Robert Thornhill can't stop writing. Typing with one finger and a thumb, this 73-year-old award-winning author has added book No. 24, “Lady Justice and the Ghost Whisperer,” to his Lady Justice series – an outstanding achievement for a retired Independence real estate agent who has written 35 paperbacks since “reinventing” himself six years ago and penning his first mystery-comedy, “Lady Justice Takes a C.R.A.P - City Retiree Action Patrol.”
For those unfamiliar with the Lady Justice series, Walt Williams is the main character, as well as the alter ego of the author, who says 50 to 60 percent of the things that Walt does are experiences from his life. And if he can do them, so must Walt, he says, noting Walt is a 65-year-old retired real estate agent – who later becomes a cop. Surrounding him are a series of senior-citizen characters.
As for Lady Justice, “She is the blindfolded person on the cover (of each book) holding a sword in one hand and scales in the other, and she needs help,” Robert says, adding: “Walt Williams and assorted characters in my series find unbelievable ways to help Lady Justice bring the bad guys to justice.”
Growing up in an era where there were heroes like Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and the Lone Ranger, Robert says it was easy to tell the good guys from the bad guys, adding: “The good guys wore the white hats, the bad guys swore the black hats and the good guys always won. So that is the premise of my stories. They are uplifting, they are fun, but you still get a good mystery out of it.”
What do the 30-room Victorian Vaile Mansion, the old 1859 Jail and the Santa-Cali-Gon celebration in Independence have in common? In “The Ghost Whisperer,” they take center stage when a Confederate soldier, a woman driven from her Jackson County home by the ravages of the Civil War and a man who died in a turn-of-the-century asylum, all contact Walt Williams, private investigator.
“A bizarre series of events surrounding these paranormal visits culminate in the discovery of a terrorist plot to detonate bombs at a crowded festival,” Robert says. “Once again Lady Justice pairs Walt with forces from beyond the veil to solve mysteries hidden for decades and bring evildoers to justice.”
Adding to the enjoyment is Robert's use of some 22 photographs and historical facts about the people, places and things in his 225-page novel. His commentaries on General Order No. 11, the Civil War, the Vaile Mansion, the Old Jail and Santa-Cali-Gon are both interesting and educational. It's like being entertained and educated at the same time. And that's hard to beat.
Robert says his last two books delve into the paranormal.
“Is it real? Is is not real,” he asks. “Are there such things as ghosts? Are there really such things as people having dreams where someone from their past actually appears to them to deliver a message. And, of course, this is the way ('Ghost Whisperer') starts: A young woman watching her great-great grandmother bury something under a large oak tree during the Civil War.”
Robert asks again: “Are these paranormal happenings real or unreal? Everyone has to decide that for themselves. But as far as Walt and the book are concerned, they are real.”
If you're looking for a book laced with sex, filthy language and gore, you won't find any of that in the Lady Justice series.
“I don't have that in my series,” Robert says. “And if you go to Amazon and read the reviews, so many people say (my books) are so enjoyable to read, because you don't have to wade through all that stuff. They are light, they are uplifting, they are fun and you still get a good mystery out of it.”
Since changing hats late in life and becoming an award-winning author, Robert says he does something with books every day – seven days a week. When in the writing mode, “I have (already) started a book, so I know where I am going; I try to get out one chapter a day,” he says. So, unless I hit a little roadblock, most of my books have 20 to 25 chapters. So, if I (write) a chapter a day, then I can get (a book) done in a month or a little more.”
After the writing, the tedious job of editing begins, Robert says, adding: “So you have to come back, and I spend a couple of hours a day doing that. Then once we get the book back, then the marketing sets in and I will spend a couple of hours every day doing the marketing. So there is something going on all the time.”
“Ghost Whisperer” is available on Amazon for $12.99 and for $10 on the author's website : BooksbyBob.com. Robert also has on-going specials on his website: three books for $25. The Kindle version is available on Amazon for $4.99 and Kindle specials for 99 cents.
Robert, who has also written seven children's books in the “Rainbow Road” series isn't ready to retire yet. He's making too many people happy with his books, he says, adding: “I don't see my Lady Justice series ending as long as I have the mental capacities to put it together. Walt is going to have more adventures. Who knows when it will end.”
Retired community news reporter Frank Haight Jr. writes this column for The Examiner. You can leave a message for him at 816-350-6363.