COPS WRITING CRIME
"I pulled his jaw down with my knife hand, and rammed his bloodied tackle into his mouth. I smiled at him, just as I had fantasized about doing, as he gagged to death on his own genitals."
- From the Harry short story, "White Powder, Black Leather, Grey Badges".
- From the Harry short story, "White Powder, Black Leather, Grey Badges".
As an ex-cop who writes crime fiction, one of my key desires with the genre is realism. On the occasions I have read crime fiction written by other ex-cops, I have never failed to really appreciate and enjoy the realism those authors impart to their work.
I've so far read 4 crime fiction authors who have been cops, or a private eye in one famous case. My first, and this was when I was a young cop myself, was Joseph Wambaugh from the USA. Then came another American, Dashiell Hammett, a PI in his time, and one of the original masters of the hard-boiled form, which has become my all-out favourite sub-genre, and hence what I write in my own work. Next was a fellow Sydney-sider and ex-cop from Australia, P.M. Newton. Most recently I discovered a French ex-cop, Laurent Guillaume, who has one of his book translated into English.
So in early 2017, I decided upon a little project to research a list of all the cops and ex-cops, and those PIs, who have become crime fiction authors. This page is my library of them. And the next part of my project is to read at least one example from all of them.
One of my 2018 reading goals is to add some of these brother and sister officers-turned-authors to my reading ventures. I've already got a few on my TBR pile!
Well, the "little" project turned out to be rather more, as you will see below. I'm both impressed and excited at how many cops and ex-cops have turned to writing crime fiction. Whilst the vast majority of the authors below have served (or are still serving) as police officers, The Squad does also include some authors who don't technically fit within the "cop" definition. So, to explain that further I offer these words (because the underlying theme to this project is realism). Those PIs who have turned to writing crime fiction (about PIs) do qualify, and, of course, I set that bar early on in the project with the wonderful Dashiell Hammett. I've also found a couple of authors who have spent many years in some non-officer role with law enforcement, but still working the scene on a daily basis. So I've let them qualify for The Squad as well, on the basis that whilst they may not technically have worn a badge, they've still lived and breathed the milieu, and therefore are in a position to write wonderfully realistic crime fiction.
So, read on for the roll call of former police officers, former detectives, and former private investigators, who have all gone on to become crime fiction writers.
WELCOME TO THE SQUAD!
February 2018: Given the size our Squad has now grown to, I thought an alphabetical index up front might be useful. The numbers in brackets for each author refers to their position on The Squad list, being the order in which I found their name to add to our group. So just keep scrolling to peruse the list in its order.
ALPHABETICAL LISTING (as at 27 July 2018)
ALLAN, Clive (104)
ALLEN, Christopher (106)
ALLEN, Richard (28)
AMATO, Angela (45)
ANDERSON, Kent (54)
ANDREWS, Mark (24)
BAANTJER, A.C. (76)
BEALL, Will (55)
BENJAMIN, Carol Lea (78)
BISHOP, Paul (77)
BLACK, Michael A. (50)
BLACKWELL, Nathan (41)
BOYCE, Trudy Nan (120)
BRADLEY, Rebecca (51)
BRIDGESTOCK, R.C. (118)
BRUNING, Marcus (101)
BURCELL, Robin (38)
BURKE, Laura (130)
