Why Write Crime Fiction

Don’t you wish you could get back at men who are bullies and jerks, those women who are gold-diggers and narcissists? You can writing crime fiction.

I never wanted to hang out in a cop bar, or be a cop, but police work has always fascinated me. Most law enforcement jobs offer burst of excitement, danger, and thrilling action—in contrast to the way I made my living working on academic social science research projects.

Oh, research had its own set of puzzles and intrigues, its own small excitements from time to time. But I relish the dark side, a bit of noir, semi-hardboiled in fiction– the thrill me, chill me, scare-me-to-death aspect.

  1. In my fictional life I can dance on the dark side, speed into an alley in a Porsche after midnight, insult a gang banger, or talk back to a cop with impunity.
  2. I can be 32 again, and 5 foot ten. I can have a romance with a hard-bodied cop who can dance the tango.
  3. Goodness will prevail over evil and the villain will be punished. I guarantee it.
  4. In the name of research, I get to ride in the back seat of a police car, buy a pair of handcuffs, fire an AR-15, and pet a canine unit.
  5. I get to slide in my opinions on social issues. Good mysteries are aboutsomething, usually a social problem that has given rise to a crime. In my book On Behalf of the Family it was about honor killing. In Rip-Off it was about human trafficking. Believe me, I have opinions, but the trick is not to beat the reader over the head with them.
  6. I really like my fellow writers who like the stroll down dark alleys as much as I do. I love crime fiction fans who read and review my books.
  7. I can curse and swear and put gutter language in the mouths of my characters that I would never, ever say. I can let them have sex as much as I’d like, flaunt cleavage, and walk in five inch heels.
  8. I love the detectives in both of my police procedural series, one set in Santa Monica, the other in the peaceful village where I live in the central California mountains. Of course, Dave Mason is me, but he’s not me too. Same with Dex Stafford and Holly Seabright. I get to visit with them any time I like.
  9. I love puzzles. In the process of writing seven crime fiction novels, I’ve had to devise plots that sometimes seemed to have no resolution. But I get to tinker with them, set my characters in motion, and solve the puzzle.
  10. I get to visit exotic locales. Friends consider them strange choices. Chechnya, for example. I read Turkish and Chechen newspapers in English for years, yes years, to get the plots and characters right. I get to poke my nose down rat holes in the name of research that I’m sure has earned me a place on Homeland Security Watch lists.

But I’m harmless.  Really I am. I’m just a writer.  Here’s a sample of another aspect of writing crime fiction. Finishing.

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