The final installment of the Ark City Confidential Chronicles is now with the editor. After the recent passing of my wife’s uncle, it seemed the proper thing to do. The facially disfigured World War I veteran turned beat cop, Baron Witherspoon, was introduced in Ark City Confidential. He faced the darkest evil in Secrets of the Righteous. And he fought to save his city from German saboteurs in Lost in the Plains. The last book forces him to face various adversaries from his past, bringing the story arc full circle.
It was over a year ago that I decided to create a new historical crime fiction series. While I had grown fond of Baron and his personal struggles, he was never really ME. Strangely this was the first time in all the years I’ve been writing that I had not put more of myself into a main character.
The new series will take place in Wichita immediately following World War II. Harold Bergman (notice the initials?) is a former policeman who was making his way toward detective but enlisted after Pearl Harbor. After an injury during the Battle of the Bulge, he returns home with a limp as a reminder. The notion of the war has distorted his sense of Law and Order so he no longer feels comfortable returning to police work. Oh, and he’s Jewish and can not bring himself to acquiescing to his father’s request to become a rabbi as morality is a concept without clear definition. Naturally he becomes a private detective.
Now, while I was never in the service of any police department nor had any aspirations toward becoming a rabbi, the notion of balancing the Laws of Heaven and Earth appeal to me. What is morally correct may conflict with statutes; using your sense of morality to justify upholding legal codes, etc. The aspect of being a Jew in Wichita adds a depth to the character as well.
I began my research in April 2019. It was to some extent easier as there was more readily available information on the larger city and closer geographically. While further research at the Ablah Library on the Wichita State University campus and the Sedgwick County Historical Museum was pending, the pandemic and stay at home orders have curtailed continued efforts. Nevertheless, I started writing the first draft this April.
It is, to be sure, a strange confluence of wrapping up one series while initiating another all without the benefit of in-depth investigation within my community. However, these two writing projects have allowed me to maintain a reasonable sense of sanity and composure during these times. The act of creativity reminds me of my humanity. This alone has been a blessing.