Book Review: ‘Death at Armadillo’ by John Littrell

Death at Armadillo: A Paul Seawright Murder Mystery is a new novel written by John Littrell, one of CSU’s former faculty members from the School of Education. The book is set in Casa Armadillo. The story follows Dr. Paul Seawright, an English professor and biographical writer who accidentally stumbles upon a murder at the Maya ruins. He becomes the book’s detective as he investigates the murders that are now piling up, wondering if he could become the next victim. 

This is Littrell’s debut novel. The idea came to him in 1990 when he was first inspired to write the story while visiting Casa Na Bolom on a trip with his wife. “I was standing in this old nunnery and thought, wow, this could be a great setting for a murder mystery,” Littrell recalled. This trip, plus his continued fascination with Maya culture, helped get this story off the ground. With setting and storyline in mind, Littrell began the most challenging part, learning the mechanics of writing a novel. He began writing and rewriting the story, which was published this past July. For Littrel, writing has always been something to do in his free time, and once he retired from CSU, he was able to complete the novel.

His advice to others looking to start writing for the first time is to start small, he jokes. Short stories, he explained, are a great way to hone in the writing skills and perfect your style. Letting others read your work is another great way to get feedback.

 He explained, “I’ve never been afraid of showing my work and having them give me feedback. I would write some chapters and ask people what worked and what didn’t work.” He credits the strong positive reviews he’s received on the book to the opportunities he had to workshop with others about his writing. 

Death at Armadillo is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle version. If you enjoyed this novel, keep an eye out for Littrell’s next murder mystery novel set to debut next summer, which will follow Dr. Paul Seawright to a college campus in Iowa.