I Read/I Wrote: Bruce Robert Coffin

In the I Read/I Wrote series, authors introduce a book they loved–in the genre in which they write–and share one of their own books.

GENRE: Police Procedural

I READ: Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

This was one of the best mystery books I read all of last year. Told from the view point of a young boy during one hot summer, it evokes a similar feelings as To Kill a Mockingbird. Rich in its descriptions of the small town and its inhabitants, the writing is fabulous.

New Bremen, Minnesota, 1961. The Twins were playing their debut season, ice-cold root beers were selling out at the soda counter of Halderson’s Drugstore, and Hot Stuff comic books were a mainstay on every barbershop magazine rack. It was a time of innocence and hope for a country with a new, young president. But for thirteen-year-old Frank Drum it was a grim summer in which death visited frequently and assumed many forms. Accident. Nature. Suicide. Murder.

I WROTE: Among the Shadows

First in the Detective Byron Mysteries, the novel introduces us to Detective Sergeant John Byron.

Fall in Portland, Maine usually arrives as a welcome respite from summer’s sweltering temperatures and, with the tourists gone, a return to normal life—usually. But when a retired cop is murdered, things heat up quickly, setting the city on edge.

Detective Sergeant John Byron, a second-generation cop, is tasked with investigating the case—at the very moment his life is unraveling. On the outs with his department’s upper echelon, separated from his wife, and feeling the strong pull of the bottle, Byron remains all business as he tries to solve the murder of one of their own. And when another ex-Portland PD officer dies under suspicious circumstances, he quickly realizes there’s much more to these cases than meets the eye. The closer Byron gets to the truth, the greater the danger for him and his fellow detectives.

Bruce Robert Coffin is the bestselling author of the Detective Byron mystery series and former detective sergeant with more than twenty-seven years in law enforcement. At the time of his retirement, from the Portland, Maine police department, he supervised all homicide and violent crime investigations for Maine’s largest city. Following the terror attacks of September 11th, Bruce spent four years working counter-terrorism with the FBI, earning the Director’s Award, the highest honor a non-agent can receive.

His short fiction appears in several anthologies, including The Best American Mystery Stories 2016.

Bruce is a member of International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance. He is a regular blog contributor to the Maine Crime Writers and Murder Books blogs.

He lives and writes in Maine. For more information, please visit www.brucerobertcoffin.com.

9 thoughts on “I Read/I Wrote: Bruce Robert Coffin”

  1. Love this, Bruce–thank you for a great post! Both of these books are extraordinary.

    I’m curious about your protagonist’s name…it always makes me think of Lord Byron. Is there a story behind it or did it just come to you with the character?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mr. Coffin, thanks so much for doing this for us. That is pretty high praise for Ordinary Grace–you had me at To Kill a Mockingbird and then you mentioned baseball; I love the time period of the early 1960s. But I am very interested in Sergeant Byron. He sounds like my kind of detective –marital issues, boss issues, drinks too much. Are your characters based even loosely on people you worked with? Did you think about writing when you were still on the force? I look forward to reading Among the Shadows. Congratulations on your success!

    Best Regards,

    Stephanie O’Brien

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you, Bruce! I actually had the same question as Dr. Kuhn. It seems the famed reputation of Lord Byron has the potential of fitting some of the characteristics you describe about your John Byron. I’ll be sure to go read your response on Dr. Kuhn’s comment to hear more. Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you all for the kind words. Actually, I have a good friend named John Byron. I jokingly refer to him as Lord Byron, mostly because he has mad golf skills. I decided to use his name for my protagonist because it fit perfectly. I wanted a good strong name of Irish origin that wasn’t over-the-top but would be easy to remember. Of course my friend tells everyone that he is the John Byron in my novels. LOL

    And yes, Stephanie. I did borrow bits and pieces from some of my coworkers in constructing of my characters. Mostly I used their quirks. Luckily for me, I worked with some very quirky people!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hi Bruce!
    I always love books and movies that take place in the 60’s, such an iconic time period. Regarding your book, I love that you tie in the protagonists personal life. I’m always drawn into to stories that show relationships, especially familial ones. I’m going to add yours to the long list of books to read. I got a chuckle out of the Lord Byron reference as well 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Hi Bruce!

    Your work sounds fascinating simply in that I’m sure you hold an extensive conversation regarding law enforcement from your own experiences. I’m curious if your found writing about this specific theme cathartic in someways? If so, do you think this affected your characters and their development?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Bailey! Great question. Indeed I did and still do. Writing in this particular genre, even though my stories are fiction, forces me to dip into the well where my memories, emotions, and personal experiences reside. As I’ve gone further in this series (currently writing Byron 4) I find myself dipping deeper into that well and dredging up more emotion. Word from my beta readers is that it’s having a very positive impact on each new novel.

      Thanks for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

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