Wednesday, December 30, 2020




Six years after his Flight of the Fox ordeal that dubbed him the American Prometheus, humble math professor Sam Teagarden becomes embroiled in another mission involving decoding a secret document provoking tragic reactions around the world. Unearthed in northern Israel, the ancient parchment is called the Q Document, for the German word quelle, meaning: source. Biblical scholars believe it may be the original source for the two Gospels: Matthew and Luke. If decoded, it could shed light on the creation of the world's most widely observed religious faith.

This time, instead of trying to kill him, the FBI formally taps Teagarden to assist – and help stop – a contagion of mass suicides among religious zealots. Each cult-like group is motivated by fear of what may, or may not, be revealed if the document is decoded and published.  His mission is supposed to last two days on foreign soil. When the plan goes awry, Teagarden is forced to work alone, without the promised protection from the FBI and CIA.
The journey takes him from New York to Israel, across the Mediterranean Sea to Rome, and finally Berlin. As he tries to decipher the two-thousand-year-old enigmatic parchment, he must outsmart two fanatical and equally dangerous groups: one entrenched in religious faith, the other rooted in fervent atheism. He learns that one group wants him dead, while the other wants him alive – until their goals reverse midstream.
Will he become another casualty caught up in the controversy caused by fear of the Q Document? Or, if he survives the gauntlet of extreme violence, will he be blamed for conveying news to the world that millions will not want to hear?

Book Details:
Title: Madness of the Q
Author: Gray Basnight
Genre: thriller
Series: Sam Teagarden Thriller, book 2
Publisher and publish date: Down & Out Books, December 14, 2020
Print length: 345 Pages


The Writer’s Life: Outside Looking In & Inside Looking Out

From the outside, the writerly life would appear quite boring. Imagine watching someone at a desk, fingers on keyboard, butt in chair, 4-6 hours a day, 6 days a week. That’s it. That’s really the only rule for writing.  If the aspiring writer doesn’t spend large chunks of time writing on a daily basis, then it will remain an aspiration only. 

In between the work of writing, my writer’s life is a regular pursuit of family, friends, food, and recreation. COVID has changed the scenario because there’s less time for all that, and therefore, less distraction. I realize that for some writers, the COVID restrictions diminish productivity because they need social interaction as creative motivation – but for me, it equals more writing time and increased productivity. 
Having said that, while the writers’ life is generally very internal and solitary, I wouldn’t call it lonely, and I wouldn’t say I’m alone. From the inside looking out, there are endless ideas, characters, and plots knocking around my consciousness. They talk to me, and I talk to them. They tell me their stories and sometimes take me places I don’t expect.  Sometimes they stop midstream and force me to figure out where they and the story will go next. That happens because I am mostly a seat-of-the-pants-er, which means I don’t work from outlines. I’ve tried and just can’t do it. The risk of not outlining is great loss of time caused by diving into some rabbit hole that you don’t know is wasted time until you realize—uh-oh, that was wasted time. 
On the other hand, the benefit of not outlining poses a greater chance for discovery, a more intensely burning fire, and creative newness. As Picasso said, to create, you must “close your eyes and sing.” Personally, I believe non-outliners can be better singers.
It’s also worth noting that writers are watchers, listeners and readers. Curiosity is a creative spark that involves expanding the mind. On the reading front, I tend to read and re-read from my list of favorite novels. This list started to accumulate once I graduated from comic books around age 11. Another point of inspiration for me comes from history. For Flight of the Fox, the spark was a “what if” idea involving discovery of a diary kept by Clyde Anderson Tolson, who was J. Edgar Hoover’s lover and lifetime partner.  That led to the genesis of my everyman math professor Sam Teagarden.

A far more ancient point in history became the launching point for Sam’s return in my current thriller Madness of the Q. I was listening to a Great Courses audio lecture about the New Testament when the real professor mentioned a theorized source for two Gospels called the Q Document. That was a lightning bolt that engendered another “what if” scenario. What if the Q Document were discovered in our time? And off I went to find out through a fictional lens.
Finally, in sharing thoughts about the writing life, I can’t say enough about the writer’s need for readers – including interacting and hearing from readers. During COVID, it’s a little more challenging with few in-person events. But it can still be done via virtual events, online reviews, and social media. Here’s where I give thanks to libraries and indie bookstores that have stepped up and are playing a very timely and vital role in hosting both established and emerging authors.
Long story short, to see what a writer does, don’t look. But do read the book because that’s where you’ll see the act of someone who had some fun by playing God, inventing a world, filling it with people, and making things happen to each of them.    


Gray Basnight was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, where he spent his childhood and teen years on two much-loved activities: reading and participating in theatre productions. After studying English and theatre at a small college in North Carolina and George Washington University in Washington, DC, Gray moved to New York City where, after experiencing the actor's struggle, he began working in local radio. Almost 30 years later, he was laid off as a radio reporter at the height of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Though he'd been writing fiction all along, he decided to turn that life-altering event into an opportunity to pursue a second (or third) life.  His first novel, The Cop with the Pink Pistol, was published to rave reviews in 2012.  His Civil War historical novel Shadows in the Fire was released in 2015. Flight of the Fox, a political thriller, appeared 2018, and its sequel, Madness of the Q followed in mid-December 2020.

Connect with Gray:
Website Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads 

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Down & Out Books