Bounty of books by North Shore writers

The North Shore apparently is an incubator for writing talent, from the mature to the youthful author.

Here are some local writers making a splash with their new releases:

• Though he worked in venture capital and private equity, Bob Underwood earned a doctorate in engineering from Stanford. His grandfather engineered dams.

That background and additional experience with renewable energy led the Winnetka resident to write "Dam it! Electrifying America and Taming Her Waterways" (Coloma Press).

Bolstered by 165 photos of subjects such as the Niagara Falls Power Station, Underwood writes about how dams restructured the American landscape, powered the country and symbolized America's resourcefulness. He includes people who helped engineer the electrification of the country such as Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse.

• Kathleen Anne Fleming, a Wheaton resident with a background in the North Shore, including leading writing workshops at the Northbrook Public Library, in May published her sixth historical mystery novel, "A Menacing Luster."

The 444-page book focuses on the travels of Fleming's heroine, Colette Browning, in 1927 Chicago. She visits a time when the discovery of radium attracts women to work in factories where the luminous substance was used to paint the faces of watches - "only to have their light extinguished."

• It's been some time now, but retired Glenview police officer John Good wrote a 490-page police procedural, "Blood on the Badge" (Outskirts Press).

Drawing on 41 years of law enforcement experience with two departments when he retired from Glenview in February 2020, Good delivers "the internal workings of a modern-day police department," as one Amazon reviewer tells it. Also described as a crime thriller.

• Ben Leon of Glenview just graduated from Springman Middle School. He's 14 years old. Yet in May, he self-published a novel of more than 400 pages, "Mason Gray & The Orb of Olamitus."

He actually wrote it between the ages of 11 and 13, and won a Daughters of the American Revolution Writing Award in 2021.

His hero, Mason Gray, is a brilliant scientist who jets to the planet of Olamitus only to find an evil adversary intent on destroying Earth. Mason must team with fellow humans, an alien tribe and bionic children to - hopefully - save the day.

• Another youngster, Andrew Cohen of Deerfield, started writing chapter books when he was in the fourth grade. A couple years later he submitted his latest manuscript to publishers - and landed a book deal with an affiliate of Post Hill Press.

At 256 pages, "The Murder Mystery Race" (Permuted Press) will be released July 25. The next day, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. July 26, Cohen will discuss his young adult thriller at a launch party and signing at The Book Stall, 811 Elm St., Winnetka.

In the book, a New Jersey town is plunged into horror when a serial killer known as the Knife Thrower begins his handiwork. Cohen's 11-year-old hero, Andrew, and 15 other adolescents are chosen to participate in the annual Murder Mystery Race aboard a cruise ship on which the Knife Thrower is a passenger. The first to capture the murderer wins $1 million. Thrills and intrigue ensue.

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