Former Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes, who’s also the former mayor of Summerfield, may not have sold as many books as Stephen King, but the former lawman certainly seems to write books as fast as the unrivaled master of American horror does.

 Since leaving the Sheriff’s Office in 2018, Barnes has written a three-book series – The Defender Trilogy, which includes the book “Sunrise at Sunset” set at Sunset Beach – and he has also penned a fourth novel called “Two Steps From Nowhere,” which is about human trafficking.

Now he has a soon to be published fifth novel – and it’s one that people in Guilford County and Alamance County should find very interesting because it’s largely set in those two counties.

The book is titled “Fools, Clowns and Traitors.”

“It involves the murder of a county commissioner and a murder of someone in the Guilford County jail and a murder in Washington,” Barnes said of his latest work.

In the book, the sheriff of Guilford County and the sheriff of Alamance County team up to solve crimes and put the pieces together.

Barnes said he got the writing bug when he was living in High Point in the third grade.

 Even though it’s only now, decades later, that his inner Robert Ludlum is coming out.

Here’s how the writing bug bit him as a child: His third-grade teacher, May Brown, was friends with the editor of the High Point Enterprise and the teacher liked it so much she showed it to the editor and it ran in the newspaper. It was an essay about how it was easy to make friends in High Point.

The piece was a hit with readers.

While Barnes was serving as Guilford County sheriff – a time which spanned a quarter of a century – he wrote a book comprised of true serious and funny tales from his time in law enforcement, though that was written and sold as part of a political fundraising effort for one of his campaigns.

His books in the “The Defender Trilogy” – “Sunrise at Sunset,” “The Garbage Man,” and “The Garbage Detail,” as well as “Two Steps From Nowhere, are available in paperback from Amazon for around $15 each and the books are ranked very high by readers.

“Fools, Clowns and Traitors,” which is going through final edits right now, should be out in about a month.

 Readers will no doubt try to guess what local real life people Barnes modeled various characters after; and he told the Rhino Times that one character is based on a Rhino Times reporter who has covered the Sheriff’s Office for years.  Hopefully, that character will be played by Tom Cruise in the movie.