written by Derek Blass
For those of you who are just joining us, Holiday Siren’s is an event taking place between December 13th and December 24rd. We are sharing some great crime novels with you that were written by law enforcement officers, people who worked around the trade or people who just did some awesome research! Make sure to join us each day to see the featured book and the featured author!
You write a crime novel – is your writing from experiences that you have had or did you just totally come up with the plot out of the blue?
Enemy in Blue derives from an unfortunate set of incidents between the Denver Police Department and citizens of the city. First, in 2004 Frank Lobato was shot and killed by a DPD officer who used the excuse that he thought Mr. Lobato had a gun in his hand?when it turned out it was nothing more than a Coke can. Second, in 2008, Officer Charles Porter of the DPD was involved in the beating of a young man named Juan Vasquez. The case resulted in a settlement of almost $1,000,000 to Mr. Vasquez due to the significance of the injuries he suffered from the incident. Finally, in 2009, DPD made national news when Michael DeHerrera was attacked by a DPD officer on camera, and then lied about the incident before knowing the incident was video recorded. There have been other incidents of police brutality in Denver involving victims named Marvin Booker and Paul Childs.
I have told people that if I had not come to Denver, this particular book likely would not have been written. Maybe a book about something else, but not about police brutality.
Naturally, much of the book is fiction, despite being loosely based on actual incidents. Everyone was fictionalized, and the main action of the book (the car chases, standoffs, the trial) were all conceived in my mind.
Where did you do your research?
The majority of my research came from being the Chair of Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper’s Denver Latino Commission when the aforementioned cases were being dealt with, or when they actually occurred. We had meetings with the Mayor, with the Chief of Police, with the Manager of Safety, and countless meetings with lower level officers, as well as community members. Through these meetings, facts of the cases, impact on the victims, and rough sketches of the officers involved came to me.
How did you develop your characters for this story? Are they people you know, maybe yourself?
In my opinion, it would be impossible to write a novel-length book without including some portions of yourself, as well as the people around you, in it. Not to get too philosophical, but what else is there to draw on than your own experiences, your own feelings, and what you know about other people? So, to actually answer the question, yes, my characters came from a mix of myself and people I know. No single character is just one person, or just myself, but almost every character has a mix of people and myself. Whether that be a tiny characteristic, or almost the whole character, I’ll leave that a mystery :).
How long did you work on this novel before you published it?
It took me approximately 2.5 years to write the book, and then I went through about a year of editing before I started on the final touches, such as cover design, website development, and starting to build a social media platform. My goal was simply to write 750-1000 words per day, kind of like waking up and exercising everyday.
Have you written other crime novels? If so what are they? If not, do you have plans to?
Enemy in Blue
is my debut novel, so in short, no. I am currently about 85% of the way through the draft of my second book, which is not a crime novel. It is about drug cartels and a border war. My interest in writing is topical. Couch important social issues in a thrilling story, so that depth and entertainment are combined. Best way to learn and introspect, in my opinion. I already have the idea for my next book, which I’m itching to write! It will be a legal thriller.
Using a character from your book
Please tell me about your book
Mr. Colt, how you feel ’bout all these people reading ’bout us? How you feel ’bout them knowing what we think, what we’re gonna do? I’ll tell you myself, I ain’t that comfortable with all these people being witnesses to what happened. You know what we do with witnesses, right Mr. Colt?
…but, if we’re gonna chat about it, might as well start by saying that the damn illegal deserved what he got. This is all off the record, get me? I hear one word that you all spread word of this, and…well, you’ll have a midnight date with Mr. Colt. That illegal didn’t respond to directions, then he upped and made a sudden movement. So, I shot ‘im. So unfortunate.
Got nothing more to say other than I ain’t guilty of shit. You’ll have to figure that out for yourself, as I romp and rage through all those pretty-fuggin-characters this freak Derek Blass created.
See you inside…
-Sergeant Shaver with his gun, Mr. Colt
Story Blurb from back of book:
What if your enemy wore a blue uniform and a gold badge? The videotaped murder of an illegal immigrant by an allegedly racist police officer draws Cruz Marquez, a young lawyer, into an action-packed journey to preserve the evidence. His success depends on surviving the Chief of Police’s sinister plotting, assassination attempts by a deranged hit man, and the raw force of Sergeant Shaver?his enemy in blue.
Derek is an author and attorney in Denver, Colorado. He graduated from Duke University and the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. He majored in English and Economics at Duke. In Colorado, Derek has served as the co-Chair of Mayor Hickenlooper’s Denver Latino Commission, and was recently selected to serve as a co-Chair of the Denver Chapter of the Colorado Latino Forum. Derek was named as a Colorado Superlawyer “Rising Star” in 2010 and 2011, and was awarded the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association’s 2010 award for most Outstanding Young Hispanic Lawyer. He is married to his wife Meranda, and has two uncontrollably terrible dogs (and one good one that isn’t really his).
Where you can Buy this book: