Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Car Theft and Other Dangerous Research — a Guest Post by J. H. Bográn

Did I really steal a car?

Partly because I write about thieves—or because I can be a frustrated locksmith—I know how door locks operate. The knowledge came in handy for my boss one time he was locked out of his office.

The main antagonist of my new novel Firefall runs a small car theft operation. The M.O. is quite simple; they target, acquire, and then deliver the cars to yet another link in the chain.

However, I drew the line at stealing cars. Going to jail in the name of veracity for a story is not my idea of fun. Driving a fast car is, though, but that’s another blog entry.

While doing the research, I did approach the local law enforcement agencies and reviewed the statistics: how many cars stolen per year, how many found, etc. Also an ad in the newspaper offered to install a GPS tracking device, as incentive, they guaranteed that in case of loss, the insurance would cover 99% of the car’s value as opposed to the industry standard 80%. That bit piqued my curiosity.

I called the place, made an appointment, visited and asked questions but stopped short of signing a contract—hey, I drive such an old model that the robbers would be doing me a favor by stealing it.

Anyway, all this new knowledge sparked a daring car chase midway through the novel. You see, the character didn’t really care for the car, but he had sensitive documents in the backseat that he simply could not afford to lose, so he brought out the big guns and tracked the robbers with the GPS.

Other source of information came from interviews with people who had gone through the misfortune of witnessing the robbery. Their experiences added depth to the reactions of my characters when faced with similar circumstances.

Now, before you go away with the notion that my book is a rehash of Nicholas Cage’s action flick Gone in Sixty Seconds, let me tell you that the robberies, while exciting, are playing second fiddle to the main purpose of finding a missing person.
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J. H. Bográn, born and raised in Honduras, is the son of a journalist. He ironically prefers to write fiction rather than fact. José’s genre of choice is thrillers, but he likes to throw in a twist of romance into the mix. His works include novels and short stories in both English and Spanish. He’s a member of the Short Fiction Writers Guild and the International Thriller Writers where he also serves as the Thriller Roundtable Coordinator and contributor editor their official e-zine The Big Thrill.

Twitter: @JHBogran

After losing his wife and son in an air crash, former NYC firefighter Sebastian Martin is spiraling downward into alcoholic oblivion. Then his brother sets him up with a last-chance job investigating insurance fraud, but his first case takes a deadly turn as he crosses path with an international ring of car thieves. Sebastian ends up strapped to a chair facing torture at the hands of a former KGB trainee who enjoys playing with fire on his victims to get answers.

You can find FIREFALL at the following:

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