Sunday, September 25, 2011

Zach Fortier: The IAN Interview

Zach Fortier has experience as a Military Policeman, Deputy Sheriff, and Police Officer. Serving on two SWAT teams. He has held positions as a K-9 handler, gang unit detective, sex crimes investigator, domestic violence crimes investigator, bike patrol officer, school resource officer and has been assigned to the COPS section (community oriented policing). He was diagnosed with Acute PTSD in 2003. Currently living in Denver, Colorado. He has three adult children, and is married to an amazing woman. Hobbies include photography, weightlifting, and hiking.

IAN. Please tell us about your latest book:

ZF. Curbchek is an account of the calls handled by Zach Fortier (me) during a 28 year career in Law Enforcement. It is a compilation of notable incidents that affected the perceptions I had as a new officer, out to make a difference in the community. Ending as the street wise, damaged, edgy veteran officer, more concerned with surviving the night and making it home alive. All illusions of being able to make a difference, having long since been squashed. Names places and some minor details have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved. The message of the book however remains intact.

IAN. How long did it take to write Curbchek?

ZF. It took about a year to write the book. It was an emotionally difficult process to recall the incidents in the detail required to be able to effectively recount them in the book.

IAN. What inspired you to write the book?

ZF. I have thought about it for years. Then a friend suggested I consider writing the book and it took off.

IAN. Talk about the writing process.

ZF. I write all day long! When I am in the groove I am focused. I push on until I am done. Then it is back to the weight room! Writing is stressful for me.

IAN. Did you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft?

ZF. For Curbchek I just tried to recall in detail each incident as best I could. I would often get up in the middle of the night and write for a couple of hours as important details came back to me. Later I organized it into a more complete outline. For my upcoming book "Street Creds", I have an outline, a definite direction that I want to go.

IAN. How is Curbchek different from others in your genre?

ZF. I would say that the difference in my book is that there is not much "sensationalism" in it. It is what it is. The stories are not bigger than life, they are not unbelievable. They are life. Reality is more than enough.

IAN. Is Curbchek published in print, e-book or both?

ZF.The Book is available in Kindle format, and in Paperback on Hardback and Paperback "signed" editions are available on my website.

IAN. What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

ZF. An "Oh wow! That was intense!" moment. It was for me.

IAN. Where can we go to buy your Curbchek?

ZF. You can buy Paperback and Kindle editions on If you would like a signed copy they are available on my web site.

IAN. Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand alone?

ZF. Street Creds is my next project. It is currently in the works. It is a continuation of the same theme. However, it details cases I handled while assigned to the gang task force. Each story will stand alone as does each book.

IAN. Any other links or info you'd like to share?

ZF. My web site:

My Facebook page:

Curbchek by Zach Fortier

244 pages Crime Fiction

Chapter 1

Is There a Problem Officer?

The population is up to three quarter million, but it’s still a place where it’s fairly easy to spot something out of place.

I was the south car that night. It’s my old hometown. I’d never intended to return.

I wonder how the taxpayers might feel if they knew only three cars patrolled the entire unincorporated area of the county, all that space between the city and towns, the wide open patches between outbreaks of civilization. That’s three cars and a sergeant, and maybe a K-9 unit if we’re lucky.

I was conducting extra patrols homeowners or businesses had requested. Most guys pencil whipped this shit but I was a little more obsessive about it. Seemed like we should check them. If there were ever a problem, I would’ve regretted not checking.

I am checking this shopping unit complex every day I work the south side. A photo supply business near the mouth of the canyon was reporting break-ins. One night I find a truck parked back behind the complex.

It was hidden so the driver had to be trying to shield it from