Former prosecutor pens Macon-based legal mystery

awomack@macon.comNovember 11, 2013 


Former Bibb County State Court Solicitor Otis Scarbary holds a copy of his book “Leo’s Redemption” on Thursday across from the Bibb County Courthouse, which is mentioned in his book.


Years before Otis Scarbary became a prosecutor, he sat down with a pen and a yellow pad of paper.

Out flowed the start of a story about Leo Berry, a young prosecutor living in Macon.

Scarbary, then a general practicing attorney, eventually stowed away the few chapters he’d written in a file.

Decades later, after he’d worked 29 years as a prosecutor -- 16 of them as Bibb County’s State Court solicitor -- Scarbary dusted off the file as he prepared to retire at the end of last year.

“It’s been something I have wanted to do for a long time,” said Scarbary, 61. “I guess you could call it a bucket list kind of thing.”

Keeping part of his original first chapter, Scarbary self-published “Leo’s Redemption” this fall.

The legal mystery novel is a story about Berry, a prosecutor in his late 30s who inherits a journal when his grandfather dies. While reading the journal, Berry discovers hidden family secrets.

Meanwhile, the young prosecutor is assigned a murder case and soon discovers there are possible connections to his family.

Cindy Adams, Scarbary’s former chief assistant solicitor, was one of the first people to read the story before it was published.

Adams, now a prosecutor working in Crawford and Peach counties, said Scarbary asked her to critique the manuscript.

It didn’t take her long to recognize a character in the book that was based on her -- a woman with a penchant for ink pens.

Scarbary said he drew from his own life experiences while writing the book, a little at a time each day in his home office.

Some characters have similarities to real people, especially those who have worked at the Bibb County Courthouse, but Scarbary stresses that his creation is a work of fiction.

Berry, like Scarbary in his younger years, is a runner. The book mentions his running around cemeteries in the downtown Macon area.

Other characters have names similar to lawyers, judges and others who have frequented the Bibb County Courthouse in recent years, said Macon lawyer John Carter.

“It was really well-written,” said Carter, who has authored a couple of children’s novels and also was among the first to read Scarbary’s book.

Having spent nearly 15 years working with Scarbary, Adams said she knew he could write well.

“I just didn’t know he could write that creatively,” she said. “It’s a great read. It keeps you entertained and wanting to turn the page to the very end.

“I thought the story was amazing.”

Scarbary said he received positive feedback from other people who read his draft, and he decided to publish it through Amazon.

Although he holds no illusions that the novel will become a New York Times best-seller, Scarbary said he hopes Middle Georgia residents will enjoy the story.

The book is available on and as an ebook and in paperback. Scarbary also has a stash of copies for sale at home and in his car.

He said he aims to approach bookstores soon in hopes they will also carry copies.

If his first novel does well, Scarbary has ideas for a sequel.

In the meantime, he just started work on a second book in the same genre.

To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.

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