BURTON KING, Mary (21)
BUSBY, Roger (79)
CAMPBELL, Colin (129)
CAMPBELL, Karen (96)
CHAMBERS, Pam (98)
CLAUSEN, Lowen (65)
COFFIN, Bruce Robert (42)
CRAIG, Alan (128)
CROUCHER, Michael (121)
CUTTS, Lisa (60)
DAVIS, Karen M. (07)
DE LA MOTTE, Anders (93)
DELANEY, Luke (09)
DONAGHUE, Darryl (23)
DOUTHWAITE, Ian (105)
DRUMMOND, Laurie Lynn (37)
DUFF, Scott (68)
EASTON, Don (26)
ELLIOTT, Wayne (31)
ERSKINE, Y.A. (69)
FERRIS, Fleur (94)
FILIPPELLO, Rosanna (27)
FINCH, Paul (73)
FOWLER, Michael (108)
FRAZIER, Sunny (19)
FREEDMAN, S.M. (116)
FULLER, Mike (117)
GALLAGHER, Charlie (109)
GIUTTARI, Michele (70)
GOFFA, Martin (71)
GORES, Joe (83)
GRIFFIN, Dennis (43)
GRIFFIN, Neal (18)
GRZEGORZEK, Paul (30)
GUILLAUME, Laurent (05)
HALL, Parnell (87)
HAMMETT, Dashiell (03)
HARRISON, Paul (62)
HARSTAD, Donald (35)
HASTINGS, Lewis (125)
HAWKINS, James (124)
HEALY, Jeremiah (81)
HEFFERON, Joe (34)
HENSLEY, J.J. (100)
HIGGINS, Simon (48)
HORST, Jørn Lier (56)
HUGGINS, James Byron (10)
ISON, Graham (74)
JACOBELLIS, Nick (47)
JAMES, Gregory (22)
JENKINS, Jack (44)
JOENSUU, Matti Yrjänä (57)
KAROLINA, Anna (95)
KARPELA, Totti (59)
KASSAY, Gary (111)
KELEMEN, Ed (99)
KENNEALY, Jerry (80)
KILPI, Marko (58)
LANCASTER, Neil (132)
LEES, Barry (119)
LOCK, Joan (29)
LONDON, Kate (92)
LOW, Neil (17)
LYNCH, Sean (131)
MACKINTOSH, Clare (08)
MALDONADO, Isabella (39)
MARININA, Alexandra (97)
MARTIN, Bob (66)
MAYOR, Archer (67)
McKINNEY, Joe (49)
McLEAN, Angus (61)
MITCHELL, Caroline (13)
MITCHELL, R.J. (16)
NEWTON, P.M. (04)
NICHOLS, Thomas J. (63)
NIKKEL, William (112)
O'CONNOR, Daniel (107)
O’KEEFE, Michael (40)
OZEROFF, Barry (33)
PATRICK, Ian (52)
PATTERSON, A.B. (01)
PEACE, J.M. (06)
PEARCE, Roger (25)
PLIMMER, John (126)
PRESTON, Lisa (113)
PUTNAM, David (114)
REDMOND, Lissa Marie (102)
REED, Rick (15)
RHEA, Nicholas (46)
RIGBEY, John (90)
RODGERS, Garry (53)
ROSENBERG, Nancy Taylor (85)
ROSS, Jonathan (86)
RYAN, Desmond P. (133)
RYAN, Kathleen A. (103)
SAYLES, Ryan (20)
SCHAFFER, Bernard (115)
SLATER, Sean (127)
SMITH, Gavin (91)
SWINSON, David (64)
TARJÁNYI, Péter (123)
THIEM, Brian (122)
THOMAS, Mike (14)
THOMSON, Basil (75)
UHNAK, Dorothy (11)
van de WETERING, Janwillem (84)
VIDECETTE, David (72)
WAINWRIGHT, John (89)
WAMBAUGH, Jospeh (02)
WILLS, John M. (12)
WINSLOW, Don (88)
WOOD, Ted (82)
WORLEY, Mike (32)
WYATT, Simon (110)
ZAFIRO, Frank (36)
A.B. PATTERSON - Australia.
Well, you're on my website...
Anyway, I'm a former WA Police detective, and I worked corruption cases at the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption. I'm now a licensed PI.
My protagonist is PI Harry Kenmare, featuring in Harry's World (2015). The sequel, Harry's Quest, will be out this year. I've also had some short fiction published in Switchblade magazine.
JOSEPH WAMBAUGH - USA.
Wambaugh served with the LAPD.
He has been a prolific author, and I fondly remember reading some of his when I was a serving officer myself. The realism gripped me then, as it still does now.
Some examples: The Choirboys (1975), The New Centurions (1971), or The Blue Knight (1972). And there are a lot more, as well as some non-fiction.
DASHIELL HAMMETT - USA. (Deceased 1961)
Hammett needs no introduction, being the father of the hard-boiled school. He wrote private eye novels, but he had worked as a PI for the Pinkertons Agency, so was able to bring his experience to bear on the realism of his writing. He joins the Squad on that basis.
He wrote several novels, as well as numerous short stories. Perhaps his most famous title: The Maltese Falcon (1930).
P.M. NEWTON - Australia.
