Mysteries, thrillers, home of PI Thomas Black

Author notes on Deviant Behavior.  I got the idea for the title while walking through Seattle’s old Bon Marche store — now Macy’s. I passed a young woman with a textbook in her arms. You guessed it. The title was Deviant Behavior. I typically won’t use a title I know another fiction author has used and so followed the young woman for a few minutes until I could ascertain it was a text book and not a work of fiction. At the time, I was quite pleased with the find.

There are two young brothers featured in Deviant Behavior. Their basis is a twenty-second snapshot I glimpsed one Christmas eve while driving through Tacoma on our way to my parents annual holiday party.  It was just after sundown and on the sidewalk a couple of blocks from my parents house I spotted a young boy being attacked by a full-sized Doberman. The dog hadn’t bitten him yet, but was snarling and snapping and it looked as if any second the kid was going to be toast. The boy was maybe seven or eight. Before I could stop the car to leap out and help, another young boy, this one just a couple of years older and hardly big enough to take on a Doberman, stepped between the dog and his little brother. He then quickly shouted the dog down and the two made their escape. The whole thing took only a few seconds, but it was clear during those few seconds that neither boy was familiar with the dog, and if the older boy hadn’t stepped in, something terrible would have happened. It was a terrifying moment for us all, but that one moment of tremendous courage, a boy protecting his younger sibling without a second’s thought for his own safety, was the basis for Deviant Behavior. I’d rarely seen such courage anywhere. I built the two brothers in the story from that one incident.

Most of the scenes in the International District — Seattle’s  Chinatown — ,  including the underground tunnels between buildings, were set in places I’d visited in my day job as a lieutenant on Ladder 3 while working for the Seattle Fire Department. Some of those tunnels, which were originally dug so that gamblers could escape police raids, are still there, though now bricked over.

  1. Fern Vander Hart Said,

    Are Todd and Buzz named for the Route 66 TV show characters? What’s the significance if they are? Just that these two outsiders relate to the TV characters?

  2. admin Said,


    Honestly, it was so long ago when I wrote that book I don’t know the answer to your question. I do know that I was a big fan of Route 66 when it was in it’s first run and knew all the episodes well. I probably did it as an homage to the show. There is another more blatant and more self conscious homage in that book. The author of The Eunuch is based on a very famous mystery author. I’ll let you guess which.

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