Sandy Mason is an avid sailor who loves to travel. After this former Long Island software engineer retired, he decided to reinvent himself as a novelist and has drawn on his two passions to pen the Johnny Donohue Adventures – a series of novels that take readers on page-turning voyages sure to thrill mystery buffs.
Mason moved to Florida 20 years ago because of a job transfer. He spent some time commuting between St. Petersburg and Washington, DC before deciding to retire and take up writing. “I was always interested in writing,” he says. “I secretly wrote short stories for years, but I never showed them to anybody. And I always loved books and literature, so I thought I’d try my hand at it.”
His first novel, “Storm Damage,” introduced Johnny Donohue, a man who leaves the high tech corporate world to move to the west coast of Florida. Mason admits that he has a lot in common with his signature character.
“Growing up, I always wanted to be a detective,” he says. “Now I can be.” But
he is quick to point out that Johnny can do things he’d never be able to do. For
example, in “Storm Damage,” Johnny is drawn into investigating the death of his best friend’s wife in a mystery that takes him from New York’s Westhampton Beach to the Florida coast.
The next book in the series, “Man Overboard,” has Johnny following a trail of money laundering, stolen boats, drug smuggling and kidnapping to find an experienced sailor who is missing at sea. In “Sailor Take Warning,” the third Johnny Donohue Adventure, Johnny enlists the help of his friend and former police officer, Lonnie Turner, to investigate the murder of a St. Petersburg tour boat captain that leads them into the seamy world of Tampa’s strip clubs.
While his first three novels were straight mysteries, Mason decided to try “something a bit deeper” in book four. “Since I’ve always been interested in history, I decided to include a historical element in the story,” he explains. The result was “Havana Moon,” novel based on his grandfather’s expe- riences in the Spanish American War. The story has Johnny trying to untangle clues leading to the death of a local marine electronics expert after discovering a war artifact that has interna- tional consequences.
Mason continued the history-mystery connection in his next two novels. In “Silver Voyage,” the death of William Haggerty, a family friend, sends Johnny digging into the story of Alan Turing, the British mathematician who deciphered the German Enigma Machine in WWII. “William lived in my neighborhood in New York,” Mason says. “He assisted Turing in tracking down the Nazi codes and developed the trigger mechanism for the atomic bomb. I’m still friends with his daughter.”
Mason’s latest release, “Cuban Exile,” has Johnny and Lonnie sailing to Cuba to deliver a sailboat to Doctors Without Borders. When Johnny becomes a suspect in the murder of a Russian physician, his efforts to prove his innocence lead him back to the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vasili Alexandrovich Arkhipov, the Russian
naval officer who may have saved the world from nuclear annihilation. “JFK was my boyhood hero,” Mason says. “I followed his administration closely and wanted to write about him. Some people have bad impressions of him, but he kept us out of war.”
Mason is putting the finishing touches on his next novel, “Global Position,” (scheduled for release in 2018.) Johnnie will be trying to stop the Russian mob from extorting money from St. Petersburg businesses. “The thing I enjoy most about writing is the sense of accomplishment when I’ve gotten an idea on paper and know someone else will look at it,” Mason says. He hopes readers will enjoy watching his characters evolve and become better people as they sail into more intricate crimes.
For more information, visit the author’s Amazon author page at amazon.com/author/sandymason or his website at www.sandymason.com