Newton is formerly a detective in the NSW Police.
So far, two crime novels with the protagonist Detective Nhu "Ned" Kelly, set in Sydney.
See: The Old School (2010) and Beams Falling (2014).
LAURENT GUILLAUME - France.
Guillaume is a former French police officer and detective, and also a police advisor in Mali.
He has written a number of novels, but only one has so far been translated into English. White Leopard (2015) is set in Mali, and features the protagonist PI Solo Camara. I have to admit this is a favourite of mine in the hard-boiled class.
I couldn't find a specific website, but check out: www.lefrenchbook.com
J.M. PEACE - Australia.
Peace is still a serving officer in the Queensland Police.
So far, two crime novels with the protagonist Constable Sammi Willis. A third is in progress...
See: A Time To Run (2015) and The Twisted Knot (2016).
KAREN M. DAVIS - Australia.
Davis is formerly a detective in the NSW Police.
So far, two crime novels with the protagonist Detective Lexie Rogers. The third is due on the shelves in the next few months...
See: Sinister Intent (2013) and Deadly Obsession (2014).
CLARE MACKINTOSH - UK.
Mackintosh served as a detective in the British Police (Thames Valley Police Force).
Two crime novels: I Let You Go (2015) and I See You (2016).
LUKE DELANEY - UK.
Delaney was a detective in the Metropolitan Police (London).
A series of crime novels with the protagonist DI Sean Corrigan.
An example: Cold Killing (2013).
CAROLINE MITCHELL - UK.
Mitchell served as a detective in the British Police (not sure which Force).
A series of crime novels with the protagonist DC Jennifer Knight.
An example: Don't Turn Around (2015).
RICK REED - USA.
Reed was a police detective in Indiana.
He has written a number of crime novels with the protagonist Detective Jack Murphy.
An example: The Cruelest Cut (2010).
R.J. MITCHELL - UK.
Mitchell served with the Strathclyde Police (Scotland - U.K.)
A series of crime novels with the protagonist DS Gus Thoroughgood, and other works.
An example: Parallel Lines (2011).
SUNNY FRAZIER - USA.
Frazier spent years as an "undercover narcotics secretary" with the Fresno Sheriff in California. I'm not quite sure whether she was a police officer, but clearly she worked the scene in law enforcement and now writes crime, amongst other things, so I've included her in the Squad.
An example: Where Angels Fear (2009).
RYAN SAYLES - USA.
Sayles was a police officer in Kansas.
He has a number of novels to his name.
An example: The Subtle Art of Brutality (2012).
No website found, but his blog is at: vitriolandbarbies.wordpress.com
MARY BURTON KING - USA.
King was a criminal investigator with the US Navy's NCIS.
She has several novels to her name, with some supernatural aspects to crime.
An example: Beatrice Belladonna's Black Magic Web (2014).
DARRYL DONAGHUE - UK.
Donaghue was a detective with the UK Police (Metropolitan, I believe).
A series of crime novels with the protagonist PC Sarah Gladstone.
An example: A Journal of Sin (2013).
ROGER PEARCE - UK.
Pearce was a senior officer in New Scotland Yard. A number of novels with the protagonist DCI John Kerr - blend of crime and thriller.
First one: Agent of the State (2012).
DON EASTON - CANADA.
Easton was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. A number of novels with the protagonist Jack Taggart, of the Mounties (RCMP).
An example: Loose Ends (2005).
RICHARD ALLEN - UK.
Allen was an officer with one of the Police Forces in the United Kingdom. A number of novels with the protagonist Superintendent Mark Faraday.
An example: Dirty Business (2012).
JOAN LOCK - UK.
Lock was an officer with one of the Police Forces in the United Kingdom. A number of novels (historical crime set in Victorian London) with the protagonist Inspector Best. (Lock also writes non-fiction crime and police works).
An example: Dead Image (2000).
MIKE WORLEY - USA.
Worley was an officer with the Idaho Police Department. A number of novels with the protagonist Detective Angela Masters.
An example: Retribution (2012).
DONALD HARSTAD - USA.
Harstad was an officer (Deputy Sheriff) with the Iowa Police Department. A large number of novels.
An example (his debut): Eleven Days (1998).
ROBIN BURCELL - USA.
