Local author Anne Barton has a new novel coming out, and a new pen name to go with a change in style.
Barton is still writing mysteries, but her new novel, Living with Death, departs from her previous books’ use of amateur sleuths. Instead, writing under the pen name Carolyn Dale, Barton is exploring the police procedural genre with a pair of detectives.
“The plot I had in mind didn’t fit with my other series,” said Barton, who previously wrote about the adventures of pilot Robin Carruthers and veterinarian Dr. Erica Merrill.
Barton decided to come up with a new pen name after discovering a romance writer also named Anne Barton.
“Somewhere down in the list of her books, they will mention mine and it looks like she has written some mystery novels,” said Barton. “It took me quite a while to find one (a pen name) that wouldn’t have too many conflicts. The only other Carolyn Dales are not writers, so I decided on that.”
Barton isn’t abandoning the veterinarian and pilot series altogether, though she is putting them aside for now.
“I think they have run their course, unless I come up with a really good plot that fits either one of them,” she said . “I think I would like to go on with these two detectives I created in this book.”
Detectives Rankin and Kalinski are tasked with investigating the murder of a young woman who was out for revenge on the people who approved euthanasia for her stepbrother.
To the surprise of the detectives, people they talked to were more interested in the euthanasia of the stepbrother than in the identity of the murderer.
“The background story is a story of the pros and cons of euthanasia,” said Barton. One twist that Barton explores is the idea that in the case of someone euthanized after being in a coma from injuries sustained in an accident, police would not be able to charge the perpetrator with manslaughter or murder.
“He didn’t actually die from his injuries,” said Barton.
In Living with Death, problems that are seldom talked about are explored, and ethical questions are posed. Barton, a retired veterinarian, has written herself into the book as the love interest of one of the detectives. She is asked the difference between putting down a pet dog and a human.
“It is stuff that I have thought about over a number of years,” said Barton.
Living With Death, by Carolyn Dale will be launched at Hooked on Books in Penticton on July 14 at 6:30 p.m. There will be readings, book signings and sales. Refreshments will be served.