Why Frank Calhoun Exists

April 8, 2011

Since I tend to write so many different things I’ve decided to add a new category to the blog post.  This new category will be called, “Street Level”.  It’ll be my ramblings about my adventures in writing crime novels.

Now I’ve been back in Chicago for about three months, and I can’t lie, I love this city.  Yesterday I got a chance to visit the fictional crime scene from my next novel, Blue Religion.  I have to say there is nothing more exciting then stepping foot onto a piece of land in which you’ve written about and discovering new scenery that enhances the place within the story.

This is probably one of the reasons I write from a “street perspective” when dealing with Frank Calhoun and the world he lives in because I, like so many fans of the Wire, am intrigued by the secret world of the streets and the players who star in it.

Having grown up in the notorious K-Town, on the west side of Chicago, which I will always proudly represent; I found myself diving back into a world I had long moved away from (even though I still had family and friend which I associated with) and wondering how had I, a native and a firm believer in the street code become interested in writing about cops?

I grew up hating cops.  Not because I was told to, or even taught to (one of my older cousins was a Cook County Sheriff), but because cops harassed me so much as a kid and as a teen that the only thing I could do was hate them.  But somewhere between hating the police and reading detective novels I came to respect the police.  Now I don’t mean I respect the badge or the uniform, truthfully, I don’t know if I ever will respect them.  But I became very aware of the human side behind the shield and with that thought in mind I wanted to know what drove a person to become a cop and to continue to be one?  From this and many other thoughts Frank “Preacher” Calhoun was born.

Frank’s a detective born from the streets, a modern day Shaft if you will, but without the leather jacket and smooth demeanor.  Frank Calhoun brides the gap between the streets and modern society.  He’s a voice for an underrepresented people that I am finding more and more have been lost in the society of novels written by my peers.

Just to clarify I am not judging I am simply stating that I think there is a hole, which I plan to help fill along with a handful of other writers out there in the world.  I once read that crime novels reflect a piece of society back on us?  I hope that in writing about Frank’s life I’m able to do just that,  but only time will tell.

Thanks for reading.  In return for your attention here’s a small “reflection of society” from the short story “Pain” that’ll be published soon on http://heatedforest.com

Pain was the name on the streets.

It was a name that carried with it enough power that the crooked Narco detectives out of the 25th district on Chicago Avenue didn’t even attempt to pull Pain over and rob him for what he was worth (possibly millions) because they knew he was paid up to the right people.  The kind of people who could force a cop into early retirement with half the pension.  Plus, it didn’t hurt that he was backed by cold-blooded killers who could go out and make whole families disappear in the dead of night, and then return home and make love to their girlfriends as if it were nothing.

Pain was a name that warranted fear; and it was that fear that churned deep down inside Dr. Jesse Crain’s stomach when the bone-colored SUV with its dark-tinted windows pulled up to the curb of his mother’s two flat brick home, which he had just recently sold, and the back door was thrown open wide like a venus flytrap.

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