Jamaica Plain-based English cop Jim Grant is back fighting crime, this time taking his talents to Los Angeles, in author Colin Campbell’s latest thriller “Montecito Heights.”
Grant was introduced to readers in Campbell’s previous novel, “Jamaica Plain.”
Campbell, who is a former English police officer, said in an email to the Gazette that his recent work has Grant leaving JP to travel to Los Angeles to help get a senator’s daughter out of the porn industry. He is caught on live television foiling a bank robbery, but that act soon draws the attention of the Dominguez drug cartel, which has been hunting for him.
“It’s not always a good idea to do police work in front of the cameras,” said Campbell.
Grant is aided in his search for the senator’s daughter by an ex-cop working on “CSI:NY,” but is hindered by a film crew that wants to make him into a reality television star.
Campbell said he chose Los Angeles as a location for Grant to fight crime in because had spent a few days there as part of a crime writing convention and “thought the vibe would be a suitable contrast to Jamaica Plain.”
“I know LA is considered to be the bank robbery capital of the world and of course there’s the movie industry,” he said. “Add a dash of porn and it seemed like an interesting mix.”
The book is the second in a series of novels named the “Resurrection Man.” The series title derives from a nickname Grant earns after surviving the explosion of the JP’s E-13 Police Station in the series first book, “Jamaica Plain.”
Campbell wrote “Jamaica Plain” having never been to neighborhood, instead being charmed by the neighborhood’s name on a map and using Google Earth images to view its streets, as the Gazette previously reported. The novel’s hardboiled version of JP is a mix of real locations, such as the Purple Cactus restaurant, and the fictional—most memorably, a strip club on the shore of Jamaica Pond where dancers writhe to action-movie theme songs.
Campbell was finally able to visit JP in the flesh last fall during a book-signing tour. He said it was “amazing.”
“I walked the route that Grant took from the police station to Centre Street,” said Campbell. “I had a drink in Costello’s, which was the inspiration for Flanagan’s Bar [in the novel]. I even sat in the same seat.”
He said that the highlights were the book events, saying that Tres Gatos will be on his revisit list and that the Brendan Behan Pub “was a pleasure.”
“Everybody was very welcoming and I realized there was a free-spirit vibe that I missed in the book,” said Campbell.
He said that another novel in the series is set in Beacon Hill and will feature JP “quite a bit.”
Asked if he had anything else to add, Campbell replied, “I’m getting an itch in the back of my mind. I can see Jim Grant hooking up with a local reporter to uncover skullduggery at the Jamaica Plain Library. Any suggestions?”