I was away from my blog for a few weeks while I did a book promotional tour in Arizona and New Mexico. It was an interesting experience which took me back to my high school days in Northern Arizona and I actually got to see some of the places I write about in my book up close and personal. I will write more on those later.
I decided that my next few blog posts will provide some insight into some of the people who helped me develop my book. The first person I will focus on this week is retired Detective Rick Jackson from the Los Angeles Police Department.
When I first began researching my book, I knew quite a lot about the homicides of the two highway patrolmen in Arizona. But the only thing I knew of the other three death scenes was what I had read in several papers that I dug up from newspaper archives. I knew I needed a good source for information on the murder in Griffith Park in Los Angeles, and I ran into Rick Jackson on the internet, when I read how he worked with other authors on murder stories. I wrote to him out of the blue and he was kind enough to humor me and write back.
In 2007, he invited me out to LA and we met at Dusty’s Bistro in Silverlake, which was handy because it allowed me the opportunity to scope out the Silverlake neighborhood where Mary Hill lived and was abducted before our lunch date. At the restaurant, Rick provided me with some valuable information on the Mary Louise Hill murder case including the names of the two detectives who investigated that case. It was from his leads, that I was able to later see the LAPD murder file and interview detective Bill Mercier.
Rick has a very interesting history. He retired after 20 years with LAPD, and after a few years in 1999. he returned and ran the LAPD Cold Case unit, where he was working when I met him. He has worked with several crime writers around LA and provided them with technical guidance for their work. He worked with authors like James Ellroy, Joseph Wambaugh, Michael Connelly, and Miles Corwin, to name a few. Miles Corwin even wrote a piece on Jackson in the February 2021 edition of LA Magazine called, How a Former LAPD Detective Became the Godfather to L.A. Crime Writers.
Jackson developed a special friendship with Michael Connelly and was actually a model for Connelly’s Detective Harry Bosch, when Bosch returned to police work in Connely's books to investigate cold case murders. Rick also has worked very closely with Connelly on his podcast Murder Book, which is based on some of Jacksons actual murder cases. Connelly and Jackson have become close friends and they are pictured together on this post (Jackson is on the right).
Anyhow, I owe Rick a big debt of gratitude for helping me with my book, and I look forward to his first true crime book which he is working on with a publisher to get out soon.