“I wanted to write a book that was just fun.”
That’s how John J. Jessop sums up his newest novel, “Pleasuria: Take as Directed.”
While it’s a murder mystery, the book is meant to be funny. “It’s a look at the humorous side of what can go wrong with medical biotechnology research,” Jessop said.
As an expert in the pharmacology and toxicology of drugs, biopharmaceuticals and toxins, Jessop worked for 20 years for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Before that, he logged 20 years on the industry side, working as a consultant for pharmaceutical companies.
“I always wanted to write, so I started writing just for fun,” said Jessop, who is a fan of murder mysteries.
In 2016, Jessop self-published “Guardian Angel: Unforgiven” and a year later, he published “Guardian Angel: Indoctrination.” The first involved a serial killer and the latter featured a cult leader who kidnapped and tortured young women.
“I spent two years with some really evil characters, and it got really depressing,” Jessop recalled.
To lighten his writing mood, Jessop developed the plot line for “Pleasuria.” The novel’s main character, Dr. Jason Longfellow, is a bored FDA drug reviewer who is in the throes of a mid-life crisis. Complete with a shiny new convertible, Longfellow gets his private investigator’s license much to the chagrin of his wife.
As he is carpooling with a group to work one morning, Longfellow lands his first case — a female passenger suddenly has mysterious, non-stop orgasms and requires medical treatment. As Longfellow starts to investigate, he follows a chain of evidence that leads to a clinical trial at CureStuff Pharmaceuticals and to a string of beautiful female suspects.
“He gets into funny situations that he has to explain to his wife over and over,” Jessop said.
But Jessop, who’s been retired since 2015 and lives at the lake with his wife, Nancy, insists that "Pleasuria" is a work of fiction and not based on his life or his career.
“Anything your imagination can come up with, you can put it in a murder mystery,” he said.
After he finished writing the book, Jessop sent it to more than two dozen agents and three publishers before signing with Koehler Books. “They liked it because they said it was a laugh-out-loud comedy,” Jessop said. “It’s funny without being offensive or disturbing.”
By all accounts, Longfellow’s adventures in “Pleasuria” are receiving good reviews. In March, reviewer Ann Sprouse gave the book four out of five stars on Amazon. “[It] certainly keeps your interest in wanting to see how this one ends,” she wrote. “For a relatively new author, great beginning!”
Now Jessop is working on his third draft of the sequel due out later this year.
For Jessop, writing “Pleasuria” was a hobby that he hopes others will find entertaining. “I wanted to just write a book that’ll make you laugh,” he said. “It’s a wonderful beach read or a lake read.”
And any after-tax profits that Jessop makes from it will be donated to Holly’s House in Evansville, Indiana, and Darkness-to-Light in Charleston, South Carolina, two charities that help abused children, in memory of Jessop’s sister Jacqueline, who died at age 45.
— Laker Editor Karen Dillon