In rural Indiana, the underground mines that once held coal and iron ore have become killing grounds. In two counties, five corpses have been discovered. Their deaths appear accidental, from drowning or suffocating in flooded and abandoned mines. But local authorities, including Chief Shaunda Lynch, have uncovered evidence suggesting they’ve all been murdered.
Assigned to the case as Federal Agents, Detectives Jack Murphy and Liddell Blanchard take charge of the investigation. Shaunda’s proven herself more than capable of policing her jurisdiction and resents the intrusion of male authority figures. As Jack digs deep into the case, he discovers the victims have checkered pasts. But no matter who believes the killings are justified, someone still has to pay for the crime . . .
Rick Reed has always been a reader, and loves Nelson DeMille, John Sanford, John Grisham and, of course, Stephen King. By this admission alone I detected a writer with an understanding of mystery and intrigue, but also an appreciation of detail and a sense of the importance to gauge a human emotional response from his readers. He says that he lets his characters write the story. Rick describes his approach, “If a scene makes me start to tear up, I know it will make my readers almost cry. If it makes me angry, I know it will convey the same.”
His writing career started out as an I wonder kind of journey. Still working as a policeman, he sat down and began to write a novel. There was no intention of getting it published; he just wanted to see if he could write one. By the end of three months he had written three hundred pages. In his estimation they were all bad, but he had tasted the thrill of writing and had completed his first book. This led to his very first published novel which he co-wrote with Steven Walker. Blood Trail is a true crime book about a serial killer that Rick had apprehended as a police officer. It was picked up and published by Kensington Books and they offered him a contract to continue to write true crimes. However, he had worked closely with not only the victims’ families, but the families of the suspects as well and did not want to drag up their personal pain in his novels. Kensington later signed him for his crime novels.
Although Rick has two master’s degrees, one in Public Administration and the other in Criminal Justice, his real policing background has given him experience which in turn shows through in his novels. Although his police career provides endless background, the most horrifying experience in his life has influenced the depth of his writing. In 2011, he was in an accident that left him with broken bones but also a concussion with a brain injury. In addition, the accident left him with a form of PTSD, where he relived the accident whenever he closed his eyes, or even if he witnessed someone falling or getting hurt. He feared his life as a mystery writer might be over.
Bike riding each morning to a coffee shop, he forced himself to type and to write. It was painful and tedious, but even though the writing didn’t meet his standards, he gradually returned to normal. The true turning point came when he wrote his brain injury into a character in a novel. This led to his third book. Nine years later he has completed nine fiction novels.
Writing comes from an author’s essence. It may seem to some that it is having a proper grasp of sentence structure and grammar, but it must come from the soul of life experience. Many have said that an artist must suffer before they can truly express something great. If this is so, Rick Reed is the example. He didn’t give up, and he continues to believe in his characters.
Rick offers the following words to those thinking about writing. “Just a word of advice to beginning and first-time authors. Write what you like. If you like it someone else will. Don’t worry about reviews. Readers can be wrong or just nasty. Don’t let anyone tell you how to write. You have to do this for yourself. Your style. Your words. Your voice.” He also went on to advise about spousal interference, but I will happily leave that in your capable hands.
If you are interested in all of Rick Reed’s books, you may visit his website at www.rickreedbooks.com.
Happy reading everyone, and thanks for joining us at Reading Getaway.