John Lutz, New York Times bestseller author of the Frank Quinn series, shares additional insight into his series character Frank Quinn.
I’ve spent a lot of time with Frank Quinn over the past decade; I owe him a lot, but nothing like how much he owes me. After all, without me, who knows where he might have gone off the tracks: taken a part time job, given up smoking cigars, or begun drinking flavored martinis.
Quinn, a retired NYPD police captain, has spent most of his career in something like a war with his bureaucratic police commissioner Harley Renz. While Quinn is corrupt only in small ways, Renz wallows in the mud of everything from nepotism to extortion, and somehow walks away clean. Quinn plays straight and pragmatically, and goes after the truth even if it is inconvenient. Quinn’s middle-aged now, and limping slightly from an old bullet wound in his right thigh, he is physically strong and able, and comes across as a sort of rough hewn sophisticate.
Quinn appeals to women even though he looks more like a thug than a cop. His love interest through most of the series is a former NYPD cop, Pearl Kasner, whose career stalled after she punched out a police captain for touching her inappropriately in a New York hotel. She’s Quinn’s kind of woman. He is divorced, and his ex and only child, a daughter, live in California. The family members contact each other only infrequently. Pearl’s mother, who hectors her from an assistant living home in New Jersey, calls Pearl at inconvenient times (like during gun fights) and pushes for her to consider marriage, especially if she will marry Quinn, who isn’t fond of the idea.
Quinn is, more than anything, persevering. His expertise lies in tracking and apprehending or killing serial killers. He knows how they think, feel, or don’t feel. He is a dedicated New Yorker, with a love-hate relationship with the city where his life continues to play out. Renz finds serial killers dangerous to his bureaucratic future. He is glad to hand particularly political serial killer investigations to Quinn, knowing Quinn will solve the case, and if necessary arrange for Renz to get the credit. Quinn will do what needs doing, looking for justice if not legality. He lets Renz bask in the fame and maneuvering towards a higher office, knowing Renz might be heading towards an eventual fall.
In some ways Quinn is an old fashioned cop, going for the heart of matters with a set of ethics earned and learned the hard way. He has a kind, courtly manner and angelic smile, but don’t let that fool you…