Pressing the Press
Persistence pays off.
“Blood on Their Hands” by Bob Brink. (Provided by TouchPoint Press)
Hold that thought while I digress into an observation about a modern phenomenon: Our vocabulary needs to change with the ascent of technology. I didn’t just type that. I tapped it. That’s because I used a computer keyboard, which produced the letters via a process that has nothing to do with type, as in typewriter, which I used as a newspaperman for a couple of decades until the advent of the computer.
The new computer technology has limitations. I wanted to copy onto my WordPress blog a newspaper story about my work as an author, specifically my novels Blood on Their Hands and Murder in Palm Beach: The Homicide That Never Died. Couldn’t be done; I had to “tap” it, all 719 words. No problem: I was a fast typist, and am a fast tapper. Or should that be “tappist”? I’ll let the lexicographers decide.
Back to the axiom at hand. I tried to contact six writers and an editor at the Palm Beach Post for a story on my new novel, Blood on Their Hands, to no avail. I either couldn’t find their contact info, or I left phone or email messages that weren’t returned. An editor simply blew me off. Such is the state of the newspaper business today.
But I kept at it, and managed to track down a prolific freelance writer for the paper, whose output includes articles about local authors. He interviewed me, wrote the story, and turned it in six or so weeks ago. It ran last week. (He’s a bona fide journalist, and made only one error, crediting me with two novels, when my output actually was three novels, a short ghost-written memoir, and a collection of short stories. But newspaper writers always face space limitations.)
Here’s the story, which includes the two photos, plus a couple that I inserted. Any tappos are mine:
Crime Novel Examines Systemic Racism in County
By Faran Fagen
Special to Palm Beach Post
USA TODAY NETWORK
When Boynton Beach author Bob Brink went to get his computer fixed at the local office supply store, he didn’t expect to get the idea for a book that would be published 12 years later.
Boynton Beach author Bob Brink explores in his new crime fiction novel “the underbelly of life in West Palm, exposing police corruption, violence and ingrained racism.”
But after striking up a political conversation with a polite employee of mixed race, it was revealed that cops once pulled him over for a minor incident and they roughed him up, even though he did nothing to provoke them. Except for maybe boasting an Obama bumper sticker on his car.
In Brink’s new novel, “Blood on Their Hands,” it’s 2008, and an African-American father has been brutally beaten by two police officers and is charged with violently resisting arrest. It’s up to a racist criminal defense lawyer, convinced by his best friend, to represent and save the man whose car’s political advertisement led to a superfluous traffic stop.
The book comes on the heels of a time when racial injustice has taken center stage in the United States following the death of George Floyd, a Minneapolis man who was killed on Memorial Day after police officer Derek Chauvin put his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes while Floyd was handcuffed and pleading for air.
“Anybody who loves stories with a lot of suspense, relieved by humor, will be drawn in,” Brink said. “And the book will strongly resonate with people appalled by racial injustice.”
The book’s title, “Blood on Their Hands,” stands for the violent deeds perpetrated by the two cops and their co-conspirators trying to preempt charges of police brutality.
The legal thriller, published in May, isn’t Brink’s first time dabbling in crime fiction. It follows his debut work, “Murder in Palm Beach: The Homicide That Never Died,” a mystery novel based on true events.
Brink is a journalist who’s worked with The Palm Beach Post, The Associated Press, Milwaukee Journal, Tampa Tribune, Joliet Herald-News and Palm Beach Media Group.
Brink has won numerous writing accolades and several awards, including three for Palm Beach Illustrated, which won the Best Written Magazine award from the Florida Magazine Association after he became copy chief and writer.
My Cousin Vinny
But Brink’s book is more a motley mixture of styles that includes eccentric courtroom scenes reminiscent of Brink’s favorite movie, “My Cousin Vinny,” to go along with the harsh description of racism in America.
“The two elements combine to create an intricate tale that readers are not likely to forget,” said Kate Newton, another Boynton Beach author. “Blood on Their Hands creates a world of glaring racial hatred unimaginable in the 21st century, depicting not only flagrant police brutality but a secret Klan sect in western Palm Beach County.”
“Blood on Their Hands personalizes the issue of racial discrimination, helping the reader to comprehend the makeup of a bigot,” Brink said. “The book also provides a glimpse into how the legal system may be stacked against minority members of our society. It accomplishes these ends in entertaining and engrossing ways.”
Though the fictional book includes many comedic moments, especially in the courtroom, it takes a harsh and unabashed look at the Palm Beaches.
“Bob Brink explores the underbelly of life in West Palm, exposing police corruption, violence and ingrained racism,” said longtime Palm Beach writer and editor Mark Spivak. “That being said, it’s a well-told tale filled with twists and turns that hold the reader’s interest from beginning to end. … ‘Blood on Their Hands’ is really a tale of redemption, an uplifting reading despite the gritty depiction of reality.”
Besides writing, Brink immersed himself in learning to play the clarinet and tenor saxophone. He performed many years with a 65-pice community symphonic band, and played a few professional big band gigs. He relegated music to the back seat after embarking on writing novels.
Brink has a bachelor’s degree in English and German from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and completed graduate journalism studies at the University of Iowa.
He’s currently working on a book of creative nonfiction about a woman who led an amazing life of crime, married a man on death row, and sued the Florida prison system after he was beaten to death by guards. The lawsuit instigated prison reform. A Texas filmmaker intends to produce a documentary film based on the book, Brink said.
In the immortal words of Porky Pig: Th-th-th that’s all folks. Except for one detail: In case you’re interested, I prevailed on my publisher, TouchPoint Press, to lower the price of the paperback from $17.99 to $14.99. Of course, if you want a signed copy for a few cents less, get it at my website, www.bobbrinkwriter.com. And the eBook format is $2.99, compared to Amazon’s $3.99.
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