Roger Blakely is an Army officer in his late-40s, stationed in Arlington Heights, living with his cat, and training soldiers in the final weeks before they ship out overseas.
And he's written a thriller novel about an Arlington Heights Army retiree who lives with his cat and ends up dealing with a planned terrorist attack here in the suburbs.
The book is "Chief;" it's self-published and available only as an e-book. Blakely said he's drawn on his experiences over a 31-year career in the military to craft the story.
"In the Army, you meet all kinds of people from interesting backgrounds," he said.
Blakely is careful to say that he and the novel's protagonist aren't the same guy, even though they are both chief warrant officers.
"His life's more glamorized," he said.
The book's main character ends up drawn into coping with a terrorist threat at, of all places, Woodfield Shopping Center.
"This guy's no Superman," said Blakely, who is originally from Ohio. "He just wants a nice, quiet retirement."
It was easier to conceive a character, Blakely says, whose life shared some of the author's same details.
The suburbs show up throughout the book, perhaps in less dramatic fashion than Woodfield. The main character shops at Mariano's Fresh Market in Arlington Heights, for example.
Blakely wrote the book after his colleagues in the Army encouraged him. He wrote it in five months, in the hours after work. He's already working on a sequel.
Blakely has been based in Arlington Heights since 2008, and has served stints in Iraq, Germany and throughout the United States as well.
Previously, he wrote "The Night of the Plesiosaurs," a book intended for young people that he had been working on for more than a decade. Both that book and "Chief" are available on amazon.com.
Blakely said writing is a hobby. He's not necessarily in it to make big money. Of his sales so far, he says: "Not exactly James Patterson."
Still, he appreciates kind reviews online from friends, who have read the book and have good things to say.
"It's really gratifying," Blakely said.