Although Steven Sherman retired from his ophthalmology practice in December, he continues his work as a paranormal thriller novelist.
His “Kahler Files” series follows Adrian Kahler, a brilliant psychologist turned detective as he and his two operatives, former Navy SEAL Stanley Egor and young empath Barry Sandler, solve mysteries involving domestic and foreign governments. The series is set in the fictional location Rawlings’ Landing, based on Gibson Island.
The most recent book in the series, titled “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer,” follows the team as they work to thwart Iranian agents suspected to be responsible for sabotaging production of a crystal of spectacular size and purity. The crystal was used to arm a fleet of surveillance satellites, preventing Iran from launching a nuclear missile at Israel.
Paperback and eBook versions came out in July 2017. The audiobook version was released in December 2019 and is narrated by Gary Noon.
The series also went through a name change in 2017. It was originally called the “Shadowmaster” series. For “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer,” Sherman used an editor through Amazon’s CreateSpace service.
“I was so impressed with [CreateSpace] that I arranged for this particular editor to re-edit all of the books,” said Sherman. “I just paid to have that done. That, I think, tightened the books up a little bit and it was at her suggestion that I changed the name from ‘Shadowmaster’ to ‘The Kahler Files.’”
Although “More or Less than Human,” the first “Kahler Files” book, was Sherman’s first published work, he has always been a writer.
“I’ve always written off and on, said Sherman. “When I was in medical school, I wrote poetry. I just wrote it for myself, not for anybody else.”
Sherman decided to write a novel after developing a serious illness in the early 1980s while working as a retinal surgeon at Hershey Medical Center in Pennsylvania. Looking for a way to support his wife and daughter even if he became unable to practice medicine, he turned to writing. His condition later improved, and he joined an ophthalmology practice in the Annapolis area. But even though he never had to earn a living as an author, he continues to write.
Early on, Sherman became concerned that his patients might be offended by some of the sexual and violent content in his books. Because of this, all of his books are written under the pen name Eric Safflind.
Adrian Kahler was originally based on Nero Wolfe, a brilliant, eccentric private detective created by mystery writer Rex Stout. But Sherman’s hero quickly diverged from the series it was based upon.
“It just developed a mind of its own and moved away from the classic ‘30s to ‘40s detective novels into something that had more of a paranormal overtone,” said Sherman.
Sherman also took a little bit of influence from “The Dresden Files,” a series by Jim Butcher about a private investigator and wizard named Harry Dresden. Although the two series are different, “The Dresden Files” gave Sherman inspiration and encouragement to write paranormal mystery books.
“It was not an initial stimulus to write, but I think reading a couple of those novels suggested to me that at least I was heading in the right direction,” Sherman said.
For each of his books, Sherman goes to the locations around the Chesapeake Bay where the scenes will take place and takes pictures to create the scenes visually in his head. Originally, he used 35-millimeter slides, which he would project onto a screen using a carousel. For “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer,” he graduated to using a digital camera. More recently, he’s started using videos.
“I’ve sort of evolved with the technology,” Sherman said.
Sherman is currently working on the sixth “Kahler Files” book, but it’s far from finished.
“At the moment, it’s just a big collection of notes and references,” said Sherman. “It really hasn’t turned into a book yet.”