Friday, September 30, 2011

Imperfect by Cassidy Ryan

I love cop shows, I have done since I was a kid in the 70s. I particularly love shows where there is a partnership; you can see that the guys are friends, that they care about each other, even – or especially – when they are trash-talking each other.

Shows like Starsky and Hutch and The Professionals remain prized box sets in my DVD collection to this day. Add to that newer shows like The Sentinel, Due South and Hawaii Five-0, and you see a definite pattern: opposite character types, lots of banter and undeniable chemistry.

When I was writing Imperfect I had this in mind. I wanted to explore the relationship of a cop partnership beyond the bullpen. I wanted them to have fun, to share the snappy dialogue I adore in my TV cops, and although they tend to drive each other crazy there is a foundation of caring and understanding.

Logan and Zach, the cops in Imperfect, have very different personalities. Logan is a bit wild and Zach is the steadier of the two. They are very much products of their environment, and as the story unfolds it becomes clear just how their personalities were formed.

The major difference between the TV cops and Logan and Zach, is that, while Starsky and Hutch or Bodie and Doyle had a different girlfriend every other week, Logan and Zach are romantically involved with each other. The girlfriends never lasted longer than an episode, either quickly disillusioned by the job or – more often than not – getting killed! I often thought that the guys should just be together, because no-one understood their foibles or their lifestyle like each other.

While I wanted the guys to be actively investigating a crime in the story, I didn’t want it to overwhelm or become more important than the romantic storyline, so I tried to make the crime a catalyst for exploring the parts of his life that Logan keeps hidden, even from Zach, and thereby causing conflict and ultimately strengthening the bond further.

I don’t think any writer is ever completely satisfied that they have created what they set out to do, but on the whole I have a very soft spot for Logan and Zach. I’ve never written a proper sequel, but these guys make me want to revisit them at some point.

They say the brightest lights cast the longest shadows. Zach thinks Logan’s been living in that shadow long enough, but can he convince him he deserves to stand in the light?
Detectives Zach Gibson and Logan Armstrong are partners, friends, and something more that they’ve never analysed or put a name to. But it works for them. For now.
When Zach’s grandfather asks them to investigate the theft of a ring from the finger of his recently deceased friend, it opens a can of worms Logan has been struggling to keep closed for ten years.
Secrets, guilt and revelations come tumbling out, and Logan is forced to finally deal with events from his past that have kept him emotionally bound and unable to move on.

“I want a new partner. I can’t work with this lunatic a second longer.” Detective Zach Gibson burst through the doors of the Serious Crime Unit, letting them swing closed in the face of his partner, Logan Armstrong. Anger poured off him in waves as he strode across the bullpen. Anyone who happened to be in his way quickly remedied that.
Zach heard the doors open again and was aware of Logan falling into step behind him, but he didn’t pause until he reached the door to the captain’s office. He rapped his knuckles against the glass before pushing the door open and entering.
“I want a new partner.” He stopped in front of his superior’s desk, refusing to look at Logan when he moved to stand next to Zach.
Captain Grace Evans sat back in her chair with a sigh, dark blonde eyebrows pulled together in a frown. “You know, when I took over here and said I had an open door policy, I really meant it. Then I met you two. Now, not only do I want to close the door, I want to barricade the frickin’ thing. What the hell is wrong this time?”
Zach crossed his arms over his chest and jerked his head in the direction of his partner. “I can’t work with this guy anymore. He’s…he’s unhinged.”
“I’m pretty sure that’s slanderous,” Logan said.
Zach didn’t have to look at him to know the damn man was smirking. “Don’t even start with me, Armstrong. I am this close to decking you myself.” He threw Logan a narrow-eyed look before turning back to tilt his head expectantly at Grace.
“Gib…” Logan started, but she held up her hand and he subsided.
“Just tell me what’s got your panties in a bunch, Gibson. Maybe we can fix this and get you two the hell out of my office before I have an aneurysm.” She leant forward, picked up a letter opener and began tapping it against her manicured fingers.
Zach dropped his arms to his sides again, but far from relaxing, his hands clenched and unclenched. “We spent all morning doing the last of the paperwork on the Naismith case, so we decided at around two-thirty to go out for coffee—you know, stretch the legs, get some fresh air. The way ordinary people do.” He dragged a hand through his blond hair, not for the first time, and suspected it was probably standing on end.
Still frowning, she nodded and made a motion with the letter opener to get on with it.
“Yeah, well, I guess I forgot for a split second that my partner here isn’t like ordinary people. He can’t go out for a cup of fuckin’ coffee without finding some havoc to get caught up in.” Zach’s pulse picked up as he spoke, and he could feel the heat of an angry flush rising at his throat.
“Hey!” Logan interrupted, an edge of annoyance in his voice. “That guy was a douche, what did you expect me to do? Ignore the fact that he was beating on some kid so that you could have your vanilla hazelnut latte?”
“Fuck you! I don’t drink that shit and you know it,” Zach bit out, turning so that he and Logan were face to face, both of them practically vibrating with anger. “Of course we had to do something, but jumping onto the hood of a moving car in the middle of heavy traffic?”
“He was getting away!” Logan’s eyes were bright and his cheeks flushed.
“So you jump on the hood of the car? Seriously?” Zach took a step closer as he spoke, breathing hard.
“Wait, you jumped on the hood of a car?” Grace interrupted. She looked a little stunned.
Zach knew his smile was smug, but he didn’t care. “Yeah, see? Unhinged.”



Cassidy Ryan lives and works in the West of Scotland, with Angel, the not-very-angelic kitty.
When she isn't writing, Cassidy enjoys football, shopping for the perfect handbag, main-lining coffee and watching TV.

1 comment:

Jadette Paige said...

Hi Cassidy!! Thanks for guesting! I love the way this book sounds. Definitely added it to my TBR list.