When Dan McLachlan moved to Genesee 14 years ago, he didn’t expect to walk into a novel.He’d met many colorful people in 45 years of teaching at colleges and high schools in the U.S. and Australia. Then he got to know the Genesee locals at Hall’s Corner Bar and Brass Lantern Restaurant. Besides the owners, former NFL player Randy Hall and his wife, Dee, there was Bud Hall, a former ace fighter pilot and gun dealer; and Dan Danielson, a heli-skiing pioneer and pilot who worked with filmmaker Warren Miller.
“This is a fabulously rich town for stories,” says McLachlan, who wrote himself and the town’s residents into a “roman a clef,” a novel where real people and events are under disguise. This is the basis for the “MacAvity’s Pub” action series. He recently completed the last book in the series, “MacAvity’s Burning,” which takes its title, and cover photo, from the real-life unsolved case of arson that destroyed the bar and restaurant in 2006.
In the book, the pub is fire-bombed and a hunt for the perpetrators sets off a series of bloody encounters in the Gospel Hump Wilderness of central Idaho and the steppes of central Washington. It’s not all guns, adventure and shoot-outs. There are also deep friendships, humor and some romance.
Many of the main characters in McLachlan’s book are in the later years of their lives.
“I’m hoping Hollywood takes this on. Elderly people are still brave and strong,” says McLachlan, a 70-year-old who enjoys mountaineering and backpacking. “There’s a lot of people my age who are very active. I think there’s a market for that.”
Locals still gather at the Brass Lantern Restaurant, which reopened at a new location in 2009. McLachlan’s books and who is which character is sometimes a topic of conversation.
“I think all those portrayed are pretty happy about it,” says Randy Hall. “It’s a novelty kind of thing. It’s not very often you have a published writer in your small community.”
McLachlan is now rewriting his book, “A Wound in the Eye,” which he expects to complete next year.
“MacAvity’s Pub” and “MacAvity’s Burning” are available online at amazon.com.
There will be a book signing and wine tasting party for “MacAvity’s Burning” at 5 p.m. Nov. 13 at the Brass Lantern Restaurant, 153 W. Walnut St., Genesee.
By Dan H. McLachlan
248 pages, $15.50