Many times, J. C. (John) Hager sat down at his computer after dinner to work on his new novel, Hunter's Choice, intending to write for a few hours. As dawn approached, he would finally pull himself back from the world he had created and wonder where the hours had gone. Thinking back on those long nights that passed so quickly, he says, "The characters and plot in your head just seem to flow out onto the keyboard and the screen. It is magic and, at times, surreal."
Writing had always been one of Hager's life goals, but one that career pressures had kept simmering on the back burner. The idea for a novel rumbled around in his mind for 30 years so, after retiring from IBM, he decided to pursue that goal. A native of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, avid outdoorsman, and experience hunter and skin diver, Hager naturally incorporated those elements into Hunter's Choice, a riveting thriller that catapults the reader from cold north woods to warm Caribbean seas. To ensure realism, he researched such disparate esoterica as how to cut up a plane on an icy lake, operate a 54-foot Hatteras yacht, find and buy mortars, deal with drug dealers, and hide from radar in an open boat. Hager also strove for accurate descriptions of exotic Caribbean locales. He discovered that "researching a book means you have to know ten times more than you write," a revelation that led to deleting scenes and entire chapters, to improve the story's pacing, en route to the final edited manuscript.
Hunter's Choice centers on finding something valuable and wrestling with whether to return it. If it is valuable only through illegal channels, then what? What if returning it gets you in trouble, but going to the law can lose you another treasure -- a woman you love? The protagonist, Matt Hunter, has to deal with killer storms, murderous gangsters, DEA bureaucracy, and his love for this seductive woman, while pitting all his skill and judgment against people who would just as soon see him dead.