John L Work’s novels are both a product of his experience as a career policeman and his opinions about what’s going wrong in American society. He’s not afraid to use either to get a message across and his books are the more hard-hitting because of it. John is my guest author this week.
Alana: John, welcome. Am I right in thinking you’re a Colorado boy born and bred and that you’ve not strayed too far during your career and personal life?
John: Hi, Alana. Thank you for the invitation today. Actually, I was transplanted to Colorado from Pennsylvania via Southern California. I’ve lived in Colorado pretty much since 1978.
Alana: I’ve read several of your books now, the last two being my featured book reviews this week: The right angle murders and A dark obsession times 2. Both continue the career of Detective JD Welch, the character who stars in four of your books, the other two being A summons to perdition and Murder for comfort. They focus on different periods in Welch’s career and I’d like to ask several questions related to this. First, why not a time consecutive following of his career? Second, did you have a series in mind when you wrote the first Welch novel? And last, will there be any more of his exploits in books to come?
John: A dark obsession times 2, Murder for comfort, and A summons to perdition, are time-consecutive. At the beginning I didn’t intend to write a series. The idea sort of materialised after I published A dark obsession. As it turned out the first two books became the groundwork for A summons to perdition, which is the grand finale. Altogether the original trilogy was a two-year project. I thought I was pretty much finished with Welch as a retired old man by then.
Alana: But you realised you weren’t?
John: I received enough requests from readers for more JD Welch adventures that I wrote The right angle murders, putting Welch at the very beginning of his career as a rookie police detective. Hence the out-of-sequence stories.
Alana: How closely does Welch’s career parallel yours?
John: A dark obsession times 2 is based on a true case from my professional life and anecdotal events from my police career. Nearly all of it is true, although names and places are changed. (I did take some liberty with the very end of the story.)
Alana: I won’t give it away, but I’m glad to hear that. It made me very sad.
John: If I told you about the real-life ending here, I’d spoil it for your readers. In the sequel, Murder for comfort, Welch sets off to some places and encounters situations that are his own—yet there are elements of the story that are also from my career. By the time we get to A summons to perdition, Welch is doing things I never did. He’s become his own man.
Alana: Let’s look at your other works now. The canal, a futuristic police investigative novella, is one that brings to the fore your interest—if that’s the right word—in military injustice. What was the impetus for writing it?
John: Actually, I wrote The canal with two real-life situations in mind—the imprisonment of 10 American soldiers who killed terrorists in the Iraq/Afghanistan wars and came home to find themselves wrongfully prosecuted for murder; and the ongoing incremental Islamisation of the United States. The plot flips back and forth between now and the future. As one of my reviewers put it, it’s a story of life, love, war and survival in today’s world—and in an Islamised America, forty years from now.
Alana: And then there’s The barter and A well regulated vengeance, (a futuristic look at firearms’ legislation which I think I’m going to have to read) a novella that also looks at crime from a victim’s perspective. Both with subject matter close to your heart, I suspect, yes?
John: Near and dear to my heart, yes. Both of these books also have threads of real-life events running through them. A well-regulated vengeance puts an aggrieved father named Kirkbaugh, living five years or so in the future, in the position of planning to avenge his daughter’s brutal murder, because the cops botched the investigation. The killer is walking about free. At the same time Kirkbaugh himself becomes a fugitive from justice because he has a handgun which Congress has decided to outlaw. So, he’s the hunter and the hunted, the righteous avenger and a criminal on the run. I wrote The barter on a suggestion from my best-seller author friend Diana West. It’s set a few years in the future (I do seem to go there rather frequently) wherein the very sovereignty of parts of the United States is up for sale—to relieve our crippling national debt. There are two main characters, a retired army sergeant and his wife, whose lives are terribly, horrifyingly, nightmarishly turned upside down as the result of the land-exchanged-for-debt barter.
Alana: It sounds very dark.
John: Well, it’s not at all like Mary Poppins, Alana. But, then again, these are not particularly happy times in which we live right now. Oh, to be sure, there are some laughs in The barter along the way. I don’t want to give anything away, but it’s a very intense thriller. So, yes, I do try to capture our present time in my books and, in the microcosm of fictional characters’ sturm und drang, present a believable prognostication of what’s ahead for all of us.
(Readers, I had to look that one up. Here’s the merriam-webster.com definition: a late 18th century German literary movement characterized by works containing rousing action and high emotionalism that often deal with the individual’s revolt against society.)
Alana: I notice a theme flowing through all of them, John—crime. I know you were a policeman and that you’re obviously very familiar with the subject, but has it been a conscious decision to focus on the crime genre in your writing?
John: It’s true there is a lot about crime in my works. I began this writing business with the sole intention of spinning a true-to-life yarn or two. But, as things progressed, a few political threads also began to elbow their way into some of my books. You can’t separate police work from politics, since the police are part of the executive branch of any Constitutional or Parliamentary government. A summons to perdition is really a hair-raising crime/political thriller, as are The barter, A well regulated vengeance and The canal. The right angle murders and Murder for comfort are purely crime fiction with an authentic feel.
