Missing Persons and Mysterious Objects
Local author Dennis Hetzel’s new novel, Azalea Bluff, is science-fiction thriller set in a fictional Brunswick County town.
Author Dennis Hetzel, a Holden Beach resident and a contributor to South Brunswick Magazine and North Brunswick Magazine, has a new novel coming out in August. Azalea Bluff is his third book published by Headline Books.
A thriller with science-fiction twists, Azalea Bluff explores the mysteries surrounding the disappearance of struggling young journalist Olivia Claven, who is investigating the crash of an object on her high-school football field. The answers, driven by her father’s relentless and dangerous search for clues, might tie to secret research by Nazi scientists during World War II and documented UFO episodes into the 1960s. The novel has a timely release, as mysteries surrounding UFOs are currently in the public eye.
The novel is a departure from author Dennis Hetzel’s two earlier efforts for Headline Books, Killing the Curse and Season of Lies, which focused on the intersections of sports and politics.
A Chicago native, Hetzel has been a reporter, editor, publisher, journalism professor and executive director of the Ohio News Media Association, where his lobbying on First Amendment issues gained national recognition. In Holden Beach he is a media consultant, freelance journalist and author and plays bass guitar for MoSun, an Americana rock band.
The story foundation for Azalea Bluff comes from an audio story produced by the late Ed Galloway, a Charlotte-based radio personality who wanted to salute old-time radio dramas and also explore his long-time hobby passion regarding UFOs and related phenomena.
“I met Ed at an event in Charlotte a few years ago,” Hetzel says, “and he told me he wanted an author who could turn his short story into a full-blown novel.”
Hetzel says he’d always loved science fiction, but was skeptical when Ed told him that many of the incidents in the book are actually well documented.
“As I did my own research to flesh out Ed’s story,” Hetzel says, “I became a believer that there are a lot of questions that need answering based on what is already public knowledge.”
In the book, Azalea Bluff is a fictional beach town in real-world Brunswick County. The story opens as Olivia Claven is trying to rebuild her life after numerous setbacks, including the loss of several media jobs and the death of her fiancé in a mysterious crash. She’s running a local news website that also is in danger of failing, and she has been forced to move back in with her parents to deal with student loans and other debts.
“This is an unfortunate truth for a lot of millennials, not only in journalism, where I spent much of my career,” Hetzel says. “Through various drafts, I worked with a lot of talented women to make sure Olivia is an authentic, interesting character, and I think readers will appreciate getting to know her. And I’m especially proud that the book honors Ed Galloway’s legacy.”
Want to read it?
Published by Headline Books, Terra Alta WV, headlinebooks.com
244 pages | ISBN 13:9781951556365
Azalea Bluff is available for pre-order at Amazon.com and will be available from local book sellers, Amazon and other outlets starting July 13, 2021. Formats include trade paperback, e-book and audio versions. Signed copies and bulk orders are available by contacting the publisher directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or Hetzel at email@example.com and dennishetzel.com.