Pithed is set in Jacksonville, Florida, and is about Andy Farmer, a high school biology teacher who goes to work one morning to find the principal has been stabbed in the neck. It appears the principal was stabbed in the same manner as one would "pith" a frog for a lab experiment, so naturally suspicion falls on Andy and his colleague Chuck, who has fled the coop. Chuck has admitted the murder to Andy, and yet Andy is torn between loyalty to his friend and saving his own skin.
How did you do your research for Pithed?
My sister is a forensic scientist, so I pick her brain on occasion. Also, I have a few friends in law enforcement I call on from time to time with questions about certain procedures. Much of Pithed is also drawn from memory and, as a former teacher, I drew upon my own experiences when writing about Andy's work.
I dissected frogs in ninth grade and eleventh grade biology classes. I wasn't too fond of it; in the ninth grade our frog had something solid in its stomach, and we wondered what it had eaten. On the day we cut open the stomach we discovered our frog had swallowed a rock!
I've also been witness to a pithing. My eleventh grade bio teacher pithed a live frog in class one day. It hasn't made me a vegetarian, but it's not something I'd do.
What lessons can be learned from Pithed?
Never tick off a biology teacher. They can be very creative with revenge.