Thursday, December 11, 2014

Author Interview: David Freedland

Today I'm pleased to welcome author, David Freedland to the blog to talk about his new book, Lincoln 9.

1.       What inspired you to begin writing?

As a team leader and commander on SWAT for over 25 years, I felt that the unusual types of calls were fascinating events that followed many of the plots for the books that I was reading. I began to write cryptic notes in my Day Timer calendars for future reference when I would find the time to write. I now have stacks of calendars which provide me with a target rich environment for writing. My college major was Political Science/Public Administration, but in my first two years of undergraduate work I majored in English.

2.       Would you classify your writing more as plot driven or character driven?

Definitely plot driven – there are evil people who plan their crimes, and there is a fascination with law enforcement’s methods for apprehension. One of the most interesting courses I have taken was during my 3-month assignment to the FBI National Academy, in Quantico, Virginia. I took a class on “Managing Death Investigations,” and the instructor would bring in experts on solving different types of homicides. The best module was presented by the Behavioral Sciences Unit on tracking and interviewing psychopaths.

3.       Can you tell us a little about your main character?

The main character is Lieutenant Scott Hunter, a USC graduate, water polo athlete, and student of martial arts. The reader follows his career through his testing and acceptance onto the Special Weapons and Tactics Team where he develops his leadership skills. He eventually promotes to lieutenant, and then commands a team of investigators who attempt to solve serial murders that span two decades. I provided him with my experiences along with the backgrounds of teammates and supervisors with whom I have worked.

4.       Without giving away too much, tell us a little about the main conflict in this book.

The main conflict is between a serial killer who methodically kills women, and an aggressive, police professional whose goal of apprehension is best characterized as a team endeavor. The plot is based upon three actual homicides which occurred in the City of Irvine, California, “America’s Safest City,” but the story is fiction with fictional characters. The main character’s talents not only instill confidence in the members of his elite unit, but draw the attention of an attractive co-worker remarkably matched in interest and intellect.

5.       What do you hope readers take away from your book?

Several readers have already commented that they had no idea how difficult it was to be hired by the Irvine Police Department, and how challenging the requirements are for SWAT. Others were shocked by the savagery and perversion of the murderer, while members of law enforcement were appreciative of the accuracy in the procedures and language. My hope is that readers will understand that homicide investigations are complex events, require great focus upon detail, and sometimes rely on luck in the form of a citizen who pays attention.

6.       Now for a few fun questions! What song best describes your writing style?

My writing style could best be described as Led Zeppelin’s “Good Times, Bad Times.” That’s the first song on Zeppelin’s first album, and it makes a statement. The song moves fast and opens the door into an album which transitions from one song to the next like the Beatles’ “Sergeant Pepper.” Back in the 1970’s I saw Led Zeppelin at the Forum; I felt that if I could write with that energy I might have a winner.

7.       Night Owl or Early Bird?

Early Bird

8.       Skittle or M&Ms?


9.       Who are your favorite authors?

Tom Clancy, Vince Flynn, Joseph Wambaugh, and Charles Dickens

10.    Can you tell us about your future projects?

I am currently outlining a sequel to my first book, Lincoln 9. I am also working on presentations for two law enforcement conferences in California, and one in Oregon, on the subject of Managing Chaos. This involves debriefing three SWAT barricade incidents, one involving hostages. This will provide a good exchange of ideas and an opportunity for book promotion.

Lincoln 9

The ground level apartment was dark, with the shades drawn, porch light on, and there was no response to the doorbell, heavy knock, or the usual police announcements. MacNeal and Nemeth walked to the rear, and found the elevated window ajar only an inch, but enough to slide it to the left, fully open. Not wide enough for Nemeth, whose fondness for bagels left the girth of his frame capable of reaching only the window’s edge and his Sam Browne gun belt blocked further access.

MacNeal, on the other hand, epitomized compactness, but would need a boost to reach the bottom of the sill.  With a quick lift from Nemeth, MacNeal’s upper body disappeared through the drawn curtains, and within a moment stood in the darkened master bedroom straining for night vision.  Scanning for threats, MacNeal’s head snapped right, catching a nude feminine silhouette lying on her back on the queen sized-bed, toes canted outward 45 degrees, and separated the width of a yardstick. Her head was propped with a pillow, and wrapped with a water soaked bath towel, covering all facial features.

MacNeal sprinted to the front door, threw the deadbolt, and darted back to the bedroom yelling “927” to his partner, signaling “unknown trouble, or possible dead body.”  He threw the light switch up, taking a mental note to remind detectives that the switch was off upon his initial entry into the room.  Nemeth lumbered across the threshold, hearing MacNeal’s tone change from urgency to resignation, with his pronouncement of “927-D,” indicating a dead body. Nemeth found MacNeal leaning over the bed, holding the now unraveled towel in his left hand, revealing the battered face, fixed eyes gazing at the ceiling, and matted blonde hair cascading to the shoulders.

Nemeth glanced at the pooling blood, marking the bottom side of her extremities and commented, “Post mortem lividity.” MacNeal retorted, “Don’t need lividity to show she’s dead, man.  Check out the strangle marks around her neck, and the trauma to her skull.” Nemeth knelt down to peer at the small, framed photo on the nightstand, depicting the victim with a brunette of equal beauty clothed in bridesmaid’s attire. “She was a looker, Jim,” Nemeth said flatly as MacNeal keyed his pack-set radio calling for a supervisor. Quickly surveying the scene for evidence, the officers thought the apartment’s rooms displayed troves of clues, but detectives would ultimately determine what was relevant. For the moment, however, MacNeal and Nemeth’s job was to lock down the scene and canvass neighbors.


Meet the Author

Dave Freedland is a 34 year, decorated law enforcement professional, having served with the Irvine Police, and the Orange County (California) Sheriff’s Departments.  Following a competitive athletic career culminating with the award of “UCLA’s Most Valuable Gymnast,” he graduated first in his Sheriff’s academy class.  While serving with the Irvine Police Department he managed a variety of assignments including Detectives, Patrol, Internal Affairs, SWAT, and retired at the rank of Deputy Chief of Police.

As a Special Weapons and Tactics Team Leader, he supervised operations for numerous barricade and hostage incidents, and was the recipient of several awards including “Police Officer of the Year,” “Meritorious Service,” and “Unit Commendation.”  As a SWAT Commander, he was recognized for his contributions in establishing the country’s first county-wide counter terrorist unit incorporating SWAT, bomb disposal, and hazardous materials disciplines.

Deputy Chief Freedland attended the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) on an athletic scholarship, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. He earned a Master’s Degree in public administration from Pepperdine University, and is a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

As a competitor in martial arts, he is a former Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) national karate champion, and has trained in Japan, earning a 5th degree black belt in Japanese Shotokan karate.

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