Former Siskiyou judge Bob Kaster publishes second thriller novel
Siskiyou Daily News, March 17, 2021
Those who read and enjoyed retired Siskiyou County judge Bob Kaster’s first book will be excited to hear he’s had a sequel published.
“The Mansion – A Septuagenarian Thriller,” was self-published and can be purchased locally at Zephyr Books & Coffee and MacGregor’s Book Nook in Yreka. The books are also available from Amazon, both in paperback and Kindle e-book. His first novel, “The Septuagenarian: An R-Rated Thriller,” was published in August of 2019.
Kaster said it certainly helped to have already written a novel when he began work on his second endeavor. “You learn a lot just by doing it,” Kaster said, adding it helps that he’s also an avid reader.
“The more you read, the more you learn and you start figuring out things like technique,” he said.
Kaster said he and his wife Ann have lived in Yreka since 1972. He had just completed a four-year tour in the U.S. Air Force, serving as a JAG officer, when he was invited to go to work for Larry Bacon and Joe Correa in their law office in Yreka.
The Kasters arrived in town with their 1-year-old son Bob, two black Labrador retrievers, a Toyota Land Cruiser, and little else, Kaster recalled. A year after their arrival, their daughter Carrie was born. In 1988 he was elected to Yreka’s Justice Court and then in 1990 ran unopposed for the Superior Court when Jim Kleaver retired. Bob retired from the bench in 2008, but took judicial assignments for five years after that.
After Kaster retired, he started writing as a pastime around 2015, starting with some short stories for his grandkids and some letters to the editor, he said. The letters to the editor morphed into an opinion column in the Siskiyou Daily News, “The Septuagenarian Speaks.”
The Great Yreka Courthouse Gold Heist, a compilation of Kaster’s series of articles in the Siskiyou Daily News together with many new features, is soon to be published by the Siskiyou County Historical Society, Kaster said.
The idea of attempting a full length novel never crossed his mind until 2016, at age 74.
“There is a saying that everyone has a novel in them, so I thought, why not?,” Kaster said. “But there is a further saying, generally attributed to Christopher Hitchens, that ‘Everyone has a book in them and that, in most cases, is where it should stay.’
Kaster said he didn’t take Hitchens’ advice.
“The Mansion” is a sequel, portraying the further adventures of the Septuagenarian, his friend Brenda LeHane (the “Beautiful Black Lady”) and Bebe, his Labrador retriever, as they struggle for survival against the unspeakable evils that lurk inside and under a mysterious mansion in the Scott Valley.
While it would be great to be “discovered,” and have his novels appear on the New York Times best-seller list, Kaster admits that he has “no realistic illusions” of anything like that happening.
“The competition is just too great. But locally, my first book has sold well, and I take great pride in that,” Kaster said. “It is satisfying to walk down Miner Street and have a stranger come up to me and say something like, ‘Hey, aren’t you Bob Kaster? I really liked your book.'”
Kaster said he is pleased that his book’s reviews on Amazon have been fairly positive overall. Not everyone will like it, he said, adding that’s something “every writer has to come to grips with.”
“You have to be a little thick skinned,” he said. “But even a negative review can make me chuckle.”
For example, there was a negative review that said, “Reads like a Q-Anon stroke story … the judge seems to have bought into the idea that a vast conspiracy of child molesters is out to get him. The only thing missing is Donald Trump riding to the rescue.”
“Wow, I got a review that rolled Donald Trump, Q-Anon, child molesters, stroke, and conspiracy all into one,” Kaster said. “Well, the reviewer got one out of five right, the story definitely involves a conspiracy. It’s a mindless thriller, and that is all it was intended to be.”
“My stories are especially appealing to people who live in Siskiyou County. The stories are fiction, with my imagination running overtime, but I still try to portray with some authenticity life in Siskiyou County: it’s marvelously beautiful and rugged countryside and it’s colorful, and fiercely independent inhabitants.”
Kaster said he has an idea for a third book and hopes to begin writing soon. This time, he said he is thinking of doing an outline and figuring out where the book may be headed before writing. In his previous two offerings, he wrote and let the ideas come to him.
“I’m hoping to step it up a notch,” he said. “Its fun to write and see where it goes.”
For more information about the books and where to get them, check out Kaster’s website: http://bobkaster.com.