‘Foss Man’ filled with intrigue, revenge; Book written by former Mower County official

Published 9:08 am Friday, December 29, 2017

Keith Fossey was retired and looking for things to do that served as a counterpoint to his golf game, he said with a chuckle.

As it turned out, he capitalized on a proven quantity: his writing.

Twenty years earlier, Fossey, 76, had written the book, “The Football Scholarship Guide,” a handbook for high school athletes seeking scholarships. “I didn’t want to go to the horse races to pass the time, and since I’d written a book before, I thought I’d give it another whirl,” he said.

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But this book, which came out last month, was something far different: a tale of death, revenge and legal intrigue.

“Frankly, it started out as a memoir, of things that happened in my childhood,” he said. “The book really takes in my life in St. Ansgar, and near Osage, (Iowa)” he said.

Without going into detail, some of the incidents in the book are autobiographical, he said.

“Some were happy, some not so happy — but that is life in a small town,” he said.

The protagonist is Luke Foster who, at 15, kills the town bully when Luke finds him sexually assaulting his sister. He immediately flashes back to his failure to save a baby sister from drowning many years before. Much of the book is dedicated to how residents in his small town of Jefferson, Iowa, reacted to what they perceived was his crime; and how a young attorney fights to keep him out of jail.

Austin native Keith Fossey has penned a book, “Foss Man” .

The publishing of “Foss Man,” “was actually an afterthought,” said Fossey. His initial focus had been on what turned out to be the middle book of a trilogy, entitled, “Foss Man II,” that told the story of a “very interesting college experience,” he said.

“But it (“Foss Man”) proved to be significant enough to make it a full story,” he said. The third installment will be called “Mr. Foss Man,” that follows Luke into adulthood.

Fossey’s name may be more familiar than most to those in Austin. He served as a Teen Court Coordinator in Mower County for three years following his retirement from education. Most of his time as coach and educator, he said, was spent in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He and his wife, Avis, have four children and eight grandchildren. His sister, Sharon Justice, is a longtime Austin resident, and her son, Steve, manages the local State Farm Agency.

The reaction to “Foss Man,” which was released in November by Page Publishing, “has been overwhelming, very, very positive,” he said. He is almost done writing the second installment and is just beginning to plan the third.

He said Avis was his biggest supporter and “my best sounding board.”

“She knew how this book excited me. She has definitely been my MVP,” he said.

They have been married almost 50 years. They spend half of their year in Arizona; the warmer months are spent in Savage.

He is hopeful the reception for his next two books is as good as for “Foss Man.”

“If they don’t do anything, then I guess I’ll go back to my golf game and try that again,” he said wryly. “Maybe it will be better.”