Burcell was an officer with the Lodi Police Department for over 20 years (their first female officer). A large number of novels, TV tie-ins, and now co-authoring with Clive Cussler.
An example: Face of a Killer (2008).
ISABELLA MALDONADO - USA.
Maldonado was an officer with a US Police Department for over 20 years. One novel, another one coming, and some short story anthologies.
An example (her debut novel): Blood's Echo (2017).
BRUCE ROBERT COFFIN - USA.
Coffin was an officer and detective sergeant with the Portland Police Department, Maine, for over 25 years. He also worked in the FBI for several years.
Already has three novels out with the protagonist Det.Sgt. John Byron.
An example (his debut): Among the Shadows (2016).
DENNIS GRIFFIN - USA.
Griffin was an officer in New York State for many years.
He has written a number of crime fiction works, and also pens crime non-fiction.
An example of his fiction: Vegas Vixen (2008).
NICHOLAS RHEA - UK. (Deceased 2017)
Rhea (pen name of Peter Walker) was an officer in the Yorkshire Police in the UK in the 60s. His Constable series became the basis for the well known TV series Heartbeat.
One example from many: Constable at the Gate (1997).
SIMON HIGGINS - AUSTRALIA.
Another fellow Aussie to join the Squad - Higgins is a former officer with the South Australia Police.
He writes a variety of genres, mainly YA, but with crime as well.
A crime example: Doctor Id (1998).
JOE McKINNEY - USA.
McKinney is a serving officer with the San Antonio PD in Texas.
He writes mainly in the horror genre, but also some crime. Looks like some good genre blending as well.
A crime example: Quarantined (2009).
MICHAEL A. BLACK - USA.
Black was a long-serving officer in the Matteson, Illinois PD.
He has numerous crime books to his name, as he started writing crime fiction well before leaving the Force.
An example: A Killing Frost (2002).
GARRY RODGERS - CANADA.
Rodgers was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including as a homicide investigator. A number of novels, as well as some non-fiction.
An example: No Witnesses To Nothing (2012).
JØRN LIER HORST - NORWAY.
Horst was a Senior Investigating Officer with the Norwegian Police.
He has written multiple crime fiction titles, and a couple of them have been translated into English.
An example: Closed For Winter (2011).
MARKO KILPI - FINLAND.
Kilpi is still a serving officer with the Kuopio Police in Finland. He has written a few crime fiction works, but unfortunately I haven't seen any English language versions.
An example: Kuolemantuomio (Undertaker) (2017).
LISA CUTTS - UK.
Cutts is still a serving officer (detective) with the Kent Police in the UK.
She has written several crime fiction works.
An example: Mercy Killing (2016).
ANGUS McLEAN - NEW ZEALAND.
McLean (a pseudonym) is still a serving officer with the New Zealand Police. He has written numerous crime fiction novels.
An example: Dirty Deeds (2015).
PAUL HARRISON - UK.
Harrison was a detective with a UK Police Force and served for 30 years. Most of his writing is true crime, but he has recently ventured into crime fiction.
An example: Revenge of the Malakim (2017).
THOMAS J. NICHOLS - USA.
Nichols retired as Chief of Police with the Lubbock PD in Texas. He has written a few novels, of which a couple are crime fiction.
An example: Color of the Prism (2009).
ARCHER MAYOR - USA.
Mayor has worked in numerous jobs in his career, but one of them was a stint (including as a detective) with the Windham County PD in Vermont. He has written a large number of crime novels, the below example being the 28th in a series.
An example: Trace (2017).
MICHELE GIUTTARI - ITALY.
Giuttari was a long-serving officer in Italian law enforcement, including the Florence Police and other agencies. He has written multiple crime novels.
An example: Death Under a Tuscan Sun (2015).
DAVID VIDECETTE - UK.
Videcette was a detective with Scotland Yard in the UK Metropolitan Police. I've found two novels he has written so far.
An example: The Theseus Paradox (2015).
PAUL FINCH - UK.
Finch served with the Greater Manchester Police, and then became a journalist; as well, of course, a writer of crime fiction - he has numerous titles to his name. He also wrote scripts for the very popular British TV series, The Bill.
An example: Stalkers (2013).
ROGER BUSBY - UK.
