June 12, 2013 9:53:35 AM
Drug deals gone bad, harrowing gun fights and shadowy undercover work are part and parcel of Tupelo native Merle Temple's complex past. The experiences inspired and informed his debut novel, "Ghostly Shade of Pale." (Bethel Road Publications), The former Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics captain-turned-writer will attend a book signing in Columbus Thursday at Reed's in Jackson Square from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
In the novel, Temple brings together elements of a Southern Gothic nightmare that pit Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics captain Michael Parker against a tormentor who leaves a trail of bodies across the South. A chain of events unfolds that leads Parker to become an unlikely player in a game of international intrigue.
The book took two to three years to write, said Temple, who holds a master's degree in criminal justice from the University of Mississippi.
While many say the hardest thing about writing is getting started on that first word or paragraph, for Temple it was willingness to go back in time "and embrace the pain, to dig up bones and let them produce the emotion that is very hard to fake or simulate."
Temple has worn many hats -- police captain, security specialist, board chairman, fund raiser, political operative and, currently, evangelist. He was a graduate of the DEA Academy in Washington during the early days of President Nixon's first drug wars, was held hostage while undercover and served as an internal affairs investigator into a plan to corrupt the MBN itself. His career holds more than enough to inspire not only the debut novel but also its sequel, which he is currently working on.
Jim Clemente of the TV show "Criminal Minds" said, "'Ghostly' is a crime story as literature. Merle Temple is a great storyteller, writing to all of your senses. He weaves a story so detailed and complex that the reader is immersed in the feeling of absolutely reality."
Temple lives with his wife, Judy Bates Temple, near Tupelo.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.