PORTLAND, Maine — Gerry Boyle has long made a living with words, starting as a reporter at a newspaper in Rumford, then as a reporter and a columnist at the Morning Sentinel in Waterville, and later as editor of the alumni magazine at his alma mater, Colby College.
More than 30 years ago, looking to try something different while staying close to what he knew best, Boyle turned to fiction and wrote his first crime novel featuring Jack McMorrow, a newspaper reporter in Maine. It was the beginning of a beautiful literary friendship.
“I never expected it would be a thirty-year romance with this guy—or bromance. But you just go from book to book and story to story and time goes by,” Boyle says.
The first McMorrow novel came out in 1993, and the latest, “Robbed Blind,” is the thirteenth in the series. Boyle is clearly at home writing dialogue, moving his characters around the state he knows so well, putting his protagonist in danger, and then getting him out. Telling these stories remains a pleasure.
“For one thing, I feel like Jack McMorrow is kind of real,” he says. “So when I’m not writing the books, I wonder what he’s up to.”
Over the last three decades, the novels have created a vivid picture of Maine, not the state where tourists come to see lupine and lighthouses and lobster shacks, but the real Maine, a place with its share of crime, addiction, misfits, and bad guys. The end is coming, though, and the fourteenth McMorrow book, expected to be published next year, will be the final one.
“I don’t want to be like Tom Brady and play one too many seasons,” Boyle says. “I like to think I’m going to go out somewhere near the top of my game.”