Milwaukee Author Publishes Crime Novel With Local Inspiration
Some people embark on a life of crime, some on a life of crime writing. Milwaukee writer Jon Kolb took up the latter years ago when inspired by the bizarre crossbow assassination of the owner of Van Trier’s restaurant on the east side of Milwaukee. “I was in a writing group at the time,” Kolb explains, “and we challenged each other to try and capture that strange, tragic event in a novel. I finished a draft and then went on to write a follow-up story that eventually became the basis for my crime book, The Summer of Rain: Odyssey of a Young PI.
The Summer of Rain follows the adventures of a young private investigator as he battles drug dealers, paid assassins, corrupt politicians and cynical funeral directors. Solving a crime, staying alive and returning often to his parents for moral compass in a confusing world, young Bobby Broyles lives by his wits, but just barely. While his own life was lived far from the corruption and crime he depicts in his book, Kolb does have memories of Milwaukee’s darker past. “I remember going out for dinner with my parents years ago at Snugs’ restaurant in the Shorecrest Hotel,” Kolb recalls. “My Dad pointed out Frank Balistrieri’s table with the fateful phone that was tapped by the FBI and eventually provided evidence against him. Maybe somewhere in my subconscious memory that scene fueled a later interest in crime fiction.”
The Summer of Rain is not set in Milwaukee, but the small town where its young detective tries to solve a crime and still maintain a normal life with his parents and old friends, shares the growing pains faced by all cities today. “Whether it’s Milwaukee or Marinette, the challenge of a young man growing up and finding his way in a changing world that includes drugs and corruption is part of contemporary life. That’s the battle my hero faces as he tries to unlock a mystery and, eventually, to protect his parents from violence,” Kolb says. The Summer of Rain has been described by the editor of a large publishing house as having “a crisp, aware feel to it that caught me as a reader and held me throughout.”
The book is available at Boswell Books in Milwaukee or on-line through its printer, BookLocker.com, as well as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and in e-format on Kobo. The author of The Summer of Rain is a published short story writer and the author of three plays that have been performed in his home town. He resides in Whitefish Bay with his wife and near their three daughters and three grandchildren. He is a graduate of the school of Journalism at UWM and holds a degree in American History from the University of Iowa.