Alaric Hunt is a 44-year-old man who recently won an award for a murder-mystery manuscript he wrote and submitted to a contest run by Minotaur Books (a St. Martins imprint). But, when an editor went to contact Hunt to inform him of his prize for Cuts Through Bone, she was informed that he was in an institution and hadn't been a free man since he was 19.
Hunt and his brother set two fires in the late '80s to divert attention from their planned jewelry heist near Clemson's campus. A graduate student died of smoke inhalation in one of the fires. Now, Hunt is serving a minimum of 30 years of a life sentence in prison, but that doesn't prohibit him from publishing.
So, when he stumbled across Minotaur's post for submissions, he went to work on a crime novel set in New York city.
He took five months to write the first draft of his book, titled “Cuts Through Bone,” in longhand (and another four months for a rewrite), carving out bits of writing time between the morning, noon and night counts. He sketched out a story set in New York City, a place he had never visited, and he dreamed up an odd-couple dynamic between Rachel Vasquez, a street-smart teenage operative working for a middle-aged, middle-class detective named Clayton Guthrie. The manuscript’s main case centers on the murder of a college woman whose boyfriend, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, is wrongfully accused of the crime.