The Worst Kind of Truth
The Worst Kind of Truth
by Frank Zafiro
GENRE: Mystery (police procedural)
Detective Katie MacLeod has her hands full.
It has been four years since her promotion to detective, and after paying her dues in property crimes investigations, she has made it to the Major Crimes unit. This is where the highest profile cases land—homicides, robberies, serious assaults, and sexual assaults.
Katie catches two rape cases almost back-to-back. One victim is a prostitute with an unknown suspect… who Katie fears may be gearing up for more assaults. The other victim is a college student who has accused her boyfriend, a popular baseball player, of raping her at a party.
Both cases have their own set of perils. Katie juggles her time investigating each one, encountering many obstacles—a lack of evidence in one, and wondering how to parse conflicting statements in the other.
As she battles past these difficulties, Katie faces another fact… that both cases hit home with her in very different ways. Solving them becomes more than just a job for her, but something deep-seated and personal… something that may exorcise some of her own demons from the past.
Or will they consume her?
The woman in the emergency room hospital bed glanced away from Detective Katie MacLeod to fidget with the edge of the blanket. She looked down at her hands, avoiding Katie’s gaze. Her greasy brown hair with blond highlights hung limply past her shoulders. The state identification card she’d given Katie only a few minutes prior stated she was twenty-seven-years-old and five-foot-five. Not tall, Katie thought, but not tiny, either. Even so, she seemed smaller to the detective at the moment. Thinner, too, than the weight listed on the state ID.
“Nicole?” Katie asked gently. “Do you remember what happened next?”
Nicole nodded but didn’t speak.
Next to the bed, Crystal Docking took Nicole’s hand. Crystal was even thinner than Nicole, with sunken cheeks, black stringy hair, and dark eyes filled with anger. “He raped her, okay?” Crystal snapped. “She already told the nurse, who called you. Why does she have to say it again?”
On patrol, and even during her first year or two as a detective, Crystal’s interference would have frustrated Katie. She was a professional police officer, trying to accomplish an important task. People who got in the way of that were obstacles to her getting the larger job done. To make matters worse, hers was a job that usually had high stakes, so impediments had consequences.
Maybe it was her years of experience—seventeen years as a cop now, all told—or perhaps it was the result of staring down the big four-oh a couple of birthdays away, but she’d become far more patient these days. Instead of getting frustrated, she became efficient.
And right now, the most efficient thing to do was to ignore Crystal Docking.
About the Author:
Frank Zafiro writes gritty crime fiction from both sides of the badge. He was a police officer from 1993 to 2013, holding many different positions and ranks. He retired as a captain.
Frank is the award-winning author of over three dozen novels, most of them crime fiction. These include his River City series of police procedurals, Stefan Kopriva mysteries (PI), SpoCompton series (hardboiled), Jack McCrae mysteries (PI), and Sandy Banks thrillers. He has also co-authored multiple series with other authors, including the Charlie-316 series (procedurals with Colin Conway), Bricks and Cam Jobs (action, dark comedy with Eric Beetner), and the Ania series (hardboiled with Jim Wilsky).
In addition to writing, Frank hosted the crime fiction podcast Wrong Place, Write Crime. He has written a textbook on police report writing and taught police leadership all over the US and Canada. He is an avid hockey fan and a tortured guitarist. He currently lives in the high desert of Redmond, Oregon.
Q&A With the Author
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Getting to spend time with Katie MacLeod (now a detective) is always a pleasure. Her particular combination of vulnerability and grit is, to my mind, truly heroic while also very honest. She is the core of this series and hanging out with her is good for my soul.
I also enjoyed deconstructing the myths and/or misconceptions surrounding the difficult topic of sexual assault. Mostly, I approached it from the investigative angle, but the larger social questions are also explored, including why different groups of people have different perceptions about some of the “facts.”
Nuance and the reasons that reasonable, smart, good people may have different views is a fascinating aspect of human behavior that has made its way into some of my work in recent years. It is on display in The Worst Kind of Truth, as well, though in a minor capacity.
Do you have any other books you are working on that you can tell us about?
The next River City novel (#14) is taking shape. It will also feature Detective Katie MacLeod, this time investigating a pair of missing persons cases. But before that, I am returning to the Stefan Kopriva mystery series. Kopriva is a character from River City, so there is a lot of crossover with the main series. It’s been seven years since the last installment, and this one will be a tough one for Stef on an emotional level. His long-absent and estranged mother comes back on the scene.
The Kopriva book will be out around years’ end. The new River City will follow in early 2023.
Can you tell us about what you have planned for the future?
Lots of books!
Seriously, though, I have mapped out each of my six active series (there are two other series whose arc has concluded) to get each to good resting point of either three or six installments, depending. That adds up to nine books!
That doesn’t include River City, which will continue as long as I still have stories to tell in that world. That means at least five more between now and early 2024.
That’s just crime fiction… I also write humor, drama, and literary (some of it hockey, if you dig that) under my real name (Frank Scalise) and will be moving into fantasy once the above books are finished.
I know this sounds like a lot of books. And it is. Fortunately, I write fast (and edit slow). More importantly, I love what I’m doing, so the motivation makes it less work than play.
How long have you been writing?
Since I was kid, I’ve always identified myself as a writer. I’ve been writing stories since I can remember. But my first, stumbling strides into being a professional writer came in the late 1980s. Then, in 2004, I started in earnest. Because I was a professional law enforcement officer at the time, it was no surprise that most of what came out was crime fiction, including the first book in the River City series, Under a Raging Moon.
Anything more you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Besides thank you? 😊 Even though The Worst Kind of Truth is #11 in the series, each volume does stand alone. That said, I think the series is best enjoyed if read in order because that way, you get to see the progression of these characters. Not just as people, but in their careers. A scene like the wedding in this book is far more impactful if you’ve been on the journey with the people involved.
Also, to be clear, no sexual assaults are depicted on the page in The Worst Kind of Truth. The events and the subject itself are discussed frankly, though, as you might expect in a police procedural. That discussion tends to be professional and a little more clinical than if I had elected to show the actual assaults in progress (something I did in #3 Beneath a Weeping Sky, though my reasons for doing that would be a whole other blog post).
I enjoyed spending time with Katie again, and I think you will, too!
Buy/pre-order The Worst Kind of Truth: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B72GF6SW
Frank Zafiro will be awarding Winner #1 a box set of River City series 1-3 (Kindle version) AND Winner #2 a surprise package of out-of-print versions of Zafiro titles (paperbacks) - US Only. International readers may substitute digital version of any title in the author's back catalog to two randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour.