Washington author publishes fifth book|Rish pens novel ‘The Hatteras Caper’

Published 3:44 am Thursday, June 25, 2009

Lifestyles & Features Editor

From the remote countryside of Bear Grass to the sandy shores of Cape Hatteras, a Washington author weaves a gripping tale of adventure and romance in his most recent book.
“The Hatteras Caper: A Saga of Bad Money Doing Good” by Dr. Buck Rish has just been published, and he’s planning a book signing in Washington during the next few weeks.
A retired physician who specialized in neurosurgery, Rish moved to Washington in 1998 to be near his son and grandsons.
“We’ve enjoyed it,” he said. “I was ‘cart boy’ at the Cypress Landing pro shop, and now I live in Pamlico Plantation and I handle the senior golf program at the Terrapin Track course.”
Rish describes himself as an avid golfer — “I play as many times as I can,” he said — and he has woven his love for the sport into the storyline of “The Hatteras Caper.”
The story focuses on Ray Leggett, a native of Bear Grass and aspiring golfer who enters college at East Carolina University in 1964. He fails to make the golf team, his romance with Miss Bear Grass flounders and he flunks out of school.
Leggett joins the Marine Corps and is sent to Vietnam, where he sustains injuries and returns home. While recovering physically and mental from the war, he travels to Canada in search of an old buddy. Things only get worse, and he signs up as a deck hand and cook aboard a yacht to get back home to North Carolina.
He stumbles upon a cache of money and a deadly secret involving drugs; Leggett decides to relieve the criminals of their ill-gotten gains and afterwards forges a new life for himself on Cape Hatteras.
Leggett becomes a grave digger, body hauler, septic repairman and newspaper reporter. In a nod to the Washington Daily News publishing family, Rish dubs the owners of the fictional newspaper in his book the Fussells.
“I’m a fan of O. Henry, and I love the way he takes you through a great story, and all of a sudden the end takes a left turn,” he said.
Rish began penning stories while in high school, and for years his writing took a medical bent because of his career. When he decided to try his hand at fiction, he said he was careful to tweak his characters and their names since some are based on his own experiences.
“After a 45-year career in medicine without being sued, I didn’t want to take any chances with my books,” he said with a laugh.
Rish decided to make coastal North Carolina the setting for the book after area book sellers advised him it would spark local interest. And he takes his time with each of his titles.
“I’m a disciplined writer. When I’m working on a book, I dedicate a block of time to it every day,” Rish said. “I work slowly and laboriously, and it normally takes me about two years to write and rewrite each book.”
Rish’s previous titles are “Sandbridge,” “The Stone Elephant,” “The Last Mule in Sunrise” and “Two for Twenty.” They are available at Riverwalk Gallery in downtown Washington as well as from Barnes &Noble Booksellers and several online book Web sites. They’re also available for purchase direct from the author at buckrish.com.