We first met Jones Cooper in Lisa Unger‘s FRAGILE, and he was back in DARKNESS, MY OLD FRIEND. I loved Jones from the get-go because he’s not a run-of-the-mill hero, but is a hero nonetheless. He’s flawed in the most interesting ways, and he’s more than a bit cantankerous. He doesn’t hesitate to speak his mind, and he’s painfully honest, but he also has secrets. He’s really not one to consent easily to an interview, and so I’m especially grateful to Lisa for corralling him into answering some questions. 

What do you think is the single most important quality a police officer should have?

A good cop is able to abandon his mental model of the world and see what is really in front of him. Lots of cops get jaded; they start seeing in people, and in situations, the things they expect to see. And once a cop is jaded, especially an investigator, he has lost his ability to really examine the truth of a situation. Without an open mind, and open eyes, you can’t really be a good detective. Sometimes the truth is a shadow. Sometimes it just whispers. If you’re not really watching, really listening, you might miss it altogether.

Have you ever considered running for public office?

Hell, no. Why would I ever want to do that? I would not be any good in public office. The “bull in a china shop” analogy comes to mind.

If you could have any car ever produced, which would you choose?

I’d have the one that was paid for in cash. You were probably looking for a sexy answer. Maybe you thought I’d say some classic muscle car like a Charger or a Mustang. Okay, yeah, maybe once upon a time. But I’m too old to be concerned with flash. I have a kid in college. If I can’t pay cash for it, and then drive it into the ground, I don’t want it.

Have you ever forgotten your anniversary?

Never. Are you kidding? My wife is a shrink. Can you imagine the length and depth of the conversation, the analysis, the headache that would follow that kind of a screw up? Besides, I never forget anything.

In a dangerous situation, if you could have just one weapon what would it be?

My brain. Since most people have never used theirs, you wouldn’t believe what an advantage it is in a fight.