Rick Mofina is a former crime reporter and the award-winning author of several acclaimed thrillers. He's interviewed murderers face-to-face on death row and patrolled with the LAPD and the RCMP. His true-crime articles have appeared in the New York Times, Marie Claire, Reader's Digest and Penthouse. He's reported from the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, Africa, Qatar and Kuwait's border with Iraq.
Two exchanges from Mofina's interview with Jon Jordan:
JON: What’s the strangest experience you’ve had as a reporter?Read the complete interview.
RICK: There’ve been many. One quiet night I was working alone in the newsroom on the cop beat when a call came in for me. It was a convicted murdered who was calling from prison. From the psych ward. I didn’t know him, but I had written about him. That night he confessed to me how he tricked his way to get access to a telephone because he needed to talk to somebody outside of the institution. So, I said, talk. He then went into to every detail, every vile, disgusting detail, of how he abducted two young women then held them hostage in a suburban home. Then he told me exactly how he murdered one but decided to let the other live. He was not remorseful, or even emotional. He just wanted me to have a clear accounting. Then he hung up. My spine rattled for hours after. I had trouble sleeping that night. That’s only one strange experience from the beat.
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JON: What is the biggest difference in writing techniques between the novels and your reporting, aside from the obvious fact and fiction aspects?
RICK: Novels allow you to drill deeper. To probe a person’s thoughts. Journalistic objectivity, in that sense, goes out the window. Journalism still allows you to convey many things against impossible deadlines. Still, some of the best writers, and copyeditors who help them, are found in newspapers. But crime fiction allows you to go deeper into characters, themes, the actual soul of a story. And maybe on that level you do get closer to some universal truths. For example, a news story in good hands can convey quite powerfully how sickened a homicide detective is, say, over a child murder. But the novelist can take you further. The novelist can take you into the detective’s heart, make you feel what he or she feels witnessing an autopsy, or informing an inconsolable parent, or questioning a lying suspect, or grappling with their own anguish at night when their head touches the pillow and sleep is a fugitive.
Visit Rick Mofina's website. His books include Every Fear, A Perfect Grave, Six Seconds, and Vengeance Road.