The Last of the Good Guys by Ernesto Patino
by J. H. Bográn
When an ex-cop commits suicide in Miami, his widow turns to her husband’s best friend P.I. Alec Santana for assistance. Soon after, two more ex-cops commit suicide and Santana knows it’s not a coincidence. Alec hits one dead end after another in his search for answers until he discovers a shocking secret from the past…
When a former member of the FBI writes a book thriller book, I count on it for its realism. Of course, from a José to an Ernesto, my first question was the obvious one on language.
I’m somewhat fluent in Spanish having been raised in El Paso. I was born in Ciudad Juarez and crossed the river at an early age.
So we’re sticking to English for now.
What inspired the premise for The Last of the Good Guys?
I was inspired to write my novel after reading a newspaper article about an ex-cop who committed suicide. Though I didn’t base my story on that particular cop, I thought it would make a good premise for a novel, given the fact that retired police officers appear to have a high rate of suicide.
Please tell us about Alec Santana.
Alec Santana is a former police officer who resigned from the department after only a few years. He is a bit of a loner and a non-conformist. Like many ex-cops he eventually becomes a private investigator. His first and most important case is the suicide of his best friend, also an ex-cop, who left few clues about why he killed himself.
How much of your experience as FBI and Private Detective is poured into Alec?
I would say that much of Alec’s life and work parallels my own life as a former FBI agent turned private investigator. Alec works his cases the way I do, which I think makes him more authentic and more believable than the average P.I. character in a novel.
Is this the first book featuring Alec Santana? Do you plan on writing more of his exploits?
The book featured Alec Santana for the first time. Whether or not I write a sequel depends on reader’s reaction. If readers like him and want to read more of his exploits, I will definitely consider writing a follow-up novel.
What kind of research did you make for this? Did you receive help from the local police?
Because I’ve worked with many police officers over the years, I really didn’t have to do much research for this project. Many of the characters are loosely based on people I met during the course of my life as an FBI agent and private investigator.
Any presentation or forums you will be attending?
I don’t have anything scheduled for the next quarter. However, in the past I’ve conducted workshops: “Truths & Myths about Private Investigators–Creating Believable P.I. Characters.” I plan to conduct similar workshops later in the year at writer’s conferences across the country.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently writing a novel that will bring to light the story of the St. Patrick’s Battalion that defended Mexico during the Mexican-American War. It will be part historical and part mystery because it deals with a lost diary of an Irish soldier who was killed during the last stand of the St. Patrick’s Battalion in Mexico City. As with any good mystery the story begins with an unsolved homicide and a P.I. who has been hired to solve it.
Ernesto Patino grew up in El Paso where he graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso. He received a Bachelor of Music Degree and taught school for a couple of years before joining the FBI as a special agent. His career spanned 23 years, most of which were spent in South Florida. He now lives in Tucson, Arizona and divides his time between writing and working as a private investigator. He is the author of a children’s’ book, A Boy Named Paco, and two novels: In the Shadow of a Stranger and Web of Secrets.
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