Today on The Tattooed Book Geek I am pleased to be bringing to you all a guest post courtesy of the author Jim Alexander as well as an excerpt from his recently released book GoodCopBadCop.
- Paperback: 324 pages
- Publisher: Planet Jimbot (13 Nov. 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1916453503
- ISBN-13: 978-1916453500
- Amazon UK / Amazon US / Kobo UK / Kobo US / Blackwell’s / Barnes & Noble
GoodCopBadCop is a modern crime take on Jekyll and Hyde where the ‘good cop’ and ‘bad cop’ are the same person. It is a modern day police procedural story where our main character tries to juggle the various crimes he’s investigating while juggling the psychotic impulses inside him. This is not a story about a good man turned bad, or a bad man turned good. Both good and bad arrived at the same time.
Guest Post: the process of putting together the good cop and bad cop personalities.
“I asked the question, I reflected, and he’d answered it.”
GoodCopBadCop is my debut novel. It takes a lot of work to write a novel. Ultimately, when it boils right down to it, there are a lot of words bundled together to form, hopefully, something that not only makes sense, but is entertaining, thought provoking; worthwhile even. I’d been playing about with the concept driving GoodCopBadCop for several years – a modern crime take on Jekyll and Hyde where ‘good cop’ and ‘bad cop’ are the same person.
I’ve been told it’s an intriguing concept. I’m biased of course, but I’m inclined to agree. But a book needs more than a half decent high concept. There needs to be a point to it, a means of bringing those words to life; a lightning rod, a spark. For me this comes in the form of the relationship between the good cop and bad cop personas of our main character Detective Inspector Brian Fisher.
When someone asks me to talk about GCBC, deliver an elevator pitch so to speak, I go on to explain how the good cop is very good and the bad cop is very …
I leave enough of a pause, hopeful the other person will chip in and finish the sentence. So right at the start I knew I’d have to convince that the good cop was good, quintessentially good, someone who would much rather have a sit down in a comfy armchair, notebook in one hand, enjoying nothing more than a nice cup of a tea and a custard cream. Bad Cop on the other hand is unflinching, relentless and unrepentant. A force of nature; a ball of sinew and unconstrained fury. Someone who hides in plain sight, cutting corners to a calculated, malevolent degree. Let’s face it, he’s a psychopath.
So, yeah, I had my good cop and I had my bad cop, but that was the easy part done. I needed both personalities, occupying two extremes, to coexist one with the other. Not only share the same universe, but share the same person. To make the transition from one personality to another appear not only seamless and convincing, but desirable also. The reader not only wants the change, the switch from thoughtful, deeply sympathetic Brian Fisher to full berserker mode Brian Fisher, she demands it.
The transformation is marked by a physical change as the following extract I hope demonstrates:
“My body shuddered. It filled out my suit. Ringed eyes opened with raw intensity, rendered bloodshot. Face cloaked in dust made from dead human skin. My hair was ruffled. My swollen tongue recoiled from stabbing canines, only to find grinding molars. The hairs on my arms stood on end and pressed against the sleeves of my shirt. A fire raged in my chest. After that lot, the back pain was a piece of piss.
I was the fucking cat’s pyjamas.”
But the thing that most has to work with this book, the absolute bottom line, is the change within. What’s going on inside DI Fisher’s head? Bad Cop doesn’t feel the need to justify what he is. Instead he claims he is the result of a corrupt and terrifying world. A product of a world of crime festering in the shadows and dark alleys. A world which many of us chose not to linger on, opting instead to rush on by. We lock ourselves away and keep ourselves safe and, really, this is the only sane view to take. Bad Cop exists to embrace and fight the darkness, the giddying depths of criminality, so that we don’t have to.
Good Cop only sees the good in people. Bad Cop only sees the bad. GoodCopBadCop is nothing more than a reflection of the society we have built for ourselves. In DI Fisher’s company only the virtuous enjoy the luxury of being able to look away.
But don’t look away just yet. Short excerpt to follow….
GoodCopBadCop Book Excerpt.
“I asked the question, I reflected, and he’d answered it. My thoughts were with Aunt Morag. Simple Aunt Morag, uncomplicated and loyal to a fault. What had she done to deserve a truly loathsome man such as William Dreyfus? Sincerely, we lived in a rotten world.
Wullie was back down on his chair, as quickly as he’d got up. A terrible smugness had taken over him. He pointed his finger, this time cocking his thumb, shaping his hand like a gun, towards the white plastic bag.
‘Anyway, I say,’ he said, ‘atten-shoo-ate the positive. You have the stash, which means Big Roy will come after you now. That one, he puts the ‘ment’ in mental.’
For me, it was in for a penny, in for a pound. I could try and distance myself. I could attempt to look down at the likes of William Dreyfus, while protesting all the while that I was nothing like that. I could keep him at arm’s length. Espouse disapproval with every cell in my body. But I was the crow from Aesop’s Fables, made to look ridiculous by pretending to be a raven. This was as much my world as his. It enveloped me in dead skin, haunted my dreams, sickened and spoiled me. It was what made me what I was.
I revealed to Uncle Wullie, not for the first time, something of my other self. My mouth was crooked and my face filled out. I had puffy eyes.
‘Tell me, Wullie,’ I said in that second voice of mine, ‘do I look worried?’
He looked at me, but this time he was cockeyed. ‘A little,’ he said. ‘A little … different.’
I took his conviction of before. I took his spite and arrogance and swallowed them whole. He was nothing but a hollow shell, at least to my eyes; at least to my world. My side of the table, I leaned forward.
For his part, Wullie regressed. His side of the table, he shrunk.
‘You think?’ I said. ‘I’ll tell you a secret. Anyone comes for me at three in the morning with their fists and knives, sticks and stones and oversized boots, I’ll be prepared. I’ll be ready for them. I keep a hammer under my pillow.’”
About Jim Alexander.
Jim Alexander is an award-winning writer who has worked for TV (Metal Hurlant Chronicles) and for DC (Batman 80-Page Giant, Birds of Prey) and Marvel (Uncanny Origins, Spectacular Spider-Man). GoodCopBadCop is his debut novel.
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