DUNDEE: A Richmond County fiction writer, whose last work received positive reviews and recognition, has released another novel.
In 2011, Michael Gerhartz of Dundee released his first book Dark Times, and he describes his newest, Thin Ice, as a “sort of sequel” with the same characters, but independent, unconnected stories.
Noting it took him three years to write his first, but 18 months to write Thin Ice, Gerhartz said the idea for his most recent work came from an unusual source of inspiration.
“I usually get my ideas and stories under water,” said Gerhartz, who is an experienced diver. “That’s where I can relax most. The issues that Dark Times addresses can be seen every day on the television or in the Internet.”
The main character in Thin Ice is Natascha, a passionate young Marine Biologist, given the opportunity of a lifetime – to participate in a 14-week international scientific expedition onboard the Northern Explorer – but the frigid waters of the North West Passage are a feeding ground for international intrigue.
Through discovering the state of marine life, the expedition fights to confirm the dangers of global warming, but not everyone wants the truth to come out. The expedition leader ignores violence and death threats as the expedition proceeds with determination against their unknown enemy.
Under the protection of an elite security company, Natascha soon realizes they are not only in the cross-hairs of corrupt politicians, but also big oil companies – and it is the wrong time to fall in love.
Too late, they realize the enemy not only has someone in their own ranks, but ultimately will stop at nothing to follow an even more lethal plan, and their chances of survival are on thin ice.
Dark Times, received the 5 Star Reader’s Favourite Award and was nominated as best thriller in 2019 for: the Independent Publisher Award; the Indie Book Award; the Independent Press Award; and the International Rubery Book Award.
“It’s nice to see the nomination, but I’m new to all this so I really don’t know what it means in the end,” Gerhartz told The Reporter. “Sales of the books increased significantly after those [awards]… it spiked.”
In 2012, Gerhartz – who said he has called Cape Breton home since 1999 – was invited to read from Dark Times during the Port Hawkesbury Literacy Council’s “FEIS 2012: Spies & Superstitions” event.
Noting that his original urge to wrtie came out of the blue, Gerhartz said he wanted to inject more realism into thrillers and explore the issues he cares about.
“I read a lot of books in this genre and never liked the fact that the heroes seemed to have unlimited resources and were nearly invincible,” he said. “The characters in my books have bills to pay like you and I, and if they get hit, it hurts.
“It also gave me the chance and opportunity to address issues that matter to me. In Thin Ice, the whole story takes place on the stage of global warming in the North West Passage. Dark Times is dealing with the child abuse scandal of the church, human trafficking and white supremacy trying to fight terrorism.”
Gerhartz has readings upcoming in the Strait area. On Saturday, April 6, he will be at The Groundswell in D’Escousse from 2-4 p.m., on Saturday, April 13 from 2-4 p.m. at the Antigonish People’s Place Library and finally at the NSCC Strait Area Campus library on Tuesday, April 16 from 6-8 p.m.
Thin Ice and Dark Times are available in all book stores in paperback and on-line in as an ebook.