Debut novel from former officer battles real world issue of police suicide “A gritty and authentic new voice in police fiction”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Alexandria, VA – Author Mark Bergin’s career as a police officer spanned nearly 30 years and put him in close encounters with a difficult and often overlooked issue in American culture: police suicide. Currently, more police officers are lost to suicide than to conflicts in the line of duty. Bergin brings awareness to this weighted issue in his debut work, “Apprehension” (Inkshares/Quill, July 30, 2019) and plans to donate a portion of his sales directly to the National Police Suicide Foundation and similar programs.
“Apprehension” follows the story of Detective John Kelly; he was a pro until his niece was murdered right before his eyes. Now Kelly must hide his one shocking, secret – and criminal – act of vengeance when fellow detectives digging in another case can end Kelly’s career and send him to jail. Kelly must ignore this looming threat and focus on protecting a boy from his pedophile father. Except the hotshot defense attorney is his new girlfriend Rachel Cohen, who shares wonderful news but hides her duty to destroy him on the stand. And she can’t reveal she’s investigating a twisted team of drug cops. While his friends work in secret to save him, Kelly is forced to the breaking point – and beyond.
“A terrific first novel that combines non-stop action…and a hero to restore your faith in heroes”
–Christina Kovac, author of “The Cutaway”
MARK BERGIN: is a man of many hats who worked at separate times as both an award-winning crime reporter and police officer. When he worked for the Alexandria Gazette, he was awarded the Virginia Press Association First Place prize for general news reporting in 1985. As a law enforcement officer, he won the Alexandria Sunrise Optimist Club’s Police Officer of the Year award in 1988 and was named Alexandria Kiwanis Club’s Officer of the Year in 1997. Bergin’s diverse background with nearly 30 years spent in law enforcement affords him the “authentic voice” in police fiction that Kirkus Reviews and others are buzzing about. To learn more about Mark and his work visit www.markberginwriter.com.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Mark Bergin | July 30, 2019 | Inkshares/Quill
Paperback ISBN: 9781947848849 | Price: $17.99
Mystery / Police Procedural
In an interview, MARK BERGIN can discuss:
* How his background in law enforcement shaped the novel’s plot
* How his background as a crime reporter has influenced his writing style
* The issue of police stress, depression, and suicide, why it’s so prevalent, and what can be done to help
* Why he chose to give away a portion of the profits from book sales to the National Police Suicide Foundation
* How we can better unite law enforcement and the community at large
An Interview with Mark Bergin
Tell us about where the idea for this book came from. How long have you been thinking about writing this novel?
I started this book thirty years ago, sat down and wrote a few pages of notes for three key
scenes that popped into my head. I’d always wanted to write a novel but life, wife, job and kids
needed more attention than scribbling. I put the notes aside until I retired and expanded the
scenes and filled in between. I knew where I wanted to start and end and kept adding events,
conflicts and characters to get my story across.
The original theme of the book was race relations, revolving around what it was like for a
squad of white cops to arrest so many black men – the truth of street drug enforcement in the
1980s in Alexandria, Virginia. But when I had two career-ending heart attacks in 2013, a nurse
told me I was supposed to be dead and that God had something more for me to do here. I’m not
sure I believe that, but I decided my post-retirement job would be writing, and that I would use my first novel APPREHENSION to raise awareness of police stress and suicide. I wrote these elements into the story I’d started so many years ago and made plans to donate half of my book profits to police suicide awareness and prevention. (Whether God does step in to help or hinder us is addressed in my next book, ST. MICHAEL’S DAY, still being written.)
Your writing style has been called authentic by many, including Kirkus Reviews and Christina Kovac, author of “The Cutaway.” Do you see your former career as a police officer as an asset to your writing? Is much of what you write drawn from lived experience?
All of the book is from experience, not that I experienced it all. Everything in APPREHENSION did or could have happened. I didn’t suffer the psychological trauma that my hero John Kelly did, but I did have two stress-related heart attacks that forced my retirement. (And retirement led to the writing of this book, so yay heart disease!) I tried to write a book that a cop will read and say, “Yeah, that’s what it’s really like.” That he or she can give to their family to let them know what cops go through.
Do you think your book – or the police procedural genre as a whole – can help readers gain insight into the complex lives of those in law enforcement?
My goal for APPREHENSION was to write a police novel that was accurate in procedure and realistic in feelings and attitudes. It’s not Dirty Harry or The Shield, it’s how real cops think and act. I tried to show the detailed routine of police work, the constant awareness of
surroundings, watching passersby, listening to the radio, planning next moves and potential escape and cover options. And show the violence both surprising and expected, the crushing losses, the mistakes and reversals that force Kelly to the edge. The mundane wrapped around the deadly.
Your work grapples with the difficult subject of police suicide. This is a common issue which is not often talked about. What conversations do you hope to spark among your readers on this topic?
In my twenty-eight year career in Alexandria, Virginia, we lost one officer to hostile gunfire, murdered during a hostage barricade. But in that same time three officers and two city deputies took their own lives. Always, far more cops fall to suicide than to murder or accidental
death. And we are only recently learning to talk about that, to recognize the constant threat of death that every cop walks around with every day. You know why that traffic cop looked so mean at you when he wrote you the stoplight ticket? Because you could be planning to kill him. It’s called hypervigilance, and it’s a pressure that eats at us every day. I want cops talking out their pressure, agencies reorganizing and planning to help with mental health issues, counseling made commonly available and officers who die by suicide to be recognized for their service.
Can you tell us a little bit about the National Police Suicide Foundation and the work they do? Why did you choose them as a partner in raising awareness here?
The National Police Suicide Foundation will be the first recipient of my book profits. It operates a no-tell hotline that law enforcement can call for help and know their agency will not be notified of their issues. Fear of disclosure to bosses and the possible loss of career and
livelihood often prevent cops from seeking help, and the NPSF keeps calls confidential. Dr. Robert Douglas Jr., NPSF’s director, also travels nationwide to teach departments how to recognize and reduce stress on officers, how to identify or predict troubled cops and ways to
improve agency procedures. There are other similar programs I hope to work with in the future, including the Southern States Police Benevolent Association, of which I am a member.