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Thursday, July 07, 2022

It took many late nights and working between full-time shifts at the Gainesville Police Department.

But after about four and a half years of writing and promoting, Sgt. Art Adkins has debuted "The Oasis Project," his murder-mystery novel.

It landed on bookstore shelves Dec. 3, and its popularity has spread by word of mouth since then, he said.

Adkins has been writing for about 20 years and experimented with police mystery novels before settling on his ideas for "The Oasis Project."

Adkins will be signing books at Goerings Book Store on NW First Avenue on Sunday.

As an unknown author, Adkins spent about two years seeking advice from agents and working with companies to get the book published.

"You have to stand by your conviction that you think it's a good book," he said. "I put my heart and soul into this."

The novel involves a UF student named Shirley Waterbury who believes her family's death was no accident.

She ends up at the door of Slade Lockwood, a 20-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, who only halfheartedly agrees to investigate the case because he is worn out by his work with the department.

"He's the reluctant hero," Adkins said.

"Yeah, he got involved, but he didn't want to."

Adkins said creating the characters was an easy process for him.

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"It's almost like the characters whisper in your ear," he said.

Adkins, who spent about 11 and a half years with the LAPD, said he based Lockwood off of his own detective work and the admirable traits of his colleagues.

He described Lockwood as a man who gave everything he had to his police career.

"You put a lot of work and time into it," Adkins said. "It can consume you. You bleed blue, so to speak."

Adkins said UF students will connect with the book because it uses UF and other parts of Gainesville as settings.

Lockwood resides in Cedar Key, which is also an important location in the novel.

"It's truly one of the last jewels of Florida," he said of the city, located about 60 miles southwest of Gainesville.

Adkins is working on the sequel, "Power Grid," which will feature the same characters and a couple of plot twists.

"I think there are a few things that are going to happen that will raise people's eyebrows," Adkins said.

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