Danny R. Smith - Detective Mysteries Filled With Crime, Fights, Guns and Banter
Danny R. Smith is a retired homicide detective who spent 21 years with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. In 2004 he moved to Idaho where he worked as a private investigator and consultant before retiring from his business in 2022. He is the author of the Dickie Floyd Detective Novel series, the Rich Farris Detective Novel series, his autobiography, Nothing Left to Prove: A Law Enforcement Memoir, and The Murder Memo, a true crime (et cetera) blog. Danny has appeared as a subject matter expert on numerous crime podcasts and shows including True Crime Daily and the STARZ channel’s WRONG MAN series. He is a member of the Idaho Writers Guild and the Public Safety Writers Association. As our Author of the Day, he tells us all about his book, A Good Bunch of Men.
Please give us a short introduction to what A Good Bunch of Men is about.
Sheriff’s homicide detectives are investigating the murder of a prostitute on a street in South L.A. when they discover a second victim in a motel room across the street from where the first victim is found. As the case unfolds, a nefarious plot ripe with greed and betrayal begins to unravel, and the detectives find themselves up against ruthless gang members, a sexy drug dealer, and a sniper with his own agenda.
What inspired you to write about two cops investigating two murders?
I’m a retired homicide detective so I write what I know. Some of the events in my books are fictionalized true stories, and some of the characters are loosely based on real cops.
Why did you pick 1990 LA as the backdrop for your story?
I worked as a cop in L.A. from 1983 through 2004 so this is where the series begins. However, now that there are seven novels in the series, the stories have caught up to current times.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
When I retired I moved to Idaho and became a cowboy, learning to ride and rope and do the daily chores of a working cowboy. I’ve started colts, raised cattle, won trophy buckles in team roping events, and I’ve run up doctor bills for my efforts, managing to have a few bad wrecks along the way. (PSA: the older you get, the more it hurts to hit the ground!)
You used to be a homicide detective yourself. How much of your own experiences have you written into your story?
As mentioned in another answer, a lot of my stories have parts of true events woven into them. You’ve heard the saying that truth is stranger than fiction? Well, it has been said that the world is a circus, and cops have a front-row seat.
Why did you title this book "A Good Bunch of Men"?
There is a reflection in the book where the two characters, Dickie and Floyd, coax a burglar out of a building by making him think he’s surrounded by a large force of cops. The would-be thief laughs about being conned and tells the two of them that they, the two of them, are a good bunch of men.
This book forms part of the Dickie Floyd Mystery series. How does it tie in with the other books in the series?
This book is very character driven and allows the reader to intimately know the detectives, and to some degree, the overall relationships of cop partners. Book 2, DOOR TO A DARK ROOM, is very much plot-driven, and dare I say a much darker story. In the third book, ECHO KILLERS, a new character steals the show: Josie Sanchez. She becomes Dickie’s partner and the two of them remain as such throughout the remainder of the series while Floyd stays involved in a variety of ways, always seeming to link back with his old partner if even as a third wheel.
What do you have the most fun with when you write these mysteries?
I have the most fun when writing from the POV of bad guys. In this first book, it is told first-person from Dickie’s POV. The other books in the series are third-person, and the POVs can change from one scene or chapter to the next. (Never head hopping though!) In the second book there is an awful, terrible bad guy, a professional killer, and I enjoyed being in his head and showing his thoughts. Having come to know a good many killers during my career, I pull this off better than I probably should. (;
Do you plan out all of the twists and turns in your stories, or do some of them just "happen" along the way?
No, I don’t plot my books; I’m a “pantser.” Among writers there are both types and it is probably equally split. My stories tell themselves. My characters come to life. I’m honestly as surprised as the reader at some of the things that happen along the way.
What makes Dickie and Floyd such great partners?
The two are polar opposites: Dickie is wound too tight and always on edge, serious and task-driven. Floyd is loose and cool, easily disinterested but quick to engage when there is violence or the prospect of female companionship. It’s been said they are the “odd couple” of L.A. cops.
You include a lot of banter in your story. Why do you take this approach?
The banter is realistic for cops, though honestly if I were to rewrite the first book there would be less of it, as is the case for the other books in the series. But banter among cops is normal and somewhat of a coping mechanism that most cops develop through the years.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
I prefer writing early in the morning with coffee while the house is quiet and the distractions are few. However, I’ll write at all times of the day when I’m on a roll and if the stories are screaming to come out.
What are you working on right now?
I just published book 7 of the series, THE PROGRAM, and I’ve started the next two books. The reason I’ve started two is that I began writing the next book during the Christmas season and decided to have a Christmas-day murder. The problem with that is I don’t think people would love that book in July, so I plan to finish it but wait until close to the holiday season to publish it. So I’ve started another book in the series that I hope to publish this summer. I actually have two other books that I’ve started and work on occasionally, one a patrol-oriented (rather than detective) police story like the Wambaugh classics, only told about the L.A. Sheriff’s department rather than LAPD, and the other a second book in a spinoff of the Dickie Floyd series called the Rich Farris Detective series.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
My website, where I maintain a blog, is The Murder Memo (murdermemo.com or dickiefloydnovels.com). You can also follow me on BookBub, Amazon, and Facebook. I have a FB group called the Dickie Floyd Novels VIP group. This is where I’m most active. I am also on Instagram and Twitter, but I seldom tweet and don’t care much for the platform.