Whenever rookie officer Ben Grasso, the main character in my new novel, talks to his father who is a retired police officer, he almost always does it over a cup of coffee. Similarly, I can remember many coffee-cup discussions with my dad, who was a Boston police officer assigned to the night shift.

Having a cup of coffee together was a kind of social ritual. My father would start the ritual by asking, "Want a cup of coffee?" I would invariably answer, "Sure." It wasn't really a request for coffee on his part. It always meant he wanted to talk. I never refused participation in the ritual.

When I was in my teens, the morning routine was that my dad would arrive home from work just after 7am. Depending on the time of year, I would at that time of day be getting ready to go off either to school or to work. But there was always time for a cup of coffee first.

It was during these morning discussions that my dad would tell me about the adventures that took place during the night shift while I had been sleeping safely in my bed. I have taken the stories that he told and woven them together into my first novel, The Testing Point.

Of course, not all of the stories in the book came from my father. Some happened to me, some happened to friends, and some "grew like Topsy" in my imagination. I wish my dad were here today so I could tell him about the book. Undoubtedly I would begin by saying, "Want a cup of coffee?"
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Published on July 30, 2012 09:57 • 68 views

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