There is an epithet they use when it comes to Texas Rangers “One riot, one Ranger” and it was no more fitting than in John Q’s day. As far as the Rangers were concerned one is all you needed and it’s all you were going to get. A handful of men that were shaped by the enemies they faced, the last law enforcement agency in America that embodied the spirit of the old west. Now, as then, I believe there’s something in all of us that yearns for a simple kind of justice where right is right and wrong is wrong.
John Q is a Ranger but he’s also a single father who has to juggle his son’s needs with those of the public he serves. The plot of THE CONTRACT demanded a New Orleans setting and that sent him far away from his son. A crime in Texas that led to New Orleans and set John Q against the kind of outfit whose existence had been spawned from the chaos of the US civil war. An unseen riot created by old school family, John Q has no idea what’s going on.
I know New Orleans well and I don’t mean the touristy parts. All I had to do was walk the streets and revisit some of the things I’d done. In terms of law enforcement in 1998 I was lucky enough to accompany the FBI on a mission to take down a drug dealer who had murdered nine people before he was 21.
I need to point out here that you can’t go out with the Feds. There’s no “Ride Along” with the FBI and I was only able to do so because of contacts I had in London who put me in touch with the New Orleans Gang Task Force. They agreed to let me hang out so long as I kept my mouth shut. But that was 1998 and not 1967 when the book is set, so I had to juxtapose my own experiences with a period in the city’s history I didn’t really know. Over the years however, I’ve established contacts other than the FBI. Bar tenders, musicians, hookers and small time hoods. One in particular was a rock n roll singer by night and a private detective by day. His name was Gary Hirstius and sadly he’s passed away. There was nothing about The Big Easy he didn’t know. He had contacts in law enforcement that went back to the sixties as wells as club owners and musicians such as Professor Long Hair and Ernie K. Doe. It wasn’t just the Feds who were (inadvertently) able to help me, before he died that rock n roll detective took me to the kind of places no self-respecting author would ever really want to go.
THE CONTRACT – JM GULVIN – The second in the series featuring Texas Ranger John Q published by Faber & Faber April 6, 2017