R.E. Donald

author of the Hunter Rayne Highway Mysteries series


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Real Truck Driver Heroes

My mystery series features a truck driver hero. Hunter Rayne is a former police officer who left the police force and bought himself a big rig. In the series, he travels the highways of western North America in a navy blue Freightliner that his boss likes to call The Blue Knight. Whether he wants to or not, he still gets involved in investigating murders and, like the Mountie he used to be, he always gets his man.

But Hunter Rayne is a fictional hero, and the men featured in the following two stories from Truckers Report this week are the real thing. One of the men, Robert Tyler from Washington State, used his head and his truck to possibly save more than one man’s life when he encountered an unconscious man in a vehicle that could have careened into traffic at any second. Read the full story from Overdrive Magazine here.

In the second story this week, a driver trainee and the driver who was training him (Harry Welker) were in the right place at the right time. A state trooper in Kansas had pulled over a van at a rest stop. In the van was a man wanted for parole violations. He was somehow able to overpower the trooper, and had him in a chokehold. The two drivers, Harry Welker and the trainee, are both former marines and didn’t hesitate to run to the trooper’s aid, helping to subdue the offender so he could be taken into custody. Read the full story, titled Driver Trainer, Trainee Rescue State Trooper on the Truckers Report.

Truckload Carriers Association Highway Angel

Truckload Carriers Association Highway Angels Program

There are ‘bad apples’ in every profession and trucking is no exception; often it’s the bad examples whose stories get passed along. The truth is, the vast majority of truck drivers are hard-working individuals who care about their fellow motorists and deserve our respect and admiration. The two examples of truckers helping out cited above are just the most recent. The Overdrive website has many stories of such heroic actions in their feature Knights of the Road, and the Truckload Carriers Association honors these Highway Angels on an ongoing basis.

Country artist Lindsay Lawler explains the program and introduces her song about Highway Angels on YouTube.

 

Next time you pass a big rig on the highway, you might just be passing a Highway Angel.


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Murder mystery set on the “Highway Thru Hell”

Massive, magnificent, and dangerous.  Many of us who regularly travel the Coquihalla highway can remember the year it opened, and the first time we drove those long, steep climbs and descents through the Coast Mountains.  Our first views from near the summit were breathtaking.  As long as you had a good vehicle and the weather was fair, it was a faster and easier trip from the town of Hope to BC’s Interior than the narrow and winding Fraser Canyon route of Highway 1.  It was a magnificent addition to BC’s highway system just in time for Vancouver’s Expo ’86.  (You might enjoy this video from the Vancouver Archives about the construction of the Coquihalla.)

It’s no wonder that when I began to plan my first novel in 1994, I chose to have the murder take place along what Discovery channel is now calling the “Highway Thru Hell” in their new reality series.  In my frequent trips up the highway that summer with my late husband, I picked out a spot where an 18-wheeler could go off the road and not be seen for days at a time.  It also had to be a spot where an accident was not likely to happen.  When I found a perfect spot, not very far south of Merritt, SLOW CURVE ON THE COQUIHALLA was born.

In the intervening years, the layout along that stretch of highway has changed, but the highway itself remains dangerous and spectacular.  I drove it again just last month, and like every time, I marvel at the magnificent snowshed and at the incredible rocky slopes of Zopkios peak.

Zopkios Ridge from the Coquihalla highway

If you like to read, especially if you like to read mystery novels, check out the first novel in the Hunter Rayne highway mystery series.  Hunter Rayne is a former homicide detective who has chosen to make long haul trucking his second career.  He feels that the solitude of life on the road will help him to heal from two events that devastated his personal life before he resigned from the RCMP.  His crusty dispatcher, Elspeth Watson, tries to keep Hunter and his navy blue Freightliner busy, and sometimes persuades him to get involved in murder investigations.

For the month of October 2013, there is a promotion on the digital edition of Slow Curve on the Coquihalla to introduce the Highway Mysteries to new readers, so check your favorite ebook retailer to download a copy anywhere from $0.99 to free.  Links to where you can purchase both digital and print editions of the Hunter Rayne highway mysteries are at Proud Horse Publishing, or ask your local bookstore or library to order it by giving them the ISBN 978-0-9881118-06.


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Elvis Presley was a truck driver. Some truckers rock!

The new mystery series – the Hunter Rayne highway mysteries – features a long-haul truck driver as the ‘semi-professional’ detective.  Thanks to recent reader Steve for the following comment:

Never thought I would enjoy a truck driver based mystery, but I sure did.

I wasn’t surprised.  When I chose to write about a trucker, I knew that some readers would hesitate to pick up a book featuring a truck driver.  Why would that be?  Seems there’s a perception out there, especially among women, that a book with trucks in it must be a book for boys.  What!?

Hey!  Truckers are real people, too.  Truckers can be men or women, young or old, with interesting lives, interesting loves, strong emotions, and fascinating hobbies.  Truck drivers can be talented, attractive (wasn’t Elvis?), complicated people.  Some truck drivers of today are a lot like the cowboys of yesteryear – hard working, solitary individuals with interesting pasts and complex relationships, which can add up to a touch of romance.

Elvis Presley drove a truck before he became famous.  You might be interested to know that several other famous people were truck drivers at some point early in their careers.  Take for instance, Liam Neeson, the actor.  A hunk, or what?  And Chevy Chase, a very funny man.  For those of us who were around to appreciate their best  years, how about Charles Bronson and Sean Connery?  And Richard Pryor.  And Rock Hudson.  Who wouldn’t want to read about truck drivers like those guys?

But famous truck drivers weren’t all actors and singers.  How’s this for murder mystery fans?  Another man who drove a truck before he came famous was Peter Sutcliffe.  Who was he, you ask.  Peter Sutcliffe was – mwah-hah-hah – the Yorkshire Ripper.

Another reader recently commented:

 … the whole time I was reading this book I thought R.E. Donald was male. For a guy, he did an excellent job of getting the female characters right. The introspectives and actions of all characters give readers a full understanding of their motives. That was unexpected from a male author in a mystery involving truck drivers.  I’m sorry, Ruth E. Donald, for presuming you were a man. It’s a compliment to you that I read the book with such interest that I didn’t read “about the author” first.

Thank you, Goodreads readers Steve and Ginney, for the compliments.  They were reading my first Hunter Rayne highway mystery Slow Curve on the Coquihalla.  Another Goodreads reader, Pat, had this to say about the second novel Ice on the Grapevine (ahem!  a finalist for the 2012 Global Ebook Award for Mysteries) :

The plot and situations were intriguing, and kept me guessing to the end. I found the characters very believable, especially the women. There even were traces of humor and romance. I’m curious to see how Hunter and the other characters develop as the series progresses…. R.E. Donald is definitely an author to revisit.

Thank you, Pat.  Comments like yours keep me happily writing more.  It’s nice to know that more readers are discovering that a truck driver can make an intriguing hero.

So please keep in mind, mystery lovers, you can’t always judge a book by its cover.  Take a closer look at the person behind the wheel next time you pass a big rig on the highway.  He – or she – might just be famous one day.

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Note:  Both novels are currently featured as Giveaways on Goodreads.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Slow Curve on the Coquihalla by R.E. Donald

Slow Curve on the Coquihalla

by R.E. Donald

Giveaway ends August 31, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Ice on the Grapevine by R.E. Donald

Ice on the Grapevine

by R.E. Donald

Giveaway ends September 15, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win