INTRODUCTION: In which I talk about the challenges and coincidences in combining my writing career with my other full time gig as a veteran detective with the Los Angeles Police Department.
RUNNING WYLDE: I’ve been a runner all my life, or at least as much of it as I can remember. I’d always wanted to write a story around a runner, but it wasn’t until a real life incident involving an LAPD officer who went running in the Santa Monica Mountains and never returned that I found the heart of Running Wylde.
THE KING OF PING: The King of Ping is a memoir piece written for my father’s 75th birthday. Memory is a funny thing, so if things didn’t happen exactly this way, they should have done.
CELTIC NOIR: Written in 2001 for the anthology Murder Most Celtic: Tall Tales Of Irish Mayhem edited by Martin H. Greenberg, Celtic Noir is the tale of a nasty little Irish bastard who’d as soon as cut you as kiss you, my kind of guy.
MERCY: Written for the anthology Flesh & Blood: Dark Desires Mercy started out as an ‘erotic tale of crime and passion’ and ended up being all that with a nasty little twist.
CONCRETE KILLER: In the mid-eighties, I was asked to write a series of non-fiction tales based on true police incidents in which I had been involved. The timeframe is 1979. I was still working uniformed patrol at the time, and was about to experience a career blunder like no other.
SQUEEZE PLAY: Squeeze Play, the second of the fact-based stories is based on occurred on New Year's Eve 1980, shortly after I'd been assigned as a detective trainee, and definitely required a change of undershorts after it came to a close.
QUINT AND THE BRACEROS: Quint and the Braceros was nominated for the Private Eye Writers of America's Shamus award in 1984 in the category of Best Short Story of the Year.
THE MAN WHO SHOT TRINITY VALANCE: The Man Who Shot Trinity Valance started with the title. I keep a journal full of plot ideas, character names, interesting quotes, and titles that strike me as having particular resonance.
EBENEEZER: The vision of Ebenezer Scrooge as a tormented private eye gave rise to this stream-of-consciousness updating of the Dickens's classic, A Christmas Carol. My warped enjoyment of mixing metaphors and stabs at Moby Dick and other classics should also be apparent.
DERRINGER: For me, stories begin in several ways—a plot twist, an intriguing title, or a character taking life as my creative muscles engage in intercourse. Derringer began with the character of Blue MacKenzie, a burned-out, ex-CIA agent, turned body-building private eye.
THE LEGENDS OF CHARLIE MCQUARKLE: Most police personnel are aware motorcycle cops are a breed apart. They have a screw loose. Officer Charlie McQuarkle is no exception to the stereotype.
NIGHT OF THE FRANKENGOLFER: Every once in a while, you have to break loose from commercial constraints and write something just for the hell of it.
THE FRAMING GAME: Originally written for Bad Blood, a young adult mystery anthology edited by Mary Higgins Clark.
THE SAMARITAN: The Samaritan was my first published work of fiction. It appeared in an issue of Mike Shayne's Mystery Magazine (1982) during the last years of that lamented publication's existence.
DEAD EASY: Dead Easy also made it into the pages of Mike Shayne's Mystery Magazine (1983). I admire the original pulp writers tremendously, and like to think I was able to join their ranks, if only for an issue or two, in one of the last surviving pulp magazines.
GOING POSTAL: A quick little story designed as a one-page mystery for the back of Woman's Magazine.