First novel by slain Capital Gazette columnist Rob Hiaasen to be published

The late Rob Hiaasen, who was one of five employees slain on June 28 after a gunman entered the Capital Gazette newsroom, will publish his first novel posthumously.

“Float Plan” will be released Sept. 15 by Loyola University’s Apprentice House Press. Proceeds will be donated to Everytown for Gun Safety, an advocacy group that aims to build safer communities by ending gun violence.


The journalist’s widow, Maria Hiaasen, called the novel’s publication “bittersweet” in a publishing house news release and noted that publishing the novel was “a lifelong dream” of her husband’s.

On July 23, 1989, Rob Hiaasen wrote in a journal that he was keeping for his then-infant son, Ben: “This preoccupation of mine to be a novelist haunts me. It preys on my insecurities as a writer.”


Maria Hiaasen said in the release that her husband worked on the novel on nights and weekends from their Timonium home and spent years trying to perfect his creation. He filled moleskin notebooks with notes about the characters which he left on his bedroom nightstand, in his briefcase and his car.

“Our family is pleased that readers will get to experience this comic tale of a midlife crisis set in Rob’s beloved Annapolis,” she said in the release. “We take great pride and joy in seeing the fulfillment of Rob’s dream — and our dream for him.”

“Float Plan” tells the story of algebra teacher Will Larkin, who in one disastrous year loses his marriage, job, boat and basset hound, Dean. The novel features a chainsaw attack on a gazebo, a life-saving mozzarella stick — and a vet tech named Parker Cool who just might help steer Will toward forgiveness, happiness and a second chance at love.

In addition to the 59-year-old Hiaasen, those killed in the June 28 shooting included editorial page editor Gerald Fischman, 61; sports reporter John McNamara, 56; sales assistant Rebecca Smith, 34; and community beat reporter and editor Wendi Winters, 65.

Jarrod Ramos, 38, of Laurel has been charged with first-degree murder in the deaths and is being held without bail. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

“Float Plan” is available for pre-order at