Busby served with the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary as a Force Information Officer (media officer) for 22 years. I'm not sure if that was a sworn officer role, or a civilian role, but 22 years of front line work gets him into The Squad. He has written multiple crime fiction novels.
An example: Snowman (1987).
JERRY KENNEALY - USA.
Kennealy served with the San Francisco PD and then worked as a PI. Great combination if you ask me! He has written numerous crime fiction novels.
An example: Polo Solo (1987).
JEREMIAH HEALY - USA. (Deceased 2014)
Healy served with the US Military Police and also as a Sheriff's Officer, aside from becoming a lawyer. He wrote numerous crime fiction novels.
An example: Blunt Darts (1984).
Website: www.jeremiahhealy.com The website is still running.
JANWILLEM van de WETERING - NETHERLANDS. (Deceased 2008)
van de Wetering was a prolific Dutch author who also served for years in the Amsterdam Reserve Police (part-time policing). Apart from crime, he also wrote other genres, including books for children. He wrote numerous crime fiction novels.
An example: The Corpse on the Dike (1976).
NANCY TAYLOR ROSENBERG - USA. (Deceased 2017)
Rosenberg served with 3 police departments in her law enforcement career - Dallas PD, New Mexico PD, and Ventura PD - before becoming a very successful crime writer. She wrote numerous crime fiction novels.
An example: Mitigating Circumstances (1993).
Website: www.nancytrosenberg.com The website is still running.
PARNELL HALL - USA.
Hall worked as a PI in New York, amongst other occupations, and turned to writing along the way. His PI series features the protagonist PI Stanley Hastings in numerous books.
An example: Detective (1987).
DON WINSLOW - USA.
Winslow is now a major name in crime fiction, but he also had earlier days as a PI, in both New York and California. He's gone on to pen numerous crime fiction titles.
An example, his most recent: The Force (2017).
FLEUR FERRIS - AUSTRALIA.
Ferris served with, I believe, the Victoria Police. She has written several crime fiction titles in the YA genre.
An example (her debut): Risk (2015).
ANNA KAROLINA - SWEDEN.
Karolina served with the Stockholm Police. She has written several crime fiction titles so far, although I could only find one translated into English.
An example: Savage Congress (2010).
Website: www.annakarolina.nu (in Swedish)
KAREN CAMPBELL - UK.
Campbell served with the Strathclyde Police in Scotland. She has written four crime fiction titles so far, as well as some other works.
Her crime debut: The Twilight Time (2008).
ALEXANDRA MARININA - RUSSIA.
(The pen name for Marina Alexeyeva). Marinina served with the Russian Police as a criminologist specialist becoming a Lieutenant. From what I can find, I think she was with the Moscow Police, before leaving to take up full-time crime writing. She has written dozens of crime fiction books in Russian. I've found some translated into French and German, but none into English (although the Abebooks reference for the title cited says it is a French and English version - but it looks only French to me!)
An example: Le Styliste (2012).
Website: www.marinina.ru (in Russian)
PAM CHAMBERS - UK.
Chambers served with the police in the UK, but I haven't found any reference as to which police force. She has written her first crime fiction title, which is touted as being the first in a series.
Her debut: The Thirteenth Torment (2012).
J.J.HENSLEY - USA.
Hensley served as a police officer in the US, although I can't see any reference to which police department. He also served in the US Secret Service, before turning to writing. He has written a number of crime fiction novels.
His debut: Resolve (2013).
MARCUS BRUNING - USA.
Burning served as a police officer with the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office for nearly 30 years. He writes a variety of material, but has ventured into crime fiction.
His debut (written with JEN WRIGHT): Relentless (2015).
LISSA MARIE REDMOND - USA.
Redmond served as a police officer with the City of Buffalo PD. She writes in a number of genres, including crime fiction.
A crime example: A Cold Day in Hell (2018).
KATHLEEN A. RYAN - USA.
Ryan served as a police officer with the Suffolk County PD on Long Island. She writes short crime fiction. Whilst I can't find any crime novels, her crime short stories are published in a number of anthologies.
For an example see the anthology: Grand Central Noir.
DANIEL O'CONNOR - USA.
O'Connor served as a police officer in the Suffolk County PD in New York. He has written one crime novel I can find, plus a range of short stroies.
His debut (with Peter Randazzo): Sons of the Pope (2015).
