“The Tenth Nail,” is a story I had wanted to write for close to twenty years. It was one I started several times, but never felt I had the right voice for it. I always felt I sounded too much like Joseph Wambaugh, who wrote several best-selling police drama books.
Due to the compliments I had received for the Sam and Laura trilogy, I had the confidence to try again, and I’m glad I did.
Nate Burns, homicide detective, driven, competent, opinionated, hard-headed, argumentative all describe the man. As do secretive, fearful, guilt-ridden, and dishonest. Nate is more than just a cop. He’s also a husband, and at times, not a very good one. He is a father of two daughters, both of whom get the better of him from time to time. He is a muscle head, in that he loves to lift weights, and he has a horse named Babe.
I’ve always liked Nate, though I don’t always approve of his actions. I believe it was Steinbeck who said, “we create characters and then they do anything they damn well please.” That’s how I feel about Nate much of the time, I’m just along to journal his actions.
It’s impossible to talk about Nate and not include Clare. She is married to the man and their relationship is somewhat like a toy from my childhood. A rubber ball was attached by an elastic band to the paddle. The idea was to hit the ball and have the band return it. Clare never smacked Nate, though there were times he deserved it, but as he ricochets through life, she is his elastic band that returns him home. I think without the influence of Clare; Nate would have self-destructed years ago.