Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the one hundred and seventeenth, is of crime thriller author Rick Reed.
Rick Reed was a member of the Evansville Police Department and Vanderburgh County Sheriff Department for 30 years. He worked as an investigator in the Criminal Investigations Unit from 1987 until 2003 when he was promoted from Detective to the rank of Detective Sergeant. He also served as a lead negotiator with the Hostage Negotiation Team. He is also a handwriting expert and received his training from the U.S. Secret Service Academy in Georgia.
His last position was commander of the Internal Affairs Office. That was what finally drove him out of police work and into an assistant professor position at Ivy Tech Community College in Evansville.
His acclaimed book, BLOOD TRAIL, is the true account of one of the homicides he investigated in 2000 that unearthed a serial killer with fourteen victims.
He retired from teaching in 2011 and moved to San Francisco, California, where he writes a serial killer-fiction series for Kensington Books.
THE CRUELEST CUT has been translated into German and Polish.
The most recent release, THE COLDEST FEAR, is the second in a series of detective Jack Murphy novels and was released in September 2011. All books are available as e-books.
Reed is busy with the third book in the series, and is working on three more.
And now from the author himself:
I didn’t start out to be a writer like most authors, but I have always been a voracious reader. In 1999, while living in a cramped apartment, working third shift as a police detective, newly divorced and trying to find ways to burn off the stress, I discovered that I enjoyed making up police stories.
Since I never expected to find an agent, much less a publisher, I started an underground police department newspaper. It was short and crude and was written as a celebrity roast. The celebrities were whatever unlucky police officer, or politician, I had in my sights for some mischievous—not malicious—fun. The paper was called THE MONKEY BOY GAZETTE, and there was an issue every month for ten years before my identity was discovered and unable to continue. Before that happened though, I had a circulation of about one thousand readers, including the entire police department, city government, and local FBI. After I was put out of the underground press business, I was told that my stories were being mailed all over the country to other law enforcement agencies, including the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. My paper had become a collector’s item, and the victims of the stories were framing them and hanging them in their offices and homes.
In 2000 I had the distinction to be one of the law enforcement officers to ever catch a serial killer. My guy was Joseph Weldon Brown, whom I captured in Ohio where he had fled after killing his 14th and final victim. And that was where I got my start as a published writer.
So my first book was a true crime and was co-authored with a writer from Pennsylvania who continues to write true crime. I didn’t enjoy writing true crime and finally convinced my editor, Michaela Hamilton, at Kensington Books, that I could write fiction.
Over the span of my almost thirty years in law enforcement, I have pretty well seen and done it all. That’s important because I have an unlimited amount of material to bring to my fiction. I still have some of the tapes of my interviews of suspects, victims and witnesses. When I need a new character, I don’t have far to go.
The interviews with the serial killer gave me a lot of insight into the mind of someone that has little to no conscience. I thought that only described my ex-wife until I met Joe Brown. I interviewed Joe inside the Chaplains Office of Indiana’s Supermax prison, Wabash Valley Corrections. This is the same prison where the Oklahoma City Bomber, Timothy McVeigh, was housed and executed in 2000.
During one of the marathon interviews with Joe, he suddenly lurched out of his chair, grabbed me by the throat with both hands, and yelled, “I killed her just like that!” He didn’t hurt me, he was trying to scare me. It worked. But the interview continued, and he repeated his reenactment one more time before he agreed not to choke me while we were talking.
The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with mystery author James M Copeland– the four hundred and eighty-fourth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.
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Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.