final client.

Then there is Bad Religion. Nick is hired by a mega-church to find out where all the money’s going. One of the people getting ripped off is a known Russian mobster. And he’s not even one of the crooks involved.

Beyond that, I haven’t decided. I have a story outlined call Suicide Solution, wherein a friend of Nick’s commits suicide after betting his and his wife’s retirement money on a shady deal to redevelop an abandoned amusement park. But will it be a Kepler story? I originally started on this in 2005, when it looked like Second Hand Goods would hit bookstores the following spring. I had the entire Kepler series mapped out, and I figured Nick would be only a couple years behind the calendar when each book debuted. Oh, if I only knew!

One of the reasons I’m rethinking this is that Nick is fixed to the calendar. That might not be important to you, but the author needs to be able to undo something like that before he or she writes. So Suicide Solution would have to take place in May of 2005 if I kept up Nick’s established timeline. I really never liked the “ageless” character. I can’t see Nick being 35 in 2003 and 36 in 2013.

I can, however, see another character taking over. And the setting for this one offers new story ideas as well. We’ll see. For now, know that there are two Keplers in the pipeline. Coming soon.