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Cal Murphy Books In Order

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Publication Order of Cal Murphy Books

The name ‘Cal Murphy’ refers to a series of mystery/suspense novels written by Jack Patterson. The books follow the exploits of a reporter who keeps stumbling into trouble.

+The Story

Cal Murphy is an unhappy man. When he is introduced in ‘Dead Shot’, Cal is a reporter working for a weekly newspaper. While journalism has always been in his blood, working in rural Idaho for a paper most people have never heard of is hardly fulfilling.

Cal Murphy used to dream big. He thought he would go to the big city and make a name chasing big stories, revealing national scandals and ultimately earning himself a Pulitzer Prize.

However, none of that has happened and he has had to settle for a less than stellar life. The only bright side of Cal’s life is the time he spends with Kelly Mendoza, an ex-Mormon, and photographer.

Cal’s life changes when three athletes from a local high school die in quick succession. Cal knows there’s more going on than meets the eye, and his journalistic instincts will not allow him to let the story slide.

His attempts at probing the situation bring Cal Murphy face to face with a whole host of trouble, and he has little choice but to follow the trail of the murder case to its destined end if he wants to escape with his life.

The Cal Murphy series is essentially a rollercoaster ride of mysteries and murders that Cal Murphy keeps stumbling into. Because Cal is primarily a sports reporter, most of the cases in this series revolve around sports.

Cal is normally sent to cover a sporting event or interview an athlete. It is there that he stumbles into trouble. Sometimes as sporting personality ends up dead and Cal determines that it is his purview as a sportswriter to get to the truth.

Other times he overhears something, or someone comes to him looking for help. The more investigating Cal Murphy does, the more trouble he keeps encountering. It isn’t long before law enforcement catches wind of his successful attempts at solving crimes, at which point they start taking advantage of his resources to probe the sports arena in the event of a crime.

Cal is joined on his crusade to find great stories and catch killers by Kelly Mendoza. Cal and Kelly are colleagues at the start. However, it quickly becomes obvious that Kelly is Cal’s love interest.

Their relationship develops over the run of the Cal Murphy series. Kelly is typically just as involved in the mysteries and murders at play as Cal.

The Cal Murphy books are often praised for their simple but entertaining storytelling. Jack Patterson, the author, has said on numerous occasions that he is not out to produce life-changing crime dramas.

Rather, Patterson writes the Cal Murphy series with the intention of simply telling a good story. And many of his fans seem to believe that he succeeds.

The few detractors he has garnered have complained that many of the scenarios the author presents are a little too ridiculous to be believable. These detractors often cite the times that the FBI calls upon Cal Murphy for help as one of the more ridiculous aspects of the story.

Even though the Cal Murphy books follow the exploits of a sportswriter who investigates sports-related crimes, an understanding of the field of sports is not required to enjoy the stories Jack Patterson tells

+The Author

Jack Patterson has loved sports for as long as he can remember. That is all he ever wrote about. And, growing up in South Carolina, the idea of a career spent watching sports and writing about it excited him.

Patterson was certain that a career as a sportswriter would make him happy. He got to practice for it when his town’s newspaper hired him to write about his community’s baseball activities.

In college, Patterson studied journalism, got his certification and began living the dream as a sports editor in South Georgia where he was shocked to learn just how enthusiastic people in rural America were about their sports.

The Cal Murphy series can be traced back to the work Patterson did to uncover the scandal behind a prominent Southern football team’s NCAA violation. Patterson did not realize just how serious sporting matters could get until he began probing the story which included the suicide of a coach.

It was then that the author began to understand just how dramatic the sports world could be. He realized that, with the right protagonists, there were plenty of mysteries that could be mined from that world and revealed to readers as fiction.

And so Patterson created Cal Murphy and Kelly Mendoza, sports journalists with a passion for solving mysteries.

+Dead Line

Noah Larson is a veteran Pro quarterback that has earned all the respect he enjoys. And Larson is looking forward to leading his team to the super bowl. Or rather he should have been until his son was kidnapped.

The perpetrators in question do not want money. Instead, they wish to see Larson lose one of the biggest games of his career. If Larson does not comply, his six-year-old will die. Fortunately for Larson, sportswriter Cal Murphy and photographer Kelly Mendoza are on the case. And they are determined to help the FBI anyway they can to bring Larson’s son back home.

The second book in the Cal Murphy series kicks off with Cal learning about the kidnapping of Noah Larson’s son. Once he confirms the validity of the information, he informs the FBI. He also insists on participating in the resulting sting operation.

+Dead in the Water

When an exciting high school football recruit from the small town of Saint-Parran dies mysteriously, Cal Murphy goes in to investigate. Travelling deep into the Louisiana Bayou, Cal uncovers the ruthless underbelly of college football.

At the center of the mystery are two football programs whose boosters are fighting for the services of a local recruit. Cal must discover the truth and reveal it to the world, not only for the sake of the victim but also reinvigorate his career and, hopefully, put things with his marriage right.

The fourth book in the Cal Murphy series finds reporter Cal Murphy looking into the murder of a college football recruit. It seems like the victim in question saw something he shouldn’t have and that cost him his life.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Cal Murphy

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