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Milt Mays and THE GUIDE

 

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This book has a lot of my heart in it. Okay, not the serial killing doctor character, Roman, though he makes some good points. Roman embodies a lot of those evil doctor thoughts we physicians get after a bad day and one too many HMO administrators. Yet he goes way beyond thoughts. And the other doctor, Roman’s new partner, Jake, is the idealistic humanitarian opposite of Roman, what all doctors strive to be. And he gets the brunt of Roman’s wrath: cancer and the threat of killing his daughter, or worse. How do you give someone cancer? That’s a good trick.

Jake tries to fend off Roman by going on a backcountry fly fishing trip, something he’s always wanted to do, and now will be the last thing he does to save his daughter and to save himself. It takes place in Rocky Mountain National Park, a place dear to me, where I have guided, camped, and hiked with clients, friends and family. Enter unsuspecting Stony, the guide, finally recovered from Vietnam-induced PTSD and addictions. And what saved him? The wilderness, fly fishing, and a woman in Alaska who loved wolves. Stony, in many ways is a lone wolf who has reintegrated, yet has dangerous traits that are a match for Roman. But if he is forced to go back to killing like he did in Vietnam, Stony knows he may never come back to the real world. So, when he finds out Jake is being stalked by Roman, things start unraveling.

There are days in my work as a doctor for the Veterans Administration that I literally cry and have to compose myself after seeing what war has done to a patient before I can go to the next patient. And as a fly fishing guide I experienced those clients doing a trip as part of a lifelong wish, lying about their health so they can do this one last thing. These experiences drew the character of Stony and the situation he was put in with Jake. Only his was much worse with a serial killer to fend off, trying to save Jake and to prevent the serial killer from coming after Stony’s new love, someone very close to Jake.

I had never been on a real backcountry trip in a small tent before I wrote The Guide. I grew up in Colorado so I’d camped a lot, but closer to people. I’d never been to Alaska either. So, I did both to give the book a real life flavor. I hiked up the same trail Stony did, and camped and fished at 11,500 feet with my son. Then I went on a wilderness trip to Alaska, floating down thirty-five miles of a remote river with two buddies, seeing only one person for seven days. (Maybe if my buddies knew I’d written a book about a serial killing doctor, they might not have invited me!) I also used prior Yellowstone trips camping with my wife and blond Lab. We watched wolves and grizzlies and other animals in the Lamar River valley, some call the Serengeti of the US. I’d do that in the early morning and evening and fly fish in between.

The Guide also has a bit of CIA-type assassins and near future medicine fantasy in it, probably because I cut my teeth on those genres and I was stationed at a few security bases in Scotland in the Navy, and have known Seals, NSA, FBI and CIA patients and friends.

So, it was a fun book for me to write, and is based on facts that may seem fantastic, but are not only quite possible, but probably have already happened. It’s the same with my first book, Dan’s War, a thriller about how an OPEC member decides to end global warming by destroying world oil, and doing it in two weeks so we have to go green.

The sequel to The Guide is still in the hatching stage. First I’d like to publish the completed prequel and sequel to Dan’s War. The prequel, The Next Day, concerns post-9/11 bio-warfare and terrorism that almost destroyed the US, and gained mutant changelings. The sequel, Realfood, is a post-apocalyptic novel that ties in The Next Day and Dan’s War, showing how GMO foods can destroy the world, or save it.     

Milt Mays

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After a disturbing experience serving in the military in Vietnam, Stony strives to overcome addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Emotionally scarred and trying to move on, Stony finds solace in fly fishing, Alaska’s vast wilderness and a woman, who he promises on her deathbed that he’ll always help people and never kill another man. But when Stony takes a new fly fishing client, Jake, deep into Rocky Mountain National Park, his vow is put to the test. A conniving doctor is out to get Jake, and it’s up to Stony to do anything it takes to protect him. 

 

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Much like the protagonist in his book, “The Guide,” author Milt Mays lives for the great outdoors. He grew up in Colorado and spent most of his adult life as a Navy doctor, caring for those at the forefront of many conflicts, including Vietnam.

Milt MaysMilt graduated from the Naval Academy and Creighton Medical School. His medical career included tours with the Marines, a Navy security
group in Scotland and now at the Veteran’s Hospital in Cheyenne, Wyo. He has been a fly fishing guide in Rocky Mountain National Park
and continues to ply those waters with a long stick and pieces of fur and feather.

His techno-thriller Dan’s War (2011, Telemachus Press) was a finalist at the 2009 Pikes Peak Writers contest. He has also written short stories, including “Thanksgiving with Riley” (Copaiba Press) and “The Dry-Land Farmer” (The Northwind Magazine). He is the author behind “Take the F…ing Fly,” an illustrated poem on the wisdoms and frustrations of fly fishing.

A new edition of his latest book, “The Guide,” comes out June 5, 2014. The book won first place at the 2011 Pikes Peak Writers contest.

Milt is married in Fort Collins, Colo., with three children and a grandson who will soon be learning the joys of flinging a fly.

 

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