Alana: Until very recently you had a blog—Here’s The Right Side Of It—which was an eclectic collection of posts about books—yours and other authors—news and opinion pieces. You hold very strong opinions about what affects and influences American society such as military injustice and Islam. I mention those two in particular because, as we’ve discussed, they’ve found their way into some of your books. Would you tell us a little bit about why these are matters dear to your heart?
John: I come from a family with a deep history of military and police service. Not everyone who served made a career of it, but each of them answered the call. I believe I owe them a debt for their sacrifices. What’s happened to some of our returning soldiers and Marines coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan is nothing less than criminal. That’s a major thread in The canal. Since you’ve asked me about the Islamic jihad theme in my books, I hope you can hang with me here for a rather protracted explanation …
Alana: Oh, I’m sure I can.
John: There is a distinct parallel between the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s’ absence of news reporting regarding the Soviet infiltration of the American government pre and post WWII—and the current infiltration of our culture, institutions and government by the forces of Islam. Just as there were scores of communist agents in the White House, Treasury Department, and State Department during WWII (and they exercised strong influence on Roosevelt’s prosecution of the war), today there are Muslims in the Pentagon, the armed forces, the CIA, the White House and State Department. And they also exert a tremendous influence on what is amounting to our evolving shariah-compliant public policy. The similarities between the two eras are astonishing. Islamic doctrine is one very hot potato that few in political life or media outlets want to handle—in any straight-forward way. Ergo, nearly 13 years after the 9/11/01 attacks in New York and Washington, DC, very few Americans, including those in positions to shape public policy, have any clue as to what’s really Islam’s end game.
Alana: What is the end game?
John: Great question. Firstly, most Americans don’t even know about the beginning of the game (the war against the Infidels of the world actually began in 622 AD). Political leaders abjectly refuse to actually read the doctrines or to pay attention when Islam’s mainstream leaders throughout history tell us where they intend to take us. So, the WWII Big Lie was that Soviet Russia was our ally, a wonderful bastion of individual freedom, and that Josef Stalin was really a decent guy (even though he’d already murdered four million of his own people by the time WWII got under way). My friend Diana West wrote about that in her latest book, American betrayal. Today’s corresponding Big Lie is that Islam is a religion of peace and intends to peacefully co-exist with Western Civilisation. We’ve been spoon-fed that lie since 2001, beginning with George W Bush, a few days after the 9/11 attacks here in America. That’s a mind bender, huh?
Alana: John, you’re going to have to spell it out for me. What do you believe the end game is?
John: It’s not what I believe is the end game. It’s been clearly spelled out for us in writing by mainstream Muslim authorities throughout history. The end game is complete subjugation of all the world’s people and nations under Muslim Law. Convert to Islam or become a dhimmi—one who lives under the protection of his Muslim masters as a second class citizen with few rights. That’s the choice Islam gives us. Refusing to convert or to submit to dhimmi status is grounds for us to be killed in violent jihad. It certainly wasn’t my idea. It was written down in the Quran and in the shariah (Muslim law) centuries ago. Mainstream Muslim authorities today speak about that goal—often and in public. The problem is that our leaders and news outlets aren’t paying attention to them. Our elected officials and the majority of the press corps have their blinders on when it comes to violent jihad’s roots in the doctrines of Islam. Let’s put a sharp point on it here. Ignoring readily available books and public discourse, especially when the writers and speakers clearly state their intentions for us, can have sinister consequences. Mein Kampf comes to mind.
Alana: And that’s why you’ve pursued that issue in some of your books?
John: Absolutely. If no one writes or speaks about the jihad movement, our ongoing step-by-step surrender will go on. Not too many authors are writing fiction about jihad with authenticity. It’s just not polite. And it’s dangerous. Any criticism of Islam, in writing or spoken, is a capital crime—punishable by death. It’s called blasphemy. Nonetheless, I decided to spin a few detective suspense thrillers, especially A summons to perdition, around that end-game theme—grounded in fact, doctrine and in Muslim history. It’s a great detective story. I’ve had many readers, especially women, tell me they had difficulty sleeping for few nights after reading ASTP.
Alana: Me included, I confess!
John: Mission accomplished! You’re very kind. Thank you for saying it. Islamic law is repressive and brutal in its treatment of females. Everything that unfolds in the plot of ASTP has its foundation in the shariah. What happens to the victims in ASTP could happen to any of us—including you wonderful Aussies there, down under. It’s a disturbing, terrifying novel. If you want thrills and chills, read on!
Alana: Before we finish I’d like to ask if you have another book or project in the pipeline and, if so, would you tell us about it?
John: I’ve taken a little break from writing books, at least for the time being. I just published The barter in August of 2013. Nonetheless, I have to confess that there are already a few pestering thoughts which have begun to circulate through my head about beginning another novel. But they’ve not taken sufficient shape for me to decide what the story will be about.
Alana: Another Welch novel?
John: Oh, sure, JD Welch is a remote possibility for another encore. But a real-life cop is limited in what he can do by the constraints of the law and by his department policies. I try to keep my stories authentic and believable. So, I don’t know how viable good old JD the cop really is for a reprise. We’ll see soon enough. It’ll come to me.
Alana: John, thank you so much. It’s been both thought-provoking and a pleasure.
John: And I thank you, Alana, for your kind invitation.