By Basil Sands
Howdy folks, let me introduce you to crime writer Sean Lynch, whose hard-core, fast-paced debut novel WOUNDED PREY becomes available May 28th from Exhibit A Books.
Sean was born and raised in the billowing green corn seas of Iowa, served as an infantryman in the U.S. Army, attended college on the GI Bill and received a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Sociology and Criminology. He spent nearly three decades in various positions, including patrol officer and commander of the Detective Division.
He began writing as a rookie cop to relieve stress and as an outlet to process the unique experience of being a rural Iowa kid working a police beat in urban California.
Tell us about your debut novel WOUNDED PREY.
It’s a novel of the hunt. It’s about the slaying of a dragon, really. I wanted to write a story about real people, and how they come to grips with encountering a monster; not a police procedural where Dragnet-inspired enforcers of the law doggedly seek justice. WOUNDED PREY is about trauma, and the journey towards redemption. It’s about making things right. In many ways it’s a contemporary western. But it’s a bloody tale, and the hunt in WOUNDED PREY reflects the ‘eye for an eye’ perspective of those personally touched by the monster, instead of merely assigned to apprehend him.
As I read the novel I felt like it was eye opening. Reading about heinous crimes in the context of a period that was my own years of teenaged innocence and young romance, I realized that things have never really been all that innocent. What prompted you to set the piece in the mid-80s as opposed to modern times or more classical times?
Great question. The work was actually conceived and written in the late 1980’s, when I was a detective working sex crimes cases in the Juvenile Division. In addition, during the 1980’s, the Reagan administration cut the funding for mental health services at the federal level, resulting in a lot of people who shouldn’t have been cut loose flooding the streets. I saw first-hand some of the effects of that policy as a street-level cop. Anybody who ever visited Highland Hospital in Oakland back in those days would know what I mean.
Also the big hair, shoulder pads, and canned drum-beat music make any novel better, right?
The character of Vernon Slocum is incredibly intense, as well as very evil. What was the inspiration for such an embodiment of evil?
Vernon is my Frankenstein monster, cobbled together from the more chilling parts of various individuals I encountered during my childhood, military service, and police career. I wish I could say he was all fiction, but sadly, I can’t. Certainly I took creative license in his construction, but his historical backdrop, upbringing, military service, and pathology are based on real events and the characteristics of people who existed.
How long were you a police officer and how much do the experiences of that career inform your writing?
I served as a police officer, sergeant, and lieutenant for a total of 28 ½ years, before retiring in 2012. There isn’t a day goes by that some facet of my career-choice doesn’t bubble-up from where I thought I’d stashed it when I retired. It’s like being a former, versus ex-Marine. Obviously, much of my writing taps into the reservoir of experiences, both good and bad, I had as a cop. Some days, as I write, a memory will boil up and I’ll laugh. Other days, not so much.
Were there any other careers you considered growing up?
I wanted to be a competitive figure skater, or a ballerina. But every time I put on a pair of tights people around me started slamming Pepto-Bismol, so I relinquished that dream. Kidding aside, I actually wanted to be an Air Force pilot. Unfortunately, I started wearing Elvis Costello birth control eyeglasses in junior high school, and was thus ineligible for military flight training. It’s probably just as well, given my poor mechanical aptitude and lack of physical coordination. My dad used to say, “Sean, you could screw up a cannonball.” The nose art moniker on my plane would have undoubtedly been ‘Lawn Dart.’
You bio says, “Sean served in the U.S. Army on active and reserve duty as an enlisted infantryman. He selected the infantry because when he applied to the astronaut program he was informed that a chimpanzee had already been sent into space.” I know the feeling bro. That being said, do you remember any times in your police career where things you learned as an Army infantryman came in handy?
Absolutely. I learned not to worry when things are going really, bad, because they’re going to get worse. I learned if you ain’t dead, you still got fight in you. I learned to never quit.
Your website bio says that you’re partial to Japanese cars, German pistols, and British beer. What’s your current favorite model/brand/flavor of each?
I own both a Honda and Toyota, but I like the Toyota SUV best. It’s the family war-wagon. I carried the reliable Sig Sauer P220 .45 for many years on and off-duty. I’ve bet my life on Sig Sauer. It’s a coin toss between Boddingtons and Bass as far as beer, but usually whatever you’re buying at the time is my favorite.
And finally, on a light note: If you were to be described as a beverage (alcoholic or otherwise) what do you think would describe you best?
It would have to be Zima. Tacky, tasteless, and nature’s way of identifying a douchebag.
Well, there you have it folks. Sean Lynch, real life tough, great sense of humor, and serious new name on the crime thriller circuit. Check out more and contact Sean via his website. And definitely make sure to pick up a copy of his hair-raising debut WOUNDED PREY in eBook and Paperback.
Sean Lynch was born and raised in Iowa, holds a Bachelor of Sciences degree, and served in the U.S. Army as an enlisted Infantryman. He resides in Northern California where he retired after nearly three decades as a municipal police officer.
During his Law Enforcement career Sean served as a Patrol Officer, Foot Patrol Officer, Motorcycle Officer, Field Training Officer, S.W.A.T. Team Officer, Firearms Instructor, S.W.A.T. Team Sniper, Defensive Tactics Instructor, Juvenile/Sexual Assault Detective, and Homicide Detective. Sean concluded his career at the rank of Lieutenant and as Commander of the Detective Division.
Visit Sean’s website, follow Sean @SeanLynchBooks on Twitter, or Like his Facebook page for more information.
He lives in Anchorage Alaska with his wife and teen sons.