‘Lifelong dream’ — Capital Gazette victim’s novel is published posthumously

WASHINGTON — A novel written by Rob Hiaasen, one of five people killed in the Capital Gazette newspaper shooting in Annapolis, Maryland, will be released in the coming days.

The book, “Float Plan,” is being published posthumously by Apprentice House Press at Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore. Hiaasen had been developing the novel for several years.

“When I say publishing fiction was a lifelong dream of Rob’s, I mean it,” Hiassen’s widow, Maria Hiaasen, said in a statement. “He crafted ‘Float Plan’ by writing at night and on weekends, and he spent years attempting to perfect his creation.”

The book will be available in paperback, hardcover and e-book formats when it is released Sept. 15.

“We take great pride and joy in seeing the fulfillment of Rob’s dream,” said Maria Hiassen, who called the situation “bittersweet.”

“Float Plan” tells the comical story of Will Larkin, an algebra teacher in Annapolis going through a midlife crisis who must pick up the pieces of his life after losing his wife, job, dog, boat and even his freedom all in one year.

Apprentice House Press plans to donate all proceeds from the sale of the book to Everytown for Gun Safety, a group that advocates for stricter gun laws.

“It is a privilege to publish Rob’s work,” said Kevin Atticks, director of Apprentice House Press. “’Float Plan’ is a long-form example of the writing that endeared so many readers to his columns.”

Hiaasen was a columnist and assistant editor at the Capital Gazette newspaper and was killed along with four of his colleagues when a gunman opened fire in the newsroom in late June.

The other victims included Rebecca Smith, Gerald Fischman, John McNamara and Wendi Winters.

There have been numerous efforts to raise money for the victims’ families, including a daylong benefit concert in Annapolis called Annapolis Rising and a GoFundMe page that has generated more than $200,000.

The alleged shooter, Jarrod Ramos, has pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of murder and has a trial scheduled for January.

Investigators say Ramos had a long-running vendetta against the newspaper.

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