In the Beginning…
A simple newspaper article of fewer than one-hundred words started my heart racing, fired my imagination, and steeled my determination that Detective John St. John’s story of capturing serial killers was the book I wanted to write. But why him and why me? What was there in that story about a homicide detective who’d just received a medal that I wouldn’t let go?
None of this scenario made sense. I had no previous experience in law enforcement and was never interested in writing crime stories. I had no publication history, no contacts or friends in police departments, not one contact with law enforcement other than the time my car was stolen. I was never interested in the FBI, CIA, Los Angeles Police Department, or Sheriff’s Department career. I never dreamed of law school so I could become a prosecuting attorney.
For Pete’s sake, I wanted to write a sportsbook for kids. Instead, I read an article about a detective who’d solved a major serial murder case, and in the craziest and most spontaneous moment of my life, I picked up the phone and called him.
It was the moment that changed my life and his.
How did that moment happen? Why did it happen? Why didn’t I put the article down and head to the tennis court where my doubles partner waited? And why, after his partner told me he was on vacation, didn’t I breathe a huge sigh of relief and put that insane notion out of my head? Why did the persona of Detective John “Jigsaw” St. John get so stuck in my brain that I didn’t think about anything else but calling him the next day?
I called him the next day. And the day after that. And the day after that – seven calls in total. He finally gave in saying he’d meet me if I promised never to call him again.
Going back to why that phone call changed my life. I knew a truth resided in a deep and honest part of me, that if I didn’t meet John St. John the life I desperately wanted, the writer I wanted to become and the journey I needed to be on wouldn’t happen unless I met him.
And I was right.
I rode shotgun with Badge Number One for thirteen years. He changed me, and I changed him. That’s what we both wanted.
Preview the first two chapters of the manuscript
The detective who worked with John on the Bradford case – a hard-working, diligent, bachelor –finally found the girl of his dreams, decided to get married and needed a best man. Who else but John St. John? John didn’t do tuxes or shined shoes, bow ties, or cuff links....
I pulled the article closer and wondered how a hunch (which Websters defines as “a feeling or guess based on intuition rather than known facts) led to the series of breakthroughs responsible for the COVID vaccine.
While I waited for our lively, energetic, and resourceful professor to arrive in her usual flurry of cheerful observations about anything from the latest movie, thoughts about a book she’d just read or a new and delicious recipe, I reviewed her comments on a paper I’d written titled: How a Conversation on the Back Porch Led to Passages.” She wrote: “This is fascinating. Did you work with your client Bob to see if this would be a viable plan?”
The reason may seem far-fetched at first, but the more I thought about those thirteen years I spent working alongside and writing about the Los Angeles Police Department’s legendary homicide detective, John “Jigsaw” St. John – bearer of the LAPD’s Badge Number One – I found myself amazed at how those brutal, bloodthirsty killers he hunted, arrested and brought to justice in his beloved city often had the same friendly habits and relationships I did.
Get in Touch with Jane
Sign up to learn where Jane will be speaking, signing books, new blogs, and her upcoming newsletter. Most important, when her book is published.