Stories about crimes have always resonated with me, whether it was "Crime and Punishment" or "The Quiet American." Maybe it’s because I started my career as a police reporter, or because I worked for a time as a teacher in the county jail.
More than a decade ago, when I decided to finally get serious about writing, I started with short stories based on real misdeeds I’d witnessed. I wrote one about my next door neighbor, who’d been murdered by a friend, another about an ambitious bike racer who decides to take out the competition, and a bunch of others based on characters I met in jail.
Over time these got picked up by various magazines online and in print. More than a dozen now exist, with most of the latest in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and Big Pulp.
For my debut novel, "They Tell Me You Are Wicked," I drew inspiration from the most infamous event in the history of my hometown: the real life killing of a political candidate’s daughter (though I made up all the details). Now I am at work on a second volume in the series, set two years later, after my hero, Duncan Cochrane, has become governor. He’s haunted by the family secret that got him elected, and fighting a sniper who’s targeting children in Chicago.
Duncan Cochrane quit politics to escape the sins of his past, but he’s pulled back in to protect his imprisoned son and a death row inmate who just might be innocent. He needs new sources of power and new ways to inspire the voters who turned on him.
When five people die from tainted pain medication, Governor Duncan Cochrane must lead the investigation. Meanwhile, his son’s drunken confession leaks to a journalist with an agenda. Can he protect his home city without sacrificing his family or his office?
Governor Cochrane holds the power to punish all criminals except his daughter’s killer. Then a blackmailer threatens to reveal his ruinous family secret just as a sniper targets innocents in Chicago. To protect his career and those he governs, he’ll have to hunt both enemies.
Duncan Cochrane wanted to be governor... until the murder of his daughter. He blames his own political ambitions. Still, his best shot at justice may be the bully pulpit of the campaign trail. He must win the election or accept that she has died in vain.