Today it’s a pleasure to welcome Roger A. Price author of Nemesis, which is available to buy right now. I love the book description for Nemesis, so much so this ones sitting near the top of my to read pile. So without further ado here’s Roger’s intriguing guest post on how he went from crime fighter to crime writer……..
Hello, my name is Roger A. Price crime fighter turned crime writer.
A few years ago I found myself inside a flat in Burnley, Lancashire – but it could have been anywhere – at 3 a.m. Uniform officers were protecting the scene. Inside the lounge there was blood everywhere including on an implement which had been used to cause violent injuries to the poor chap who was currently on his way to hospital. He survived, and we picked up the offender pretty quickly. The idiot ran off to the next street before hailing a cab to take him home. But after over thirty years in the job, I remember thinking, ‘what am I doing here’?
My day job was that of a detective inspector in charge of an undercover unit, which had received national acclaim for its successes in engaging those who openly sold Class A drugs. But that said, all DIs in Lancashire have to take turns on the night shift when you are responsible for all serious crime which occurs anywhere in the force. The thinking being that the initial investigations are hopefully gripped and run properly until the day-turn DI from the area concerned can pick things up and run with it. They call it the ‘Golden Hour’ when a lot of vital evidence is either lost or found.
I’d always wanted to write and had in the past done study courses and a night school course in creative writing but had never found the time to put all that I’d forgotten into practice, so I retired from the force and started on what I hoped would become a new career. I’d seen service all over the UK, Europe and beyond in both traditional detective roles and in covert roles; all good grist for a crime fiction writer. I knew I couldn’t write about some of the things I’ve done and seen, well particularly from the covert side of things, but I could base my fiction from it. And have some fun.
Previously, I’d been in charge of the C.I.D. at Preston, having first led a dedicated informant unit. I also worked on murders, drugs squads, and the regional and national crime squads, and had been fortunate enough to receive several commendations.
To put the record straight, ‘Covert Policing’ means anything sneaky. The use of informants, surveillance – both physical and technical – such as bugs and telephone taps. Or the use of undercover officers.
The use of undercover officers comes under the narrower term of ‘Special Ops’ and that means specially trained officers as opposed to just detectives in plain clothes. They have to pass rigorous selection and ongoing psychometric evaluations. They come in all shapes and sizes, in all purported walks of life.
Sometimes, they are used for quick jobs, such as drug bust-buys, or can be used on longer term operations. All deployments are fully risk assessed based on the known. It’s the unknown that often proves to be the tricky bit.
In real life, if I had been planning a ‘Special Ops’ tactic to assist in an investigation, the test often came from how abstract one could be. After all, the bad guys know undercover officers exist, and not all situations are doable with the tactic. For example – if you wish to infiltrate an established crime family who only deal with people they have known ‘criminally’ for many years, then a direct approach from a stranger just isn’t going to work. This is when a more creative approach is called for.
‘I have a cunning plan, my lord’ Baldrick from Blackadder used to say, so when faced with a dilemma, a common expression in my old office used to be, ‘we need a Baldrick’.
I have to say, it’s a lot more fun just writing scenarios for use in crime fiction nowadays, you can do what you want, pretty much; the pen truly is mightier than the sword.
My first two novels, ‘By Their Rules’ and ‘A New Menace’ are in the Burrows and Lee series and come mainly from the covert side of things.
However, my new novel, ‘NEMESIS’ published by Endeavour Press is a more traditional detective story – but with some sneaky-beaky stuff thrown in. It is the first in my new ‘Badge and the Pen’ series which charts the journey of detective inspector Vinnie Palmer and his unlikely bedfellow, TV reporter Christine Jones. I say unlikely, as often in real life the cops and the press sometimes have a strained relationship; each operating from a different agenda; but with a common goal. Seeking the truth.
Also, I have always been fascinated at how the criminal mind works, and having witnessed this phenomenon for over thirty years, I do quite enjoy exploring its depths within the characterisation of my bad guys. Daniel Moxley the main antagonist in ‘NEMESIS’ being a great example. He suffers from several psychoses and has a much skewed view of the world underpinned by an unerring amount of self-belief. I’m glad he’s not real: or is he?
He’s certainly an interesting adversary for Palmer and Jones to tackle. In fact, during my research into psychotic behaviours I took a test, trying to answer the questions through the character’s eyes – the results weren’t good, but great for the character. It was only afterwards, I started to wonder if any of me had bled into my fake persona. Now that’s something that all undercover operatives will guard against.
My thanks to Roger A. Price for sharing his fascinating guest post with the book review café
Roger A. Price was born in Bury, raised in Whitley Bay, and has lived in Lancashire since he was thirteen. Currently living in Preston, Roger served for over thirty-one years with the Lancashire Constabulary, the Regional Crime Squad and the National Crime Squad.
He retired in the rank of detective inspector in charge of a covert unit in Lancashire, which received local and national acclaim for its successes in engaging those who openly sold Class A drugs, such as heroin and crack cocaine.
Prior to this he led the C.I.D. in Preston for a short while and before that was in charge of a dedicated informant unit. Previous experiences include work on many murder investigations and other serious crimes, as well as time spent on drug squads.
He has served around the region, country, and overseas. His work on the National Crime Squad took him across Europe and to the Far East. He has been commended on four occasions.
He now writes fiction based in-part on his experiences, and in-part from his fevered imagination.
He now writes full time.
Links to author
When psychopath Daniel Moxley makes his escape while being escorted to Broadmoor high security prison, he sets off on a trail of bloody revenge, leaving police forces throughout the north of England floundering in his wake.
Moxley’s paranoia has him seemingly selecting victims at random. The only thing they have in common is the gruesome nature of their killings. Police, prison warders and even old ladies have been the target of Moxley’s cold-blooded murder spree.
When Detective Inspector Vinnie Palmer is assigned to the case, Moxley decides that he too must die, but not before he has led him from one blood-soaked scene to another. Among his victims is Vinnie’s offsider, Detective Constable Rob Hill, who he discovers has his own dark and destructive secret that rips Vinnie’s life apart.
With the help of Moxley’s psychiatrist, Vinnie delves deep into the man’s criminal past and uncovers a history of corrupt police, sexual coercion and gaol brutality. But when Vinnie closes in on Moxley and takes the law into his own hands, he ends up suspended and stripped of his police powers.
Determined not to let Moxley escape justice, Vinnie continues his pursuit of the maniac as a private citizen.
He teams up with determined television reporter Christine Jones and together they pursue Moxley north to Scotland and back again.
But the killer always seems to be one step ahead, leaving a trail mutilated bodies in his wake. Lured on by Moxley’s taunts, Vinnie discovers that it is his own wife – a fellow police worker – who has been an unwitting aid in Moxley’s deadly deeds.
As a result, his suspension is lifted in time for him and Christine to gain full police support and finally confront Moxley in a terrifying final encounter.
But is it too late?