A dark stain in American history has resurfaced in the news, over 75 years after its occurrence. That dark stain also inspired a major plot line that runs through my historical mystery The Big Dive.
The notion of police offers stealing from the very people they were sworn to protect seemed like the perfect crime. Yet most of Denver’s corrupt cops found themselves in handcuffs by the end of 1961.
Being a crooked cop in Denver in the 1950s was easy.
Oh, there had always been the petty graft common to many police departments: free meals and coffee from local diners, free cigarettes and booze from bar owners, rolling drunks, and cash or free merchandise from store owners for overlooking code violations.
Like many authors, I draw inspiration for stories from real life. Why make up stuff when our lives, our history, our culture offer an abundance of rich material? Truth is stranger than fiction.
The personal fallout for Joe Stryker in the wake of his partner’s murder drives the story. But the intersecting plotlines that created his nightmare derive from two very real events in Denver and Colorado history.
Bruce Most is an award-winning mystery novelist and short-story writer. His latest novel, The Big Dive, is the sequel to the award-winning Murder on the Tracks, which features a street cop seeking redemption while investigating a string of murders in 1949 Denver. His award-winning Rope Burn involves cattle rustling and murder in contemporary Wyoming ranch country. Bonded for Murder and Missing Bonds features feisty Denver bail bondswoman, Ruby Dark. A free short story about Ruby can be found under Short Stories.