Welcome to my debut blog.
Imagine for a moment you are a street cop in 1951. You and your partner are patrolling the roughest neighborhood in the fast-growing post-war city of Denver, Colorado. You stop to check out a possible break-in at a pawnshop.
Within minutes, your partner is dead.
Yet you have no clue how the killer pulled it off and escaped.
More baffling, your partner is murdered while he’s burglarizing the pawnshop. But that can't be possible. The man you knew was so by-the-book he wouldn't accept free coffee or a little "juice" under the table. Fellow cops scornfully nicknamed him “Saint Benedict.”
Emotionally devastating to you, no doubt. Baffling. Shocking. But wait, there’s more.
What if this is the second time in your short but headline-grabbing police career that a partner is murdered while on duty with you?
“I didn’t like the tone of his voice. I knew
what he was thinking. What the others standing
around us were thinking. How the hell did
another partner end up dead—yet you end up alive?”
What would be the emotional and psychological impact on you? What might other cops say behind your back? To your face? How would your superiors treat you? Or homicide? What impact on your career? On your marriage?
Welcome to the dark world of street cop Joe Stryker in The Big Dive, the sequel to my award-winning Murder on the Tracks, where Joe made his debut.
I plan to release The Big Dive August 14. In the meantime, I thought it would be fun--and I hope informative—to write a series of blogs about the creation of the novel. Go behind the scenes, so to speak.
Plenty of powerful scenes to go behind. For Joe, the aftermath is much more than coping with the emotional and psychological consequences of having a partner murdered in the line of duty—for the second time. He also must deal with the baffling questions of what happened that night and why.
To protect his dead partner’s unsullied reputation—and save his own career—Joe must lie to investigators and his wife and nearly everyone else while he operates in the shadows to discover the truth.
All while dodging a homicide detective (a nemesis from the first book) hell-bent to pin the crimes on Joe.
The hunt for answers will lead to a dangerous ring of corrupt cops, a suspected McCarthy-era communist agent, and a dark secret reaching back to the unjust internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.
Rich material to explore in my future posts. Are you aware that Denver experienced a major scandal decades ago involving corrupt cops? How familiar are you with the infamous Japanese-American relocation camps, which keep pushing their way into today’s headlines? Or the communist hysteria of the 1950s?
I’ll explore these fascinating historical topics and how they inspired elements of the plot. I’ll poke into the original inspiration for the story and its characters, where the title came from, and whatever else catches my fancy.
Along the way, I'll throw in the occasional blog not directly related to The Big Dive. A book review, how I plot my books (a question I often am asked), how I approach the art of writing mysteries—even throw in something personal (though in a way, all writing is at its core, deeply personal).
If you love whodunits, I hope you’ll join me on this new adventure. I’ll post once or twice a week. I encourage you to make comments, ask questions, or raise topics you’d like addressed.
Oh, and I would deeply appreciate it if you would take a moment to share my posts with your friends who enjoy mysteries.
See you next time when I discuss the first of the two major historical events behind the story of The Big Dive.
Bruce Most is an award-winning mystery novelist and short-story writer, and former freelance writer. His forthcoming The Big Dive is the sequel to the award-winning Murder on the Tracks, which featured a street cop investigating a string of murders in 1949 Denver. He's also written the award-winning Rope Burn, involving cattle rustling and murder in contemporary Wyoming ranch country, and Bonded for Murder and Missing Bonds, featuring feisty Denver bail bondswoman, Ruby Dark. A free short story about Ruby can be found under Short Stories.