Website (blog): www.primalscreaming.wordpress.com
MICHAEL FOWLER - UK.
Fowler served with the South Yorkshire Police for many years. He has written a number of crime fiction novels so far.
An example: Heart of the Demon (2012).
CHARLIE GALLAGHER - UK.
Gallagher (a pen name) is a serving police officer in the UK, although his identity and police force are kept quiet (for his job security). He has written a number of crime fiction novels so far.
An example: Bodily Harm (2017).
SIMON WYATT - NEW ZEALAND.
Wyatt served with the New Zealand Police for several years, and still works in fraud investigations. He has written one crime fiction novel so far, that I can find.
His debut: The Student Body (2016).
WILLIAM NIKKEL - USA.
Nikkel served as a police officer with the Kent County Sheriff's Department in California. He writes in a number of genres, including crime fiction.
A crime example: Glimmer of Gold (2012).
LISA PRESTON - USA.
Preston served as a paramedic and a police officer in Alaska, from what I can find. She has written two crime/mystery novels so far.
Her debut: Orchids and Stone (2016).
DAVID PUTNAM - USA.
Putnam served as a police officer in California, in LA as far as I can work out. He has written multiple crime novels.
An example: The Innocents (2018).
BERNARD SCHAFFER - USA.
Schaffer is still a serving police officer in the Warrington Township PD in the USA. He has written several crime novels.
An example: Superbia (2012).
MIKE FULLER - USA.
Fuller served for many years with 3 different law enforcement agencies in the USA. He has written several crime novels and historical fiction as well.
A crime example: Sink Rate (2015).
R.C.BRIDGESTOCK - UK.
Bridgestock is actually not one author, but two. Couple Robert and Carol co-author their work. Robert spent 30 years in the Yorkshire Police and Carol spent almost as long as a civilian supervisor in the same police force. They have written several crime novels.
A recent example: When a Killer Strikes (2017).
BRIAN THIEM - USA.
Thiem served with the Oakland PD for nearly 30 years, as well as the US Army. He has written a number of crime novels so far.
An example: Red Line (2015).
PÉTER TARJÁNYI - HUNGARY.
Tarjányi served with the Hungarian Police specializing in counter-terrorism. I can only find one crime novel available in English (the theme is war crimes in the Balkans - so a mixture between crime and thriller, I think - he still joins The Squad on that basis).
It is: The Balkan's Angels (2011).
No website found.
JAMES HAWKINS - UK.
Hawkins served for many years with the police in the UK, although I'm not sure which police force. He has also since worked as a PI in Canada, and he has written several books, including crime fiction. Given his police career was in the UK, I'm listing him with the UK members of The Squad.
A crime fiction example: Missing: Presumed Dead (2001).
LEWIS HASTINGS - NEW ZEALAND.
Hastings (a pseudonym) served initially with the Nottinghamshire Police in the UK, but then moved to New Zealand and served with the NZ Police. So he's getting listed with the NZ members of The Squad. He has written a number of crime novels so far.
His debut: Seventh (2014).
No website found.
SEAN SLATER - CANADA.
Slater (a pseudonym) is a serving officer with the Vancouver Police. He has written a number of crime novels in a series.
An example: The Guilty (2013).
Website: www.seanslaterbooks.com (Note - the URL doesn't seem to be working as at 11 July 2018).
COLIN CAMPBELL - UK.
Campbell served with the West Yorkshire Police for 30 years. He has written numerous crime novels.
An example: Blue Knight, White Cross (2009).
LAURA BURKE - USA.
Burke worked as a PI in the USA for 20+ years, as well as other jobs. She has written numerous books and across genres.
A crime fiction example: End of the Trail (2014).
SEAN LYNCH - USA.
Lynch served for nearly 30 years as a police officer in the San Francisco Bay area. He also served in the US Army. He has written several crime fiction novels.
An example: A Hard Place (2017).
DESMOND P. RYAN - CANADA.
Ryan served for about 30 years as a police officer in Canada - I believe in the Toronto area. Now he has started writing crime fiction.
His debut: 10-33 Assist PC (2018).
"...bunches of career-obsessed wankers who wouldn't even be able to find their own arseholes in a dysentery outbreak."
- Harry's World (p.35)
- Harry's World (p.35)