Bruce Coffin is a fellow Maine crime writer, one of many in a group that extends across all crime sub-genres. I invited him today because his sub-genre, the police procedural, is among my favorite types of reading. I started off on the British ones, P.D. James’ Adam Dagliesh and Ruth Rendell’s Reg Wexford, but now I love procedurals from all over the world, both in books and on TV. Bruce’s books in the John Byron series are excellent, full of strong characters, both male and female, and so real-feeling–for reasons you’ll soon understand.
Bruce Robert Coffin is the award-winning author of the bestselling Detective Byron mystery series. A former detective sergeant with more than twenty-seven years in law enforcement, he supervised all homicide and violent crime investigations for Maine’s largest city. Following the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, Bruce spent four years investigating counter-terrorism cases for the FBI, earning the Director’s Award, the highest award a non-agent can receive.
Winner of Killer Nashville’s Silver Falchion Award for Best Procedural, and the Maine Literary Award for Best Crime Fiction Novel, Bruce was also a finalist for the Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel. His short fiction appears in several anthologies, including Best American Mystery Stories 2016.
Bruce is a member of International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Short Mystery Fiction Society, and the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance. He is a regular contributor to the Murder Books blog.
Take it away, Bruce!
Name: Bruce Robert Coffin
What drew you to the genre you write? It might be more accurate to say that the police procedural genre chose me. After three decades away from fiction writing, due to a law enforcement career, when I finally returned to writing, my muse grabbed me by the lapels and shoved me headlong down the murder/mystery path.
What sets your books apart from what is out there? Admittedly, there are so many great mystery authors it is difficult to set oneself apart. If I have anything distinct to offer I hope it is authenticity. My decades as a detective have provided me with a wealth of insider knowledge and real life experiences allowing me to create and solve fictional murder mystery cases.
What are you currently writing? I am currently hard at work on the next Detective Byron novel, tentatively titled Under the Gun.
Do you write a series or standalones? Under the Gun will be the fifth book in the Byron series. Although I hope to see the John Byron adventures continue well into the future, I have begun writing several standalone books. With a little luck one or more of those stand-alone volumes will one day occupy a space on the shelf beside my other finished novels.
What are you reading right now? I just finished reading Karen Dionne’s wonderful novel The Marsh King’s Daughter. I heard Karen discuss the book at a writer’s conference and I was immediately hooked by the premise. I highly recommended it.
What is your favorite deadline snack? Whenever I’m under a looming deadline nothing beats homemade nachos. After completing a novel I always like to celebrate by hoisting a glass, or two, of Writer’s Tears Irish Whiskey.
Do you have a favorite quote or life motto? My love of the outdoors has led me to hike many miles and climb many mountains. One morning over breakfast at a remote hiker hostel the topic of conversation turned to the different ways that hikers treat their drinking water. Some use iodine tablets, while others like to filter or use UV waves. During that same conversation one of the hikers, whose trail name was Jingles, in a perfectly delivered deadpan said that he always treated his water with respect. Words to live by. I still smile when I think about his comment.
Favorite writing space? I have a designated writing den in my home, but I still enjoy writing while seated in a diner over coffee. Perhaps my favorite writing space is at one of the local libraries. I find that libraries provide a fabulous escape from distractions. And great WiFi!
What do you see when you look up from writing? The real world. When I write I really immerse myself in the fictional world between the pages of my stories where my characters reside. Pausing to look up from that can be jarring, like plunging back though the atmosphere into the real world and its inhabitants.
Many thanks to Barbara Ross and the rest of the Wickeds for inviting me to be a guest author on their fabulous blog!
Readers: Do you like police procedurals? If yes, which books, series, TV shows?
Be on the lookout for Bruce’s fourth Detective Byron novel, Within Plain Sight, winner of the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction.
Be sure to read Bruce’s award-winning novel, Beyond the Truth, winner of the Silver Falchion Award for Best Procedural, Agatha Award Nominee for Best Contemporary Novel, Maine Literary Award Nominee for Best Crime Fiction, and Maine Sunday Telegram #1 Bestseller.
“Authentic and gripping.” — Joseph Wambaugh, bestselling author of The Onion Field