Finders Keepers: Geo-Novelist Seeks Monetary Cache

FINDERS KEEPERS_title22A young couple hike through the forest, cellphones in hand. Some time later, they reach their destination: a hard-to-reach cache, dangling precariously over a cliff face. When they manage to retrieve it, instead of treasure, they uncover something far more gruesome: a rotting forearm, the victim’s fingernails still polished pink. And that’s only the beginning …

As evidence linked to a sadistic string of murders begins to show up in geocaches throughout the forest, a police detective’s only shot at catching this killer, is to play along with his chilling game.

That’s the plot of Finders Keepers, the first novel by Devon Pollard – which he hopes to publish by raising US$7500 (NZ$8523) on popular crowdfunding website KickStarter. And, as you might expect, this murder-mystery centres around our favourite hobby.

Devon Pollard

Devon Pollard

The Californian author told It’s Not About The Numbers: “I first thought of the premise for Finders Keepers about five or six years ago, and sat on it for a while … writing other things; doing other things. But this story kind of nagged at me. It snuck back.  And as I started researching more here and there, I thought, hey, there’s something compelling about geocaching.

Because it is modern-day treasure hunting. Instead of a stained paper map, you have a GPS device. It used to be in your car. Then it was portable GPS devices, those handheld things. And  very modernly: your phone. Smartphone. GPS app. Free or .99 cents. Treasure map? There’s geocache apps. Digital treasure maps on your phone. Accessible to everyone. The digital dots represent the caches in your area. Ergo, the digital dots represent the treasure in your area. Ergo, holy crap there’s a lot of treasure in my area.

But it’s not just the end goal. It’s not all about getting your cookie. There is something compelling about the process too. The search. The quest.

Geocaching is exploratory in a manner that seems to have otherwise fallen out of vogue. Where will it take you? Exotic locations. Remote locations. Familiar locations. Hidden in plain sight locations. What games? What riddles? What puzzles within puzzles?

Geocaching propels humans to get out and do what humans are inherently inclined to do: get out and explore their space. And the human interaction that geocaching involves is fascinating. In that you remove a piece of someone else from that cache, and place a piece of yourself back in, for yet another to find. Touching without touching. Only connecting through an item. A place. A unique quest. A shared cache. And in that cache you place your horcrux. A piece of your soul. Laying dark in the cache. Buried. Covered. Hidden with care. Waiting for someone, the right one, to open the cache again.

Geocaching is investigatory, which lends itself nicely to a murder-mystery storyline: A killer stalking his next victim. A detective stalking the killer. The killer leaves riddles, and sometimes parts of his victims, in geocaches.  The detective must locate the caches, and solve the deadly puzzle, to stop the killer from moving onto his next target. He must deduce as much information as he can from the case evidence and forensics if he is to end this twisted game once and for all.”

kickstarter-logo-k-color*To help Devon Pollard publish his novel Finders Keepers, visit his Kickstarter page before Sunday, July 20. A pledge of US$10 will be rewarded with an advance copy of his ebook, while US$25 will score you a first-edition print of Finders Keepers and a souvenir bookmark. The project will only be funded if at least US$7500 is raised, though he is halfway there already.

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