Larry D. Thompson is the author of White Witch.
Jamaica is a place where the surreal is simply everyday reality. When a ruthless American aluminum company plans to strip mine the Jamaican rainforest, they send former Navy SEAL Will Taylor to Montego Bay to deal with local resistance on their behalf. But he’s unaware that the British had signed a treaty deeding the rainforest to the Jamaican Maroons, descendants of escaped slaves, over 300 years ago. The Maroons fought and died for their land then, and are more than willing to do so now, whether it’s the British or the Americans who threaten them this time around.
Upon Will’s arrival, a series of inexplicable murders begin, some carried out with deadly snake daggers that were owned and used by Annie Palmer, a voodoo priestess better known as the White Witch. She was killed 200 years prior, but is said to still haunt the island at night, and the local Jamaicans are certain she’s responsible for the gruesome murders, her form of retaliation against the new turmoil taking place in the rainforest.
And Will has been forced directly into the middle of it. After a few close calls, he’s finally convinced to leave his company and join forces with the Maroons, headed by Vertise Broderick, a Maroon who resigned from her position at the New York Times to return to Jamaica to stop the mining. Together they hire a Jamaican attorney to prove that the Maroon/British treaty is still valid to stop the mining, and they take it upon themselves to solve the White Witch murders, because the legend of the White Witch can’t possibly be true…
Read on for an interview with Larry.
Q. How did you get started writing thrillers?
A. It started when I was about seven and reading was one of my favorite pass times. In the summers I would go to the Fort Worth Public Library once a week, return five books and check out five more. What began so many years ago persists to this day. I would rather find a quiet place with a good book than watch any television show. Early on I gravitated toward thrillers. I spent most of my adult life as a trial lawyer, but about a dozen or so years ago I decided to try to write. Not having taken a writing class since freshman English at The University of Texas (back when we wrote on stone tablets), I figured that I had read hundreds of novels; so, I could write one. I must also add that my now-deceased older brother, Thomas Thompson, was one of the best true crime writers to ever set pen to paper. So, there may have been something in the gene pool.
Q. Why did you choose Jamaica as your setting?
A. One of my sons, Kel Thompson, lives in South Florida. He was working in Montego Bay and came back, talking about the legend of the WHITE WITCH. It intrigued me, and it wasn’t long before he and I went back to Jamaica for several days. We learned about Annie Palmer and also about the Maroons, descendants of escaped slaves who won their freedom from the British three hundred years before only to find now that their land was being threatened by a giant American company that wanted to mine bauxite in their rainforest. I combined the Maroons’ twenty-first century conflict with the legend of the White Witch and the story was born.
Q. Can you share a little about your protagonist Will Taylor?
A. Will is basically a good guy. He spent six years in the SEALs before getting an undergraduate degree and law degree from the University of Virginia. He took a job as head of security for Global American Metals and found that he didn’t want to spend his life there. Among other things, he was constantly fighting with Alexa Pritchard, the company president. She sent him to Jamaica to make sure everything was in place for their bauxite mine in the Cockpit Country, the Maroons’ rainforest. Only when he arrived did he learn that the Maroons had signed a treaty with the British three hundred years before, deeding the land to them. His idea of a few days in the sun, with a little bit of golf, ended on the second night he was there when one of his co-workers was found, stabbed with a snake dagger on the steps of the Rose Hall mansion, the home of the White Witch who died two hundred years before. When other murders begin to occur, he must solve them and, along the way, the legend of the White Witch.
Q. What about the other main characters in your book?
A. Larry: Vertise Broderick is a beautiful, mysterious Jamaican and a Maroon who left the New York Times to return to her home where she began writing in the local newspaper about how Global was going to destroy the Maroons’ rainforest. She and Will clash at first, but, over time she convinces him that the rainforest is more valuable than the bauxite that can be mined from it. When they join forces, they eventually solve the murders.
Alexa Pritchard is the villain in the piece. She grew up in a small town in Oklahoma and clawed her way to the top of the corporate ladder. She lives and breathes her work and will stomp on anyone who gets in her way.
Matilda Maasengale is one of the most interesting characters. As the story plays out, Will decides the best way to end the conflict is to prove the treaty between the Maroons and British is still valid. To take it to court, they enlist Matilda, a six foot, three inch, three hundred pound lawyer to represent the Maroons. When she speaks, everyone listens.
Q. What are you working on next?
A. I really like creating new characters and new stories with each book I write. However, I have learned that readers look forward to new adventures from certain characters. I’ve written two books about Jackson Douglas Bryant, a plaintiff lawyer who made enough money to retire early and move back to his home town of Fort Worth where he opened a pro bono law office in an RV just north of downtown. So, I have a new Jack Bryant story that is percolating in my mind. Look for it at the end of 2018.
Larry is married to his wife, Vicki. He has three children scattered from Colorado to Austin to Boca Raton, and four grandchildren. He has been trying to retire from the law practice to devote full time to writing. Hopefully, that will occur by the end of 2018. He still lives in Houston, but spends his summers in Vail CO, high on a mountain where he is inspired by the beauty of the Rocky Mountains.