Thanks for joining us on the Riptide Publishing First Anniversary Blog Hop Bash! All month long, we’re bringing you guest posts and interviews from your favorite authors, artists, and Riptide staff. As a thank you for helping us celebrate, we’re also giving away $10 in Riptide store credit to one lucky commenter at every stop! Simply leave a comment below by 11:59pm on Sunday, October 21st to enter. Be sure to check out our complete tour schedule to find out where else you can enter to win—one Grand Prize winner drawn from commenters at all the stops will also win a Kindle that we’ll load with every book we publish in 2013!
Plus, check out our anniversary sales—All October long, backlist titles are 15%-50% off!
Today we have a guest blog post with author Fiona Glass, author of Necessity’s Door and upcoming release Gleams of a Remoter World. Catch the Gleams of a Remoter World virtual book tour from October 22, 2012 – October 26, 2012. Each stop is a chance to win $10 store credit and chat with Fiona!
Keep Your Truncheon in your Trousers!
by: Fiona Glass
Police officers breaking the law, on purpose, and getting away with it? Sounds like the stuff of nightmares, doesn’t it? Or at the very least, totally unbelievable. After all, the police are there to protect the rest of us – they can hardly ride roughshod over the processes of justice themselves.
And yet, this is what I discovered when I started researching for Necessity’s Door. Of course I’m not suggesting all cops are bent and break the law whenever they feel like it, but under certain circumstances they can, and have to, bend the rules. The most obvious of these is when they’re undercover, and need to maintain that cover either to complete the operation or for their own safety. Refuse to do anything the least bit villainous and the criminals they’re supposed to be working with would soon become suspicious. Sometimes, they get results before they have to do anything shocking. Sometimes, they just can’t.
I’d long suspected this was the case (although you’d never get a serving police officer to admit to it – it’s probably more than his/her job is worth) but my first real proof came last year, when a British trial involving a group of extremist environmentalists collapsed. The reason – the copper who’d gone undercover with the group to collect evidence for the trial agreed so strongly with their ideals that he joined in their activities and prejudiced the case against them. Then details emerged of another officer who’d allegedly fire-bombed a London store while working undercover with the Animal Liberation Front, another extremist group: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-18423441.
Of course, neither of these cases involved the sex trade, but they did make it clear that undercover officers sometimes did things they shouldn’t, and that set me thinking. What if the same thing applied to officers who posed as prostitutes? What if they really had to sleep with their punters in order to preserve their secret identity? The more I researched, the more I realised that this might well be the case. Both prostitutes and the pimps who run them are notoriously territorial and will spot a rival operating on their ‘patch’ in no time. If that rival is then seen turning down client after client, alarm
bells ring, and the undercover officer would have some very awkward questions to answer at the very least. And drawing attention to themselves in that way is the last thing they want when they’re trying to blend into the scenery.
I still felt that actually taking money for sex would be a last resort, even for an officer working deep undercover, so in Necessity’s Door I set up some fairly robust safeguards to ‘help’ Jake turn down as much trade as possible. His sometime-partner Mac watched his back and even pretended to be a punter to discourage other men, and his department deliberately set his rates very high. But they’d hedged their bets by supplying a nearby bedsit, so he had somewhere to take any men he couldn’t shake off. Even Jake’s inspector had accepted that possibility.
Soon after the book was published, more cases turned up. A friend recalled details of an Australian tv journalist who went undercover as a male prostitute for a television programme, and was forced to have sex with someone to preserve his cover. And in 2011 a group of women protested outside New Scotland Yard about officers forming relationships with women whilst working undercover- presumably to bolster their own cover stories. (The title of this blog came from one of the banners at that very protest, by the way.)
Lastly, only weeks after Necessity’s Door came out, I was amazed to see a report in The Metro newspaper (http://www.metro.co.uk/news/902022-undercover-police-officers-given-permission-to-have-sex-with-suspects) stating that British policing minister Nick Herbert had given express permission for British police officers to sleep with clients when working undercover in the sex trade, in the rare cases where that would protect their cover and/or lead to a major breakthrough in a case.
His announcement prompted an immediate outcry, with other politicians and even the police themselves protesting, and clearly the whole issue is still very controversial. But whether you agree with his decision or not, whether you approve of undercover officers breaking the law occasionally or not, the fact remains that it happens.
And after writing about those very circumstances in Necessity’s Door only weeks before the announcement, I’m beginning to think I’m psychic!
Blurb: Being an openly gay detective in Birmingham comes with its share of problems. For one, the pay is awful. For another, Jake always gets stuck with the crappy undercover jobs. Like posing as a prostitute to catch the new crime boss in town—a man notorious for rough sex with pretty young rentboys.
Jake’s latest op is fraught with difficulties, all of them men. Like his partner, Mac, who he’s secretly fancied for months. And his new client, Graham, who he keeps sleeping with for reasons far beyond maintaining his cover. And of course there’s the target, Frank Warren, who’s much harder to lure than anyone had anticipated.
The longer the op drags on, the tougher it gets for Jake to juggle his own needs with those of the job. They may be closing in on Warren, but Jake’s heart—and his sense of right and wrong—are slipping through his fingers. Mac is there to back him up, but is he really the man Jake needs? Tough to know among all those lies Jake’s been telling himself and everyone else.
Like the sound of it? Want to read more? You can find further details–including an excerpt, reviews and buying information–for both electronic and print versions at my website (http://www.fiona-glass.com/necessity) or at the Riptide Publishing catalogue (http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/necessitys-door).
About Fiona Glass: Fiona writes gritty yet darkly humorous fiction, often involving gay characters and almost always with a twist in the tail. Her work has been published in anthologies from the likes of Byker Books, Pill Hill Press, and QueeredFiction; as well as in magazines and online at sites such as The Pygmy Giant, Shotgun Honey, and Velvet Mafia.
Fiona currently splits her life between a pointy Victorian house in Birmingham (the original one in the UK) and a slate cottage within stone-throwing distance of England’s largest lake. She shuttles between the two so often it makes her head spin, which might explain the rather breathless style of her writing, but she hopes to be settled in Cumbria by the end of the year.
You can find examples of Fiona’s work, as well as details of all her books and stories, at her website: www.fiona-glass.com.