Glory Days | 2002
Twenty-five-year-old wunderkind novelist Mike Dolan returns to his hometown in the Pacific Northwest after "loosely" depicting the denizens of Glory in a best-selling murder mystery about the bizarre events surrounding his own father's supposedly accidental death. With the picturesque, yet freaky town of Glory as the backdrop for his story, Mike used his family and friends as fictional fodder; no one was spared from full disclosure and exaggeration of the truth normally kept behind closed doors. Upon his return home, he gets a distinctly chilly welcome. Mike hasn't written a word since his initial success four years earlier. Looking for a new lease on life, he attempts to mend fences as he plays amateur sleuth to unravel the mystery of his father's death.
Mike's boyhood friend, Rudy Dunlop, whom he pegged in his book as a gay village idiot, is now the sheriff of Glory Island. Rudy is still haunted by Mike's notorious characterization, yet he allows Mike to tag along as he seeks answers to the many bizarre murders in Glory. The third element in this crime-solving trio is Ellie Sparks, a forensic pathologist and the town's coroner. Slightly removed from her own emotions, she has an uncanny ability to dissect the intentions of those around her. Since Ellie didn't grow up in Glory and have her name dragged through the mud in Mike's book, she's one of the few friendly faces he encounters.
Reconnecting with family is even more difficult for Mike. His eccentric mother, Mitzi, was depicted in his book as imbalanced and bipolar, which may be only a slight exaggeration. His older sister, Sara, a tough workaholic, inherited the local newspaper after their father's death and reluctantly gives Mike a job as a reporter. Mike's one ally in this splintered family is his younger sister, Sam, a funky and deliberately different 16-year-old. Her best friend is the cute and clever Zane Walker. who hopes their eternal flirtation will spark into romance. Zane's mother, Hazel, owner of the town's diner and aging bombshell, had the dubious honor of being the murderer in Mike's book. Everyone in town knows that her guilt in the novel might just be related to her scandalous real-life affair with Mike's dad.