Realistic plots, believable characters, and dialogue that rings true are important to me as both a reader and a writer of crime fiction. I really dislike convenient endings and unbelievable stories. Like you, my time is important to me. When I actually carved out an hour or so to jump into a book, I want it get lost in it.
As a retired cop, I have a lot of experience to pull from for my novels.
While it may never appear in any of the Mike O’Shea novels (SPOILER ALERT: a new series will be starting in 2019!), here is a true story that I think you’ll enjoy. It’s the closest I’ve ever come to being a midwife.
One particular evening shift when I was a road sergeant, the other road sergeant on the platoon and I were having a coffee (shocker, I know…cops and coffee!). He was in the midst of telling me a fascinating experience he had had, when a call came over for a van driving erratically. A uniformed patrol car was dispatched, and my colleague volunteered to oversee as required.
I kept my ear to the radio for updates.
I heard that the van had been pulled over. I heard that there were two occupants. I heard that the officers were going to speak to the occupants, and I heard that my colleague had arrived at the scene.
Concerned for the safety of all parties involved, I went to the last known location of this van.
I saw the marked scout car, lights flashing, behind a van stopped in the middle of the 4-lane street. I saw my colleague directing traffic around it, and I saw one of the uniformed officers speaking to a man I presumed was the driver of the van.
What I did not see was the other officer or occupant of the van.
Why had the van been stopped so suddenly that it could not have been pulled over to the side of the road? And, more importantly, where was the other officer and occupant?
I quickly got out of my car and was updated by the officer speaking to the driver.
His partner and the other occupant–a woman–were in the back of the van.
“Can one of you guys help me? Now!” the officer in the van called out.
I was closest, so I pulled the sliding side door open and hopped in, just as the woman let out a guttural scream, the likes of which I have never heard before or since (excluding the time my second son was born, but that’s another story again).
And then it happened: I caught the baby!
Seconds later (or so they tell me–it felt like hours), the paramedics arrived. Media helicopters were buzzing overhead, having heard the same updates as I had on their police scanners. I took my uniform jacket and held it over the new mother and baby, shielding them both from the outside weather and the zoom lenses above as they were shuffled to the waiting gerny.
Meanwhile, my colleague–the one who had initially responded to the call–was still directing traffic and subsequently written out of the story that appeared in the newspaper the following day. To add insult to injury, he was ordered by our staff sergeant to draft up a good documentation about the great work I had done that would sit on my file until I retired.
As I said, this story may never find a home in its entirety in the Mike O’Shea Crime Fiction series, but keep an eye out for bits and pieces of it in other places.
Until next week, I’m 10-7 for shift.
Desmond Ryan – Real Detective. Real Crime. Fiction