The second part of my (Gwen Mayo's) interview with Detective James S. Peckman.
Alex Azar, his biographer, is sharing several cases he finds memorable in a new book titled Nightmare Noir, which will be available on Amazon on Monday.
Which of the cases in the collection had the most impact on your life, and why?
That may be the easiest and most difficult question to answer. 'Control', which accounts the first time Thaddeus and I took on the returning Ibn'Roth. It still weighs heavy on my heart thinking about that first trip to Chicago, and the lives we lost on that case. We may have thwarted this god's return, but I can't count it as a victory. Too often loss seems to be the driving force for the things I did, and for so much after that case was because of those losses.
I noticed that your first solo case took you from New Jersey to Kansas; for a Jersey boy that must have been like visiting another planet. How did you feel about the vast open fields and near absence of trees?
It was the noise, or lack of, that hit me first. Newark is very much the sister city of New York, and we share that constant hum of life through sound that the Big Apple has. You could hear your own heart beat in the quiet fields of Kansas. I will say, I do remember stealing a moment during all that craziness to admire the night sky and all the stars that the city's light pollution steal from the view.
Could you tell us a little about the reasons for naming your weapons?
Every occupation has its own superstitions and detectives, both paranormal and normal, have their own; it is bad luck to go on a case with an unnamed weapon. As if to prove the point, during the aforementioned 'Under the Hood of Winter' I lost a favorite of mine that I hadn't named.
Why “Stacy” and “Gwen?” (No, readers, Gwen was not named for me; that is pure coincidence)
We're going back a while now. You're too young to remember a show called Two Faces West, but it was about these twin brothers both played by Charles Bateman. One was a physician seeking to heal the western town through its citizens, while his more violent brother, the sheriff, was quick with his gun. I was really drawn to the duality Charles brought to the show, something I think is in all of us. But I digress, Stacy was the name of the character played by the beautiful Joyce Meadows.
Something I haven't shared with many people, Gwen was my daughter's middle name. More than a dedication to her, I feel she's now protecting me.
Have you trained others to continue your work? If not, what do you foresee happening if you retire (now that you've been retired for some time)?
I hadn't trained anyone to take continue for me. I wouldn't want to encourage anyone to lead the life I lived during that time. The fact I'm here alive able to talk to you now, is a miracle I thank God for. I know too many good men and women that can't say the same. Unfortunately, the nature of this world that most people don't see means there's always more James Peckmans being brought into the life through similar tragedies I went through all those years ago. But we should all be thankful there are people standing up to the darkness, so we don't have to.
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