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DL Havlin releases another action-packed mystery

July 5, 2017
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

Pine Island writer DL Havlin has won numerous Florida Writers Association - Royal Palm Literary Awards, as well as an Outstanding Writers Literary Award and an Outstanding Writers Short Fiction Award.

Like many authors, Havlin has a writing philosophy.

"When any author asks readers to invest cash and, more importantly, their valuable time by reading my books, I believe they can expect the writer to be committed to a credo," Havlin said.

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"First, I believe readers are thinkers. Their sharp minds want to be challenged as they're entertained," Havlin said. "I also endeavor to create characters that are someone you'd like to meet, someone you'd despise, someone you'd fear, someone you'd root for and someone you can emotionally identify with."

Havlin's books always have interesting characters: from 12 year-old "Pooch" Robertson ("Bully Route Home"), to Donald Roebling, inventor of a hurricane rescue vehicle ("Blue Water Red Blood"), to his latest lead character, "Chessie" Partin of "The Bait Man."

Described as a "wild child," Chesapeake "Chessie" Partin is one of Havlin's most interesting characters so far. Born and raised in small town Florida and working at a Waffle House, Partin is a 34-year-old former Marine studying archaeology.

In "The Bait Man," Chessie is approached by charter Capt. Hootie Barnes to work on his fishing boat as his mate and more importantly as "eye candy" for the fishermen. Chessie learns there of the job opening because the previous mate, Mary Perez, went missing.

"Her family says she run off with her no-count boyfriend to get married," Hootie says.

The job pays well with even more in tips. As a former Marine, Chessie is confident she can handle herself with leering fishermen and accepts the job - but the job has one drawback. Early every Friday morning Chessie must meet 'the bait man' to help unload the bait truck.

The bait comes in frozen blocks and must be unloaded and moved into the freezer quickly. This is important because when they begin to melt they smell so bad Chessie calls them "gag maggots." Equally offensive is the smell of the bait man Rooster Cocker. Hootie advises Chessie to be careful around Cocker because Rooster "ain't nice to women."

One day out on a fishing charter, one of the fishermen gets his line tangled in the chum bag hanging on the side of the boat. When Chessie leans over the side of the boat to untangle the line, she comes face to face with the smelly chum bag.

To her horror mixed in with the chunks of rotten flesh were two human teeth attached to a small portion of jaw bone. Chessie was sure they belonged to her predecessor, the missing Mary Perez, and the likely murderer, she thinks, is the bait man - Rooster Cocker.

Sharing the information with her suspended policeman brother, Reading, they embark on an investigation of Rooster Cocker to prove he's the despicable villain she believes him to be.

Tracking Rooster, Chessie follows him to a top-secret research site secured by an electric fence and protected by big cats. Her investigation mushrooms into something even bigger - an international enterprise shrouded in mystery.

"The Bait Man" is an action-packed mystery that is hard to put down. The characters, especially Chessie, are well developed and unpredictable. The plot is fast paced and entertaining with something new and unexpected every few pages. It's a great summer read for mystery lovers.

"The Bait Man" is available at,, Havlin's website and locally at CW Fudge in Matlacha.



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