THE NOVEL THAT ALMOST WASN’T

sink rate front cover

The last thing a cop wants is publicity, or most cops, that is. I was one of the former. The best part of the cases I worked was often what was left out of the “official” reports. Initial and follow-up crime reports were to be fact based and no opinions, please. It was drilled into me from the police academy days to the detective bureau. Leave out the supposition, the off color dramatics and hit the elements of the crime. It wasn’t enough for me.

My first crime novel began several years before anyone knew about it. A secret project. My beautiful Child Bride finally figured it out when I was pounding away on the keyboard at my desk in the guest bedroom well after midnight. But there it rested and was almost forgotten. A few years passed and then came retirement. My old uniform patrol days partner, now also retired and a talented writer of stage plays, and his wonderful wife pushed me into letting them read the book. But there was a big problem. My cops in the book drove 90s Chevys and communicated by beeper and pay phone. Ancient artifacts by today’s standards. So, some idle retirement time was replaced by more pounding in the guest bedroom office and SINK RATE grew into up-to-date police cars and smart phones. But what remained the same was the depth of the characters. The story is really about the people. Good guys and bad. Bad guys have moms and sisters too.

But it goes back even before that. Back to a skinny little kid in a back bedroom and the two books a month Mom could afford to buy from the school program. The images the printed words formed in that young mind demanded more. More books. Reading was the world outside of poverty and small town cracked sidewalks and baseball on a vacant lot with the skin held on the ball by tape. That and Sky King in black and white on Saturday. Wonders, adventures, new things to learn about. I couldn’t get enough.

It’s what I know and it’s fun. Much of what I write about is based on real incidents from over thirty-six years in the business. Most of it was routine and matter of fact. But slipping around the side of a house in the dark with an unseen nut with a gun inside leaves an impression. When it all shakes out there is always more to it than what ends up in the papers or in court. That’s often the very best parts of it. I try to tell the story from all sides. Good guys and bad. My books follow them right from the beginning. The bad guy’s story and the good guys trying to figure out what happened and who did it.

SINK RATE is the first novel featuring our hero, state police Corporal Sam Deland. ROPE BREAK (still my favorite work, so far) followed, then SIDE SLIP re-told the story of a young cop’s murder from long ago fictionalized and modernized. GROUND EFFECT is the most recent release and continues the characters’ lives and mysteries with some very interesting additions. The titles are taken from sailplane (gliders to land lubbers) terminology. I stopped flying sailplanes years ago but the characters step in and take me with them up and away. Multi-dimensional people and places with evil creeps thrown in for a little chilling fun.

SINK RATE:

Corporal Sam Deland has a lot on his plate.  He’s a dog lover, single dad, jet pilot, likes girls and his tight knit state police squad is buried under the weight of an unsolved brutal double murder that has stunned his quiet upstate community.  The pressure mounts as Sam’s team tracks the bad guys into Philadelphia’s tough, gritty streets.  The characters are the real story though and with humor, hard work, and luck Sam’s team draws the reader’s mind to unexpected and surprising places. Realistic police work with a rich descriptive character and scene portrayal.

SINK RATE EXERPT:

Calvin felt the heat from the second shot. The blow hurt this time and drove into his back and down his legs. It felt like his feet were going to explode. He was looking right at the legs of his attacker less than a foot in front of him. His right side wasn’t following orders from his brain and he didn’t know if he had his gun in his hand or not. He thought, how odd it is that this guy actually has a crease in his jeans…

What else? Well, cops and robbers was only the beginning. Along life’s way I learned a bit about sailing ships and tramping through the wilder parts of this country. Historical fiction is my second love. The land and sea action/adventure novels, CAPTAIN’S CROSS and CAPTAIN’S SORTIE, set in colonial America, are tall tales inspired by real history and some of my Huguenot ancestors. From the novel that almost wasn’t to more stories from the present and past.

What got you started writing and where has it taken you?

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