It’s been a few years since that (gratefully) unfateful night we stumbled into an almost shootout at the New Wilmington Gardens in Compton. I thought I wanted to write a cop show. Or wanted to at least attempt mounting one, but came up woefully short in pitch faze. Like so many of my notions, I buried my notes in a drawer and filed the rest of what I’d learned in a memory vault.

Yet there was this one juicy nugget of LA Sheriffs’ history I couldn’t rightly stuff someplace. It sprang from some intel I’d gleaned from multiple police sources. Here’s what I discovered: Rewinding to the shoot ‘em up nineties when Rodney King was trying to outrun LAPD cops in a four-cylinder Hyundai, the riots put a match to my fair city, and almost every night the eleven o’clock news led with the drive-by murder of the night. A virus of malignant distrust was growing within the ranks of certain LA Sheriffs’ stations. Similar to certain jurisdictions today, some cop contingencies felt under siege on two basic fronts; one assault coming from the streets and the other from a Federal government in search of headline-grabbing scalps. One such byproduct was the formation of secret societies within the Sheriffs’ department. Clubs built around the ideal of ultimate trust in fellow members. Gangs of sorts, complete with induction ceremonies and tattoos indicating an oath in blood.

One such group was known as The Reapers.

For a year or two I carried this “Reaper” information like criminal pocket litter I couldn’t let go of. The notion of a former LA Sheriff marked with permanent ink who in the name of his brethren and some old fashioned street justice, bent more than his share of rules. A man with enemies both inside and outside the law. A police officer incapable of divorcing himself from the past, unapologetic, and with a cellular instinct for separating the good guys from the bad guys.

“Maybe it’s too soon,” I recall that TV producer pal saying to me back when the pitch was flopping on the deck like a dying grouper. “You’re trying to force it. Perhaps step back and let things marinate a while?”

Marinate. I love that word. It’s a favorite we’d both copped off a mutually adored line-producer who liked to wisely advise thinkers to slow down and let things stew and/or ferment into some kind of drinkable spirit.

As I marinated on my Reaper character, I couldn’t see him or her in a TV show that tried to wrap up a crime story line every week. Life, in my purview, was anything but a tidy ending wrapped up in forty-two minutes of narrative.

Yet when I was at last sat down to pen my fourth novel, I discovered my Reaper character had not just been marinating in my cerebellum, he’d grown into a full-bodied force who demanded some serious page time. In Blood Money, Lucky Dey was born as a former LA Sheriff’s Deputy who’d transferred up to rural Kern County to babysit his footstep-following younger brother, who sadly couldn’t cut it as a cop in the big bad city. Though Blood Money is an ensemble tale, Lucky quickly became my go-to character to anchor the story which, at its core, is a page-burning chase.

As I wrote the final words of Blood Money, I had no doubt Lucky Dey would not only return as my first franchise character, but reveal himself as a man I wanted to unleash on my world of LA crime noir while exploring the primal ways he connects with the ever-evolving City of Angels.

Timing?

As most of us recognize, cops are in the news. From sea to shining sea the Brethren of Blue are, once again, feeling under the microscope with their reps and characters up for nightly analysis on a multitude of twenty-four-hour cable news channels. I recall a former cop pal once reciting what he surmised were the three primary human flaws leading men or women to seek careers as a police officer: the first is the oft, overly-simplified, insecure male with inadequacy issues; the second, the adrenaline junky; the third and last archetype being that the control freak, always seeking to Ronda Rousey the world into an unforgiving arm bar.

Now those descriptors may be accurate to a certain point. But they surely are over-simplified and don’t speak to the positive reasoning of a man hell-bent on risking his life for strangers. First responders. The kind of unlikely animals who, at the sound of someone shouting “fire,” instinctively run toward certain danger. Some might think these socially awkward types can be a French fry short of a Happy Meal, but few of us have zero compulsion dialing 911 for their assistance if we feel a nano-breath near any flavor of human peril.

Wrap all that up into a damaged package in search of his next pop of prescription Percocet and you might glimpse a window inside the afflicted soul of Lucky Dey.

Where Blood Money introduced my man Lucky to the world, 99 PERCENT KILL is the first official Lucky Dey Thriller. It’s available this August 15th. Pre-order 99 PERCENT KILL now or read Blood Money with a simple click for a stage-setting catch-up. The series will continue with Reaper, the second Lucky Dey Thriller landing in spring 2016.

Doug Richardson
Doug Richardson
Author and screenwriter. Books: THE LUCKY DEY THRILLERS: BLOOD MONEY, 99 PERCENT KILL, AND REAPER, THE SAFETY EXPERT, AND THE SMOKING GUN. Movies: HOSTAGE, BAD BOYS, DIE HARD 2.
  • DCR

    Saw Bad Boys 3 & 4 were announced. Are you involved with these, I hope?

    • Doug

      Gladly, no. I like my attachment to the original, charming little comedy. Thanks DCR,

  • Colin Holmes

    Doug –
    Easier isn’t the word, but is it more liberating to write novels than screenplays? Ever see yourself going completely to the digital page?
    And the obvious question – any thoughts now that you’re part of an unofficial Bad Boys Cinematic Universe? Any chance you pen another Bad Boys installment?

    • Doug

      Far more liberating. Thus my focus on books over film and TV. As for Bad Boys, I might be in the universe but I’m not on anyone’s radar unless I choose to. After a brief flirtation on BB2, I haven’t been involved nor plan to. Thanks Colin.

  • Senator of 3rd Avenue

    In the media advertising trade that is what you call “native advertising.” You wrapped a thoroughly enjoyable 3-part read into an ad for your book which made sense, was thoughtful, seamless, and entertaining. Ok, I’ll bite. I fly from NY to CA this Sat, the 15th…I’ll pop it on my iPad.

  • Dona General

    Little late, Doug, but thoroughly enjoyed your cop saga. Colin is right, the tale is a nice tie-in to your novel release.

    I like a ‘good’ action adventure drama. Problem today is they are few and very far between. Marvel comics don’t do it for me. Bond and Cruise’s Ethan Hunt are mere ‘sketches’ of themselves and where oh where did NYPD go? Those cops had ‘problems’ and problems is spelled with a ‘P’ and that rhymes with T and T stands for trouble.

    When I was a youngster growing up in Detroit, my uncle Freddie was a DPD detective. He weighed well over 300+ lbs., always rode in the backseat of the cruiser. His greatest celebrity in the department was how the driver relied on Freddie’s weight to stabilize the car as it careened around Detroit street corners going 70 MPH. Always bragged that he never had to fire his gun, even during the race riots in 1967. His height and girth would, in every physical sense, disarm any potential threat. He definitively was the embodiment of the jolly green giant. Nobody crossed Fred. We loved him dearly.

    Just a thought, maybe a cop show could use a character like my Uncle Fred.