Local Officer Turns Novelist
By KIM SHOEMAKE
SERGEANT AND WRITER: Gary Neece is a full-time sergeant and 22-year veteran of the Tulsa Police Department and recently became a part-time writer. In 2013, Neece published two crime novels, with plans for future books in the works.
Gary Neece, sergeant and 22-year veteran of the Tulsa Police Department, surprised even himself when he added author to his list of accomplishments. Neece’s introduction into the world of writing crime fiction began in 2008, when he was searching for a new hobby. “I just sat down and started writing,” says Neece, “and the first book just poured out.” A rough draft of his first book was finished within six months. While he originally had no intention of sharing his manuscript with anyone except close friends and colleagues, as he received positive feedback, he wondered if he might have the potential for a writing career.
Neece drew much of the inspiration for his first two books, Cold Blue and Sins of Our Fathers, published in 2013, from his 20 years of policing, in particular his time spent in the Special Investigations Division, where he supervised the department’s undercover Vice/Narcotics Unit. Writing fiction allowed him the opportunity to capture some of those real-life moments and use them for inspiration. Both books are based on the fictional character, Tulsa Police Department Sergeant Jonathan Thorpe. The first chapter of Cold Blue sets the tone of the novel by detailing the murders of Thorpe’s wife and young daughter. The protagonist, Thorpe, becomes frustrated with the lack of progress in the investigations into their deaths and sets out on his own covert operation to find their murderers.
Though he often draws inspiration from actual events, Neece combines imagination with reality in creating his storylines. “If I wrote about what real police officers do every day, no one would want to read it,” he says, adding that he often embellishes certain details to make a plot more exciting.
Shifting genres for his third book from crime fiction to dystopia, Neece is ready to show readers a different side of his imagination. “I get bored. My degree is in psychology, but I couldn’t see myself sitting behind a desk for 20 years,” he says, “That’s why I chose police work.” Because of the popularity of crime fiction, Neece believes it’s a challenge to come up with an original idea within that genre. His third book, a horror dystopian fiction novel set on Norway’s Lofoten Islands, centers on Hemi, a 16-year-old orphan, inexplicably thrust into an elite unit tasked with keeping alive the remnants of human society. Though he’s enjoying the challenge of writing in a different genre, he assures his crime fiction fans there will be a third book in the Jonathan Thorpe series at some point in the future.
Balancing his schedule with the police department and his family life, Neece uses his days off to write. “I usually write for three or four hours at time,” says Neece, adding that he prefers not to use an outline as some authors do, instead allowing the story to develop on its own. “I like to watch it unfold like a movie.” With plans to retire in the next several years, his aspiration is to continue his career path in writing.
Neece resides in the Tulsa area with his wife, a teacher with Union Public Schools, and his daughters, both of whom attended Union Public Schools. Cold Blue and Sins of Our Fathers can be found locally at Gardner’s Used Books and The Book Place, both located in Broken Arrow, and online through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other major book retailers.