Charles Scheideman stood in awe at piles and piles of his latest book stacked on a table at Costco in Kamloops.
The Central Saanich author was on tour telling the tales and signing his second book of short stories Tragedy on Jackass Mountain, More Stories from a Small-Town Mountie (Harbour Publishing).
It’s been even more successful than his first book Policing the Fringe, The Curious Life of a Small-Town Mountie which Harbour Publishing discovered after Scheideman self-published the book of short stories. The last week of June, it hit number two on the BC book publishers best seller list.
“This book is getting to be more fun than runnin’ in the crick barefooted,” Scheideman said later, fresh off his tour of the interior.
At the library in Salmo he sat and told some stories to about 14 people at the library.
“Which has to be pretty near 10 per cent of the population,” Scheideman said with a chuckle. A lady came up and bought eight books, a new record for Scheideman on tour. “She said ‘My father owned the aircraft in Salmo’s Flying Ace’,” he said.
His first police posting was in Nelson in 1962. The tales in the new book are again borne from his 27 years as an RCMP officer in rural BC, but also come from his youth on a farm near Stony Plain, Alberta. Among the stories is an escape from a youth detention centre that takes a troubled young man to new heights — in a stolen airplane — that he narrowly survives after crashing into a mountainside.
He tells the stories with wit, but doesn’t pull any punches. Many include the consequences of all-too-common alcohol abuse, including the title tale of an innocent man who survives being hit twice by impaired drivers only to succumb to the Grim Reaper in another tragic way.
“I tell the stories not in the way we would like it to be, or the way we wish it was, but the way it was,” he said.
His new book is full of characters such as the Freedomites who attacked the power poles and railway tracks between Castlegar, Nelson and Slocan City with dynamite to “separate themselves from all worldly things,” and ended up burning down their own shack-village in Krestova. Or the lone officer who took on three legendary hard-fighting drunks, earning him the respect of the citizens of Prince George, including the louts he single-handedly flattened.
With a near 30-year career, Scheideman says there’s fodder for a third book, especially after heading back into that neck of the woods.
“When I go on a tour like this and meet up with the old gang, more (stories) come to mind,” he admitted.
Though he won’t commit to a third book, Scheideman will be signing his second for readers at Tanner’s Books in Sidney from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 16.