Starkville author pens psychological thriller

Mike Thorne recently self published his novel - “Murder In Memory” - and sat down with the Starkville Daily News to talk about the psychological thriller (Photo by Logan Kirkland, SDN)

Mike Thorne started writing a crime-driven fiction novel in the 1980s and it took more than three decades for the work to finally hit the shelves.

The 75-year-old Shreveport native previously worked as a professor of psychology at Mississippi State and was inspired to write his first novel - “Murder In Memory” - following a writer’s workshop on campus.

“They had some national people who talked about getting an agent and all that sort of stuff, this was in the 1980s,” Thorne said.

Thorne would then sit down to write a semi-autobiographical novel and once he showed it to someone in the business, it was suggested that he write something with more commercial appeal in order to finance his autobiography.

“It was good enough to get me a New York agent,” Thorne said. “I signed a contract for five years and amazingly it was the same agent that John Grisham had.”

That agent was Jay Garon - a name notable enough to have a New York Times obituary when he passed away in 1995.

Thorne said Garon tried to market “Murder In Memory” as a mystery - for roughly five years. However, Thorne said the genre is more akin to a psychological thriller.

“About a third of the way through the book, you know who the villain is, who is doing these awful murders and how he is trying to get out of the consequences of what he has done,” Throne said. “One of the main characters, a chief of police, will have to figure out what he has done, why he did it. Hypnosis is a part of it.”

The novel took Thorne about a year to write and he said his interest and expertise in psychology also factors heavily into the book.

“Well, what the guy does with hypnosis, is creates false memories in somebody, so this other person believes they actually did all of these terrible things,” Thorne said. “Is that based in reality? Yes. I actually cite a couple of journal articles in there.”

While the book took decades to publish, Thorne said the ease of use with technology made self-publishing easier than ever.

“I had this on my computer for the last 30 years, and it’s gotten so easy now to self-publish things,” he said. “It didn’t cost that much, so that’s where we are today. My desire to write was sublimated by writing for coin publications. I’ve been writing for coin magazines since the late 1970s, stuff about particular coins, and that’s been fairly lucrative, they pay pretty well.”

Between writing for coin industry publications and work on editing and writing textbooks, Thorne was able to keep busy while his novel sat on the back burner.

“It’s amazing to me how much writing I must have been doing at that time, plus I had a mail-order coin business,” Thorne said. “I don’t know where I found the time to do all the things I was doing in the 1980s.”

“Murder In Memory” was published through CreateSpace - a division of Amazon - and is available in paperback for $14.99 through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Books-A-Million.

The preview for the book reads: “He can’t get rid of the excruciating headaches—or the horrible fantasies that accompany them. Tortured by violent obsessions, he hopes that acting them out will silence them. But it doesn’t. He knows they will be looking for him. In their small college town, everyone has heard about the killing. What he needs is an insurance policy. Hating himself, he pins his crimes on a hapless soul: the impressionable Dr. Jon Evans. Using hypnosis, he plants false memories of committing the murders in Evans’s head. A second murder goes awry when his victim nearly escapes. Feeling worse than ever, he leaves for the Christmas break to see his wife and daughter. Finding no relief with them, he returns to Harper to complete his indoctrination of Jon. In Harper, the police chief has followed the leads to Dr. Evans. But things don’t quite add up, and he begins to suspect someone else. The killer, meanwhile, sets his final plan in action. This time he has more than one victim in his sights—and even if the truth comes out, it may be too late.”