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WVU Parkersburg Alumni Publishes Mystery Book

By Samuel Abels

Nicole Smith, a 2005 graduate of WVU at Parkersburg, has published a book entitled “Waiting For Jacob.” It’s a mystery story where the geography finds itself located in the very town she graduated, Parkersburg, WV.

In the book, the main character of Smith’s self-published work is a woman by the name of Rachel Joy, an algebra tutor and a Christian detective who enjoys solving problems. The initial plot revolves around a friend from church’s daughter mysteriously vanishing into thin air, and Rachel is faced with either searching for a woman who doesn’t wish to be located, or to listen to the friends which know her the best.

The author describes the book as being a “cozy mystery,” which belongs to what is known as a sub-genre of crime fictions where typically intense thematic elements such as sex and violence are either downplayed or are treated in a humorous fashion. The crime itself, and the overall detective work typically, occurs within a small, tight-knit community of some sort.

Smith herself is a 2000 graduate of the Parkersburg Christian Academy, and has earned a bachelor’s degree in the area of business management at West Virginia University at Parkersburg in 2005. Currently, she is at her alumni of Parkersburg Christian Academy, working as a classroom supervisor for grades eight through 12th. Smith points to the stories of Hercule Poirot, Sherlock Holmes and Dirk Gently as being the main sources of her inspiration.

“Because it’s set in Parkersburg, I go a bit into the opioid crisis, because unfortunately, you can’t write a book that’s set in Parkersburg without taking a little bit of a run at this,”  Smith said. “I think in one way or the other, everyone has been impacted by it.”

“Waiting For Jacob” is a self-published work, and it was officially debuted on March 20 through an Amazon Kindle. Since then, the book has received over 550 downloads. It has also reached the rank of No. 17 in “cozy mysteries”, as well as No. 22 in the category of “Christian fiction,” and the No. 24 spot in “Christian books”.

She claims she has enjoyed both the writing and self-publishing processes.

“I am as almost proud of all the technical skills which I had to learn to be able to do this as I am of the finished book,” Smith said.

Smith says she has other ideas in mind and might even be interested in producing a sequel to her current work.

“I try to be working on something all the time,” Smith said.

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