Cops get a backstage pass to human drama; they see society at its worst, its best, its seediest and its most frightened. It's a set of life experiences that makes for some darn good fiction.
So it comes as no surprise that Mitchell Nevin, a former member of the Milwaukee Police Department and a cop with almost 30 years of experience, is making a name for himself as a crime author.
"I always felt that during my career I had stories to tell," said Nevin. "A lot of times when cops come together they’ll have stories to tell – really powerful stories. Cops are actually really colorful storytellers, in a sense. They experience a lot of things."
Nevin’s second novel, "Psychic Reprieve," was published on Aug. 12 and has been burning up the Amazon.com fiction charts ever since, where it is currently listed at No. 9 on the Sports Fiction list.
Raunold Choquet, a college baseball player at Milwaukee State, gets on the wrong side of the law after participating in a hazing prank. While serving time at "Club Fed," a prison camp in Duluth, he befriends a corrupt police sergeant from Chicago and Luigi, an identity thief from St. Paul. After getting assaulted by a gang member, Raunold begins having psychic visions that will make life pretty interesting for all three criminals after their release.
To write "Psychic Reprieve," Nevin, a Milwaukee native, relied heavily on his experiences as a police officer; he has served in Milwaukee Districts 5, 3 and 2 and spent time in both vice and the gang crimes unit.
"Throughout my career, I wish I would have kept a diary or a log, but some of the events are burned in my mind – some of the colorful characters you come across, you'll just never forget them," said Nevin. "Most peole you deal with, they aren’t violent, they’re just people who more or less stumble onto the radar screen of law enforcement either because they had too much to drink or just happened to do stupid things and get caught in the system. Those people tend to be the ones with the most personality, that you can actually relate to, and that’s what I did with this book."
Nevin purposefully chose three main characters from vastly different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds (Luigi is Italian-American, Choquet is African-American).
"One of the things I try to relate in the book is if you go outside your comfort zone, you’ll learn different things about people that you wouldn’t normally," said Nevin. "I just wanted to portray how people can overcome their differences by being thrown into a setting (together), and they can actually become close friends and help each other through tough situations...they can redeem themselves."
Nevin is currently gathering ideas for his third novel, which will follow disenfranchised veterans. For more information on Mitchell Nevin and "Psychic Reprieve," visit authormitchellnevin.com or visit Amazon.com to purchase a copy.
Colleen Jurkiewicz is a Milwaukee native with a degree in English from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and she loves having a job where she learns something new about the Cream City every day. Her previous incarnations have included stints as a waitress, a barista, a writing tutor, a medical transcriptionist, a freelance journalist, and now this lovely gig at the best online magazine in Milwaukee.