I began my law enforcement career in Beaumont, Texas when I was 20 years old. I was working in a grocery store to pay my tuition at Lamar University and give me a little spending money. A lieutenant on the police department that I knew through church told me one day about an opening for a dispatcher. The job paid the amazing sum of $300 per month! Considering the fact I was only making a buck an hour, this sounded like serious money.
I worked my first shift as a dispatcher on April Fool’s Day in 1967. That night, I went home with the certain knowledge that I had found my life’s calling. A few months later, I was sworn in as Beaumont’s newest patrol officer, and the real excitement began.
Three years later, I was an experienced patrol officer looking for a new challenge. I moved into the detective division, where I learned how to conduct criminal investigations. My teachers were experienced detectives who knew just about every bad guy in town, including the cars they drove, their associates, and the types of crimes they liked to commit.
After 19 years on the job, I left my home, my friends and coworkers to accept a job as the new police chief in West Carrollton, Ohio. The department was small, with a low crime rate and a stable city government. It was the perfect place to learn how to be a police chief.
Five years later, I was ready for my next challenge. In 1991, I was selected as the chief in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. With a beautiful beach and plenty of nightclubs and restaurants downtown, Jacksonville Beach is inundated with visitors, as many as 100,000 on certain festival weekends. It’s never boring!
After all these years, I still get a kick out of helping people be safe, and feel safe.
My Writing Inspiration
People have asked what motivated me to write crime novels. My first response is . . . duh! Police work is all I’ve known since I was 20 years old. My only other work experience was bagging groceries and stocking shelves in a neighborhood grocery store. Let’s see now. Which would be more interesting? “Drop the gun, dirt bag!” or, “We need a cleanup on aisle five!” The choice was clear!
But seriously, I love reading stories, and I’ve always enjoyed writing, which to me is all about creating pictures with words. Those two loves came together a few years ago as my wife, Jackie, and I discussed what to get our three beautiful grandchildren for Christmas. They have just about every video game ever created, and they’re not into clothes, certainly not as presents under the tree, anyway. So what to do?
Then one day, the idea suddenly popped into my head. I’ll write a Christmas story with the three of them starring in it as kids with super powers? From that light bulb idea, Santa’s Super Rescue, or How Beezle T. Claus Tried To Steal Christmas, was born. We read it to them on Christmas Day, and they absolutely loved it!
Jackie had been after me for years to write a book about my experiences in law enforcement. When I shared stories with her over the years about the screwy characters I encountered, both cops and suspects, she would alternately laugh at the absurdity of criminal behavior and gasp at the cruel ways humans treat each other.
The honorable characters in the Detective Clay Randall Thriller Series reflect the integrity and professionalism of the vast majority of cops in this country. The books also include a few bad cops that are found in law enforcement agencies in spite of our best efforts to weed them out before they dishonor the badge.
As I wrote the books, the strangest thing happened. The characters became real to me, and it literally felt as if I were sitting in the corner merely recording the action and dialogue taking place in front of me. I know I’m saying something that all of you have felt.
I’m looking forward to retiring in a few months. When that happens, I’ll spend a lot more time in the corner recording the adventures of Clay Randall and his fellow cops!
Body Toll is an action-packed cop thriller set in the oceanfront community of Jacksonville Beach, Florida. In a city known for its beautiful white sands and vibrant downtown, a vicious murderer is on the prowl for his next victim. As the body toll rises, Detective Sergeant Clay Randall and his team work around the clock to catch the elusive killer before he strikes again. The author has created a fast-paced tale of murder and mayhem that gives the reader an intimate glimpse into the mind of a serial killer. Climb into the police car, strap on your seatbelt, and get ready for a rollercoaster ride guaranteed to leave you breathless as you witness a classic battle between good and evil.
The Six O’clock Rule
A midnight shootout on the beach starts the action off with a bang in this explosive story of illicit drugs and bizarre multiple murders. As Detective Clay Randall and his team begin to unravel clues, two names keep popping up: rogue ex-cop Roy Connor, and his high profile boss, defense attorney Tony Savoy.
Filled with plot twists and double-dealings, the investigation takes an unexpected turn as the trail leads inside police headquarters. The Six O’clock Rule, an intensely powerful follow-up to Body Toll, puts friendship to the ultimate test as the lines between right and wrong become blurred.
The second book in the series, The Six O’clock Rule, won several awards in 2011:
· Finalist - National Indie Excellence Awards
· Finalist – Readers Favorite in Fiction-Suspense
· Gold Medal – Readers Favorite in Fiction – Thriller.
My website, www.brucethomason.com, has information on my books as well as information about my career and a FAQS page that answers some questions I’ve been asked.