Sean Patrick Smith will donate copies of “Three Miles of Eden,” his popular murder mystery set in Seven Lakes, to the Moore County libraries.

"I had heard that one or two of the local libraries had tried to order it,” says Smith, “but for some reason, the book did not arrive, so I just donated copies through a Seven Laker who brought this to my attention.”

The libraries in Southern Pines, Pinehurst, Carthage and Robbins will receive a copy of the book. Smith intends to reach out to area high schools as well.

“Among many other things, ‘Three Miles’ is a study in character development and sub-plot merger,” says Smith. “I have a cursory lesson plan outlined for it.”

“Three Miles of Eden” follows novelist Ray McCarthy’s desperate struggle to locate his missing daughter and undo his best friend's murder via a time anomaly. The book is set almost entirely within the Seven Lakes community, and it features Sheriff's Deputy Rick Rhyne, who passed away in 2011. The novel has acquired a significant following, with locals visiting the fictional events’ real locations. Two Moore County restaurants feature poster-size versions of the book's cover.

“Yes, Casa Garcia in Seven Lakes and the New York Deli in Pinehurst both have posters because both places are haunts of mine,” says Smith. “People are having fun with the book. That was one of my goals —a story that is ours forever."

Smith, an on-again, off-again resident of Seven Lakes for decades, appropriated his childhood friends’ names for characters in the story, and some friends make cameos as themselves. Smith and Arden Miller — an inspiration for one of the supporting characters — remain engaged with Seven Lakes residents via social media.

“Oh, Arden and I are having fun too,” says Smith. “There are questions from readers. There are Eden T-shirts and car decals, which are not cost-effective for me in the least, but they look great. I'm not sure what’s next, maybe an Eden 5K around Lake Sequoia. You can watch me get whipped by the teenage cross-country runners who live up there.”

For more information on “Three Miles of Eden,” visit seanpatricksmith.com.

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