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Mystery author coming to Nashua

NASHUA – Calling all mystery fans: Bruce Robert Coffin, bestselling author of the Detective Byron mystery series and a former detective sergeant with more than 27 years in law enforcement, will be visiting the Nashua Public Library at 7 p.m. Thursday to share his story.

Coffin, who supervised all homicide and violent crime investigations in Portland, Maine, for a number of years, also spent time investigating counterterrorism cases for the FBI after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Though he spent more than 27 years in law enforcement, writing was Coffin’s first passion.

“I went to college and I wanted to be the next Stephen King,” Coffin said.

After discouragement from a creative writing professor, Coffin sought an alternative career. He picked up the pen again in 2012, despite having not written since 1982.

Now, he’s back at it, writing mystery novels based on his experiences as a detective.

“The genre just sort of found me because of what I did for a career,” Coffin said.

Since 2016, he’s published three novels with HarperCollins Publishers. He also has four other short stories published.

Though he had a dream of going to college and immediately becoming a best-selling novelist, Coffin said his past career has given him something about which to write.

“You can learn to write better by writing a lot, but what you can’t learn to do is write about characters or things that you don’t identify with,” Coffin said.

“What will actually speak to readers is your own personal experiences.”

When he was in law enforcement, Coffin said he would have never imagined becoming a future writer.

“I think that job becomes you, and I think more so than most jobs. You live, breathe and eat law enforcement. I am so full of experiences, both good and bad,” Coffin said.

Coffin’s Detective Byron mystery series centers around the fictional character Detective Sgt. John Byron, a second-generation cop, who works to solve murders that are occurring around Portland, Maine.

“When I started typing what was the early version of John Byron, the well was just full,” Coffin said.

Now, there are three books in the series: Among the Shadows, Beneath the Depths and Beyond the Truth. Beyond the Truth, Coffin’s latest novel, is an Agatha Award Nominee for Best Contemporary Novel, Maine Literary Award Nominee for Best Crime Fiction, Silver Falchion Award finalist for Best Procedural and Maine Sunday Telegram No. 1 Bestseller.

Coffin’s visit is being hosted by the Friends of the Nashua Public Library. Coffin has traveled to neighboring libraries across the state and in Massachusetts to share his story.

“He seems to have a following. Everyone has said he is great,” Nashua Public Library Outreach Coordinator Carol Eyman said.

Eyman added, “We try to get a variety of authors, but we picked (Coffin) because there’s a huge number of library patrons that love mysteries and thrillers. We also know they love anything with a local flavor to it, and we thought the connection to Portland, Maine, would be of interest.”

When he attends on Thursday, Coffin will be sharing both personal stories and readings from his series of novels. He will wrap up with a book sale and signing. The event will take place in the library’s Chandler Memorial Wing from 7-8:30 p.m.

Grace Pecci may be reached at 594-1243, or at gpecci@nashuatelegraph.com.