Book reflects a different era of police work
Novel Police noir set in Newberg in the 1970s written by son of former NDPD sergeant
Leisure suits, mustaches, wheel guns and whiskey. These images set the tone of Dirt: A Crime Novel, a police noir book now available for purchase online. The real kicker? The book is set in the Pacific Northwest, with much of it taking place right here in Newberg.
Author Scott James grew up in Newberg, one of the primary inspirations for setting the story in town. But more specifically he was around the Newberg police department for much of his young life as his father, David James, was an NDPD police officer for 30 years.
I grew up with that department, Scott James said in a phone interview. Theyre a bunch of great guys and role models.
That environment made an impression on him, as James later went on to become a police officer for 16 years himself, working in Springfield. He now works as a private investigator and a triathlon coach in Eugene.
While his background in Newberg and in policing provided some of the base for the book, a conversation James had years later formed the basis for the plot. He was having coffee with a chief investigator in Lane County when his friend recounted a story of a particularly memorable murder case: the perpetrator had committed a murder in the 1970s, gone to prison, later been released and killed another victim.
It was a far-fetched but true story that happened here in Eugene and it had pretty good detail, James said, noticing some narrative potential in the harrowing case. I thought, I have to write about that.
He had written several fitness coaching books before but the new 250-page book marks his first foray into novel-writing, the result of a writing process that took several years.
Set in the 1970s as the Vietnam War is winding down, the story focuses on three 20-something cops at the beginning of their careers. Two of them work out of the Newberg department and one works for the Lincoln County Sheriffs Office in Newport.
Theres a couple murders, people disappear in Newport, James said.
One of the Newberg cops is a war veteran who experiences deep guilt and the desire to make up for things in the past, feelings that flare up again when a character from his past shows up in Newberg and then over in Newport around the time of the murders.
What follows is the tale of solving a murder and the toll that takes on the officers involved. Along the way be prepared for romance, comb-overs, cigarette smoking and brutal violence.
And if thats not enough to pique your interest, the quote on the cover should do the trick:
Theres a wickedness in some people, an evil that cant be cured. And theres no amount of redemption or forgiveness that can bring them back.
James said there will likely be a hardcover copy available for purchase through Amazon beginning next month, but until then the book can be purchased in a digital format at www.smashwords.com/books/ view/535084.