This past year I joined another writers' group: The Public Safety Writers Association, an organization "open to writers of both fiction and non-fiction who either are members of a public safety organization or who write in the crime, mystery, and/or public safety genres. The organization is also open to illustrators, photographers, cartoonists, editors, and publishers. Both published and non-published writers are welcome." (https://policewriter.com/about-us/)
I was particularly interested in PSWA because most of my writing focuses on both healthcare and law enforcement. I wanted to see how others with a background similar to my own were writing. Also: in writing these monthly newsletters, I've tried to introduce writers with whom readers might not be familiar. Here's a sampling of what I've been reading to date.
Robbers and Cops by George Cramer (2022) This is a novel tracing the lives of two brothers--fully supportive of each other for decades as they rob banks, end up in prison, go off to war, only to come back and resume the robberies, followed again by prison. Alongside the brothers is a team of law enforcement officers who track the brothers relentlessly across two states. Jim and Ben Tucker (the two brothers) are very different, and their characters are skillfully described, as is the contrast in the personalities of those who are tracking the brothers over the decades. It was an entertaining read, as well as providing some insight into the workings of our justice system.
The Match by Ann Dominguez (2016) This is the first of the Kate Deming series in which Kate, a medical student in her last year, finds her life complicated by factors that many could easily relate to---possibly aside from the murder and kidnappings. Kate is an older student, married with two daughters, who begins to wonder if she might stray from that part of her life. She has a less responsible, often non-communicative sister, who is a pregnant doctoral candidate with a wealthy boyfriend who is murdered. The sister seeks Kate's help, and an engrossing series of events kept me reading to the end and wondering what the sequel would bring in Kate's life.
Windy City Knights by Michael A. Black (2016) This is a fast-paced mystery about Ron Shade, a private investigator who is also a kickboxing champion with an upcoming big match. His past work with the Chicago PD gives him contacts through his old partner and best friend George, who also runs part-time security, where Ron does fill-in security for him at a hotel bar. There Ron meets an old flame who is later murdered. When the woman's cousin--a woman Ron also knows from his past-- seeks answers, Ron agrees to pursue the case. It's easy to visualize the fight training and matches, so well described. Some of Ron's decisions along the way are a bit less easy to believe, but all in all, this is a good read!
A Good Bunch of Men by Danny R. Smith (2018) This is the first in the series of Dickie Floyd detective novels, actually featuring two police detective partners: Dickie and Floyd. The novel is definitely "hard-boiled" in the style of noir, right down to Dickie's preference for hats. Set in the seedy sections of LA in the 90s, the characters are colorful and include the usual drugs, prostitution, questionable sex, and people of varied cultural origins. The repartee between the partners and their comrades is entertaining, and the novel left me wondering how this long-term relationship between the detective partners would progress.
Have a great month!