Mysteries and thrillers – they make us tense, they keep us guessing and turning the page. The intrigue can be even more compelling if the author is a former sheriff and police detective. How much of this insanity is actually true? Read on to find out how author Rick Reed crafts his books.
WOTJ: In one paragraph, tell us about your new book, Final Justice.
Rick: Final Justice will be released in September 2013. It is the third Detective Jack Murphy book, but all three books can be read as stand-alone. In this book, Jack’s ex-wife gets engaged to the Chief Deputy Prosecutor, who Jack knows as a skirt-chasing scoundrel. Then body parts show up at a landfill and Jack is definitely having a bad day. This book explores corruption in the criminal justice system and how greed and power can drive good men to commit evil acts.
WOTJ: How much of your fiction is based on your real-life experiences in law enforcement?
Rick: Almost all of it. I’ve had a very full and active career. I started as an investigator for a Circuit Court judge, then as a Deputy Sheriff, and finally as a Police Detective Sergeant in the Violent Crimes Unit. Most of the characters are built from bits and pieces of real characters I’ve known. Because I’m familiar with them I can give them their own unique voice and behavior.
WOTJ: Who is your favorite crime author?
Rick: There are several. Nelson DeMille is at the top. John Sandford is a close second.
WOTJ: There’s a substantial difference between the job skills of an author versus sheriff. What has been the biggest challenge?
Rick: I started my writing career when I was a police detective and captured a serial killer. Writing a true crime book about that experience was almost like writing a probable cause affidavit for court. When I switched to fiction it was a whole new world for me as a writer. My protagonist, Jack Murphy, would never be able to do the things he does if he was a real cop. He represents what I would have liked to be, but because of little things like the Constitution, I was unable to act on those feelings.
WOTJ: How do you handle negative reviews?
Rick: People who can’t write, complain. I look for ways of improving my writing, but you can’t please everyone. If someone brings up a valid point that I can address I try to learn from it. If they just want to rattle your cage, there’s not much you can do.
WOTJ: You’ve written both fiction and nonfiction. Which genre do you prefer and why?
Rick: I will never write a true crime book again. A cookbook, maybe. But I prefer to write fiction. It lets you create an entire world, and escape into that world for a few hours each day. Nonfiction doesn’t allow that.
WOTJ: Does it rankle when authors get the details of detective work wrong?
Rick: No. There are many ways of doing an investigation. As long as someone writes a good story I don’t mind if they fire a six-shot revolver ten times without reloading. Shows like CSI are so farfetched that they are laughable, but the story is entertaining, and that’s what writing is about.
WOTJ: I see your book, Cruelest Cut, has been translated in Polish. Do you worry that some of the content will be lost or misconstrued during the translation?
Rick: It always is. The German edition came out last year and I received numerous bad reviews because of grammar and spelling from people that didn’t understand that I didn’t write the German version. Whoever translated is responsible for the correctness of the story, and that is hard to do sometimes because there may be a difference in nuance. I’m just happy that I have a bigger audience and hope they are forgiving of my poor Polish and German. Haha.
WOTJ: What is your favorite crime TV show?
Rick: The Walking Dead. Seriously, I don’t have one. I try not to watch crime shows because they cut so many corners that I don’t want to subconsciously do that in my writing. If they made my Jack Murphy novels into a TV series, I might watch that.
WOTJ: You were a co-author with Steven Walker on your nonfiction book, Blood Trail. What was it like collaborating on a book?
Rick: It’s very difficult, especially when one author is in Pennsylvania and one in Indiana. But despite the different writing styles, it was a very enjoyable experience.
I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about Rick Reed. To learn more visit his website (www.Rickreedbooks.com or email Rick@RickReedBooks.com): eBooks and softcover are available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.