Good day, book people. As many of you know, I’m a very eclectic reader. I read fiction and nonfiction. I enjoy historical and contemporary fiction, romance and literary fiction, classic literature and popular fiction, true crime and police procedurals, and a little bit of everything in between. I’m constantly amazed at how, as a reader, I can suspend my belief with certain types of fiction, but not with others. Today’s guest is Ken Harris, author of A Bad Bout of the Yips, the third installment in the Steve Rockfish series. Mr. Harris will be discussing the suspension of belief (or reality) and writing believable crime fiction. I hope you’ll enjoy what he has to share and add A Bad Bout of the Yips to your TBR list. Thank you, Mr. Harris, for joining us today the blog is now all yours.
Trials & Tribulation of a 1970s Private Eye in the Modern World
by Ken Harris
After three books in a series, I’m often asked why I choose to model my protagonist Steve Rockfish after many of the 1970s television detectives. You know, Quincy, Columbo, Barnaby Jones, and Rockford. Four of my absolute favorites, by the way. I watched the Rockford Files with my dad and skipped class in college to catch Barnaby Jones reruns.
Again, why not only model but then transport to the current day? Why not create the character and keep him in the time frame in which that type of hard-nosed, hard-drinking and sarcastic private investigator excelled? Is it to give him the technology and tools of today used on shows such as CSI, Criminal Minds, or NCIS? Actually, it’s the complete opposite.
Steve Rockfish uses his wits and sometimes muscles to solve his cases. He’s got ears out on the street, a bottle of Irish whiskey in his desk, and sarcasm for days. He’s not one to bang away on a laptop keyboard for three minutes and then exclaim he’s hacked seven different private servers, analyzed the data, and hits one last keystroke to display it all in a virtual 3D model floating above the conference table. That’s what his partner Jawnie McGee is for. But even she doesn’t stretch the imagination, causing the reader to suspend so much doubt as the investigative fiction television shows of today do.
See, I spent thirty-two years in an investigative and analytical role with the FBI. I can watch an episode of Criminal Minds and tell you the word UNSUB is hardly used to the extent they do (roughly 37 times per episode). I try to tell it like it is. Give my good guys the tools real investigators use on a day-to-day basis and not sprinkle any Hollywood make-believe dust between the words. I had friends that worked in BAU. On Criminal Minds you see them take off on their private jet to wherever the next case is. In actuality, they fly commercial. We actually spend your tax dollars diligently. On television, you’ll see someone issue a subpoena to a telecom company and get back actual text message content. Wrong. To get actual content and not only call data, that takes a search warrant signed by a judge. I watched a television show which shall remain nameless the other day with my wife. She likes it and I only judge her a little bit. Anyway, the computer expert in a matter of less than ten seconds hacks into a private security firm’s live feed of home security cameras. Of private homes. Right. Stuff like that drives me to drink, so I try my hardest to make my characters’ actions as true as possible. Does that sometimes maybe bore a reader? Sure, but I’ll draw them back in with the next paragraph. They won’t even remember it took various software programs and hours to perform analysis instead of fingers bashing a keyboard for thirty seconds and Voilà, Case Closed.
I like to think the case is about the investigative journey. While technology makes Steve Rockfish’s job easier at times, he still strongly feels guilty when he’s spending any extended time in the office, unless it’s accompanied by a rocks glass. Interaction with other characters is a necessity to drive the novel forward. I don’t have forty-three minutes, without commercials, to wrap up everything in a nice bow. Not to mention, sometimes the good guys don’t come out on top.
To close this ramble out, Steve Rockfish loves the new case management system Jawnie McGee installed in the office. He just wishes there was a way to tap the keyboard three times and have all the information entered. Data entry is old-school and time-consuming. He’d rather be out on the street knocking heads and collecting client checks. ♦
A Bad Bout of the Yips
by Ken Harris
March 6 – 31, 2023 Virtual Book Tour
PI Steve Rockfish’s morning meeting was supposed to focus on a case of straightforward harassment. Two clients had purchased a miniature golf course and instantly became victims of vandalism and projected intolerance.
But as the team investigates, a neighborhood’s bigoted knee-jerk reaction to a new sapphic-owned business, is, in fact, a laser-focused plan of intimidation. Before anyone can yell FORE!, violence litters the front nine after Rockfish uncovers the real perpetrator, their actual motive, and dangerous accomplices.
Soon, an old nemesis returns to raise the stakes with plans of revenge and domination. Now facing a battle on two fronts, Rockfish finds his allies thinning at the worst possible time, and recklessly goes on the offensive.
The back nine takes Rockfish and McGee on a frenetic ride from a corporate boardroom, across cyberspace, and to the 19th hole where a long overdue showdown will change everything for the partners, for better and worse.
Genre: Crime Fiction
Published by: Black Rose Writing
Publication Date: March 2023
Number of Pages: 356
ISBN10: 1685131530 (Paperback)
ASIN: B0BTXGVVDD (Kindle edition)
Series: The Case Files of Steve Rockfish – 3
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: Bookshop.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | BookDepository.com | BLACK ROSE WRITING
Ken Harris retired from the FBI, after thirty-two years, as a cybersecurity executive. With over three decades writing intelligence products for senior Government officials, Ken provides unique perspectives on the conventional fast-paced crime thriller. He is the author of the “From the Case Files of Steve Rockfish” series. He spends days with his wife Nicolita, and two Labradors, Shady and Chalupa Batman. Evenings are spent playing Walkabout Mini Golf and cheering on Philadelphia sports. Ken firmly believes Pink Floyd, Irish whiskey, and a Montecristo cigar are the only muses necessary. He is a native of New Jersey and currently resides in Virginia’s Northern Neck.
Catch Up With Ken Harris:
BookBub – @08025writes
Instagram – @kenharrisfiction
Twitter – @08025writes
Facebook – @kah623
Twitch – @kenharrisfiction
Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaway entries!