Did you know that geocaching is frequently referred to in novels and books? It is used as a tool by murderers and to snare their victims, and by the authors to create twists and bring something new and creative to the scene. We’ve looked around a bit to find some examples, and spoke to Mark Gessner, the author of one such book.
First to Find – A Full-Feature Geocaching Novel
In most cases, geocaching plays a minor role. But First to Find by Mark Gessner is an example of a full-out murder mystery where geocaching is on center stage. A murderer is leaving clues which are found by geocachers, who put their strange finds online. Two geocachers from Texas put them together and attempt to solve the mystery before the murderer strikes again. But things become real when the murderer joins in on their game himself.
The idea came to Mark through own experiences:
”While out geocaching with friends and family, we’d stumble on various animal bones and other odd items,” he says. “Sometimes we’d report these items to the police. In one case we found a woman’s purse deep in the weeds on a park cleanup – CITO – and it helped the police with a cold case they were working on. So that gave me the idea for a murder mystery where geocachers discover the clues and put them together to solve the crime.”
“Most of the characters are geocachers, because those are the people I associated with up to the time of writing the book”, Mark continues. “ This particular story just wouldn’t work without geocaching.”
Writing the book was a full time job and took Mark nine months. He says that writing skills and being able to spend a lot of free time on the project is what made it possible. Can anyone do it? Absolutely!
“When you really get going with it, it will consume you until the story is finished.”
Mark Gessner chose not to go through a traditional publisher. Doing so can be tricky and only very few make it through. Instead, he has self-published the book through www.lulu.com and www.amazon.com.
Lulu is a print-on-demand website for books, the advantage being that you don’t need to order a large stock. Each book is printed as it’s ordered through the Lulu store. Mark uses this site to sell the book as hard copies, and Amazon to sell it as an e-book.
According to Mark himself, the book has sold by the thousands.
“I sell far more Kindle versions than print. This may be due to the lower price of the Kindle edition or simply that geocachers are more plugged in to the electronic world.”
Does he think that the story could happen in real life?
“I’m sure it has happened to other geocachers that have found clues and helped their local police. Though this is purely a work of fiction. I would of course not recommend that geocachers take matters into their own hands and try to trap a dangerous criminal.”
The usage of geocaching as such a central part of the story is rarely seen, but there might be a sequel coming up. Mark himself says he’s too busy at the moment, but the thought has crossed his mind. First to Find has received a lot of positive feedback, and many seem to have started reading the book because of the connection to geocaching, only to discover that it’s also very well-told murder mystery with clever twists.
Another example of a work of fiction with geocaching as a main feature is a novella by David “IceCreamMan” Klug, called Serial Finder. It too is available as an e-book through Amazon.
More Examples of Geocaching Mentioned in Books
Do you know of more examples of geocaching in novels? Share them in a comment bellow!
Even the movies feature geocaching: