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Bogie McGruder, a private investigator and Florida real estate investor, learns that his cop brother is gunned down on the streets of Boston. When Bogie and his teenage daughter return to Boston for the funeral. he finds his family reeling out of control, fueled by alcohol and mired in scandals.
While home for his brother's services, Bogie is contacted by his old flame, a young Boston attorney named Bailey Hampfield, who is seeking protection from a dangerous and unknown stalker. Bailey also has yet to tell Bogie that he is the father of her three year old daughter.
What begins as a short condolence trip to Boston for Bogie, soon turns into a deepening investigation into a twisted tale of murder, deceit and family lies.
Witty and dark, The Girl In White Pajamas is an entertaining read, filled with gritty characters and broken morals.
She looked up, took in a quick breath and gasped before she said, “God dammit, Bud! What do you want from me!?” She yelled over the wind not expecting an answer to her question. Bailey shouted, “Stop stalking me!”
“I want you to give me a chance. Don’t want you to do anything...” Bud stopped speaking. His heart raced, and his eyes opened wide as he heard a familiar metallic click behind him. As the trigger was engaged, he dived toward her, knocking Bailey to the ground. The bullet entered the back of his head and exited the
front, taking brain and bone fragments with it. Bailey lay motionless where she had fallen with Bud’s body slumped on top of hers.
“That’s the beauty of the ‘Bogie Man’. He decides when your time is up, and you’re gone, history.”
For almost twenty-five years, I did investigative work for small law firms conducting business in rough housing projects and crack house neighborhoods. I met with clients in every jail in the area even the now defunct Charles Street Jail and Deer Island House of Corrections. On good days, I got to take the .25 caliber handgun out of my pocket and the 9mm out of my purse and go to court. Then the real show began!
Several years ago, while sitting in a courtroom with a client, I
watched as a police officer was lambasted by an attorney. The attorney was defending a young woman who crashed her car into two other vehicles before she passed out drunk behind the wheel. The occupants of the other cars were seriously hurt and the cop, a former EMT, tried to assist the injured while waiting for ambulances to arrive. The attorney questioned the cop's every move, shredded his testimony and made him seem inept.
Embarrassed, the cop returned to his seat beside me and muttered, "Everybody lies. The judges lie, the lawyers lie, the witnesses lie.." I wanted to tell him not to worry that in about five years he'd be just as good a liar as they were.
The seeds for The Girl in White Pajamas were planted in that courtroom.
What would you like to tell people:
What would I like to tell people. I lived in the areas I write about and have witnessed and/or survived most of the things I write about.
The second book in the series, The Girl in Black Pajamas is coming out in the fall.
When were you first bitten by writing bug?
I’ve always written in one form or another. Easily bored, I drew pictures or wrote letters to imaginary friends when I was a student.
When did you consider yourself a writer?
I believe I’ve always considered myself a writer. That is my way of expressing myself and helped me make a living. Although my primary job was investigations, I also assisted attorneys in writing settlement briefs from the raw data. That was fiction writing at its finest.
What inspired you to write your first book?
A few years ago, while sitting in a courtroom with a client, I watched as a police officer was lambasted by an attorney. The attorney was defending a woman who crashed her car into two other vehicles before she passed out drunk at the wheel. The other drivers were seriously hurt and the cop, a former EMT, tried to assist the injured while waiting for ambulances to arrive. The attorney questioned the cop’s every move, shredded his testimony and made him seem inept.
Embarrassed, the cop returned to his seat beside me and muttered, “Everybody lies. The judges lie, the lawyers lie, the witnesses lie...” I wanted to tell him not to worry that in about five years he’d be just as good a liar as they were.
That day I realized that many of those who are entrusted with upholding and enforcing the law have the least regard for it. The seeds for the “The Girl in White Pajamas” were planted in that courtroom.
Specific writing style: I write like I speak, profanity, vulgarity and all. That’s me.
The title grew from the story. It started as a love story wrapped up in a murder mystery, but the child’s role became pivotal and she became the object of the story.
What do you want readers to get out of your novels?
I want them to be entertained. When I read a book, I want to be entertained and feel that I’ve had a positive experience. I have no secret message or platform other than the belief that people are what they are – take them or leave them but don’t try to change them.
Is the book mostly fantasy?
NO! Sadly most of the things I write about have happened.
Music: Bogie’s old school and macho. He like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Michael Buble. Bailey’s father was a country/western singer to she likes country music, being a Francophile she also listens to French music.
The experiences in my writing are definitely fact based.
What books influenced your life the most?
Gone with the Wind, Angela’s Ashes and, strangely, Forever Amber, which I read when I was ten years old.
Authors with the most influence: John Sandford, Joseph Wambaugh, Susan Isaacs
What book are you reading now?
Just started Concealed in Death, the J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts) futuristic detective stories. I think I’ve read all of them.
Have any authors interested you by their writing style…
Frank McCort. He told a tragic story in Angela’s Ashes with hope and humor. He even threw in some verses and songs.
What are your current projects?
Working on the edits on the second book while going through the first draft of the third novel.
Do you see writing as a career?
I do now. I believe that all my previous jobs were done to get life experiences. At times, when I was in a dangerous situation, I’d think to myself, “This is going to make one hell of a story!”
Change anything in your latest book. No, I don’t think so.
Current work: In the second book one of Bogie’s employees in his Boston security firm is shot in the back and a hacker is trying to break through his computer network. Meanwhile, in Florida, deputy sheriffs are making porn movies and selling them on the internet.
Three favorite authors: John Sandford, Michael Connelly and Joseph Wambaugh.
The covers: The cover for the first book was designed by Erica Baert – she’s a graphic artist. I told her what I wanted and provided her with snapshots of my granddaughter at three years old. Yes, my granddaughter was the model for Isabella.
I don’t find writing a book hard. I have a vague outline in my head when I begin and then start writing. I’m amazed how a story turns out when it’s finally over. Because I’m a newbie in the publishing world, I don’t have the pressure of contracts and deadlines. The book is ready when I’m comfortable with it.
What did I learn from writing the book?
I learned more after I wrote the book and that is that there’s no silver bullet or fast track to the top. There’s a lot of steady, hard work and marketing to get noticed. And that’s a job in itself.
Advice to other writers?
Unless you love what you do and feel compelled and driven, stop! Writing is not a group activity. It’s a solitary business that allows you sit and wonder why the hell you chose this path.
Which comes first – For me it’s the characters and then how they react to different situations?
Published writer: Advice: Unless you’re a celebrity, don’t sit around and wait for an agent or publisher to notice you. If you think your work is good, self-publish. You’ll learn the business by the seat of your pants the others before you have.
Where to find Chris Birdy