The story of the Craigslist murder for hire intrigued me. A man advertised for someone to kill his wife. On Craigslist. And he expected to get away with it. Some crimes solve themselves, but most require actual police work.
My background is military, and academic, and library, so on my FBI stories, I resort to research, which actually suits my library research background, but the real scoop isn’t always found on the Internet and in the research databases. Enter my PI.
No, not a private investigator, but a Police Informant (PI) a little like a Criminal Informant (CI), but less gritty. This informant started as an informal conversation. David, a retired police officer, would tell me police war stories like the Craigslist murderer and I was fascinated. As I started writing Unforgettable, a light bulb clicked on. Why not mine David’s past for more realistic story details?
Sadly, David can’t give me classified information (the writer’s dream), but he does fill me in on all the details of criminal informants, police operations, weapons, and the workings of an FBI task force. In the world of writing, he’s a short cut, like the Staples Easy Button.
The first few draft chapters of Unforgettable had Blake as an FBI agent, but as I talked more and more with David, I realized that scenario was unrealistic. We started talking about how big drug busts happen and how long they take. I realized that it took a multi-agency task force to take down someone like Nick Calvetti and his cohorts.
Thus the undercover operation morphed into a multi-agency task force complete with a bureaucratic boss in Stiles, with Blake and his partner working undercover.
The PI process was ongoing. I’d write a few chapters, and then ask David questions. His answers would either alter something I had already written, or give me ideas for an upcoming scene. For instance, the antagonistic scene between Blake and Stiles came from a discussion about interdepartmental rivalries and the realities of a police officer on loan to a task force. The officer is still on the local PD payroll, but answers to the head of the task force. Because the work for the task force is classified, the officer can’t share the information, even with his regular police department. This leads to some tension and a little good-natured (or not) pushy-shovey between the different people within the task force.
This was the kind of stuff I would never have found with my library research. Conversations with David led to the longer story arc between Unforgettable and the third novel coming out in April 2017. But our conversations aren’t over. David assures me he has more than two books worth of insight to share.
To quote Casablanca, “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
Vicki Calvetti made it out of the mob—or so she hoped. But when the old family hitman, the FBI, the Justice Department, and a smoking hot man from her past crash land on her doorstep, she learns she’s not quite done.
An undercover cop chasing revenge, Blake Reilly gets the shock of his life when Vicki walks back into his life and into his club full of more drug dealers than a pharmaceutical convention.
Catching up doesn’t take long, and their undeniable chemistry is full-speed-ahead until someone ends up dead, putting both their lives at risk unless Vicki can remember the secrets she paid to forget.
Each book in the Untouchables series is a standalone, full-length story that can be enjoyed out of order.
Untouchables novels by author Cindy Skaggs:
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About Cindy Skaggs:
Cindy Skaggs grew up on stories of mob bosses, horse thieves, cold-blooded killers, and the last honest man. Those mostly true stories gave her a lifelong love of storytelling and heroes. Her search for story took her around the world with the Air Force before returning to Colorado.
As a single mom, she’s turning her lifelong love of storytelling into the one thing she can’t live without: writing. She has an MA in Creative Writing, three jobs, two kids, and more pets than she can possibly handle. Find her on Facebook as Cindy Skaggs, Writer, @CLSkaggs on Twitter, or www.CSkaggs.com to sign up for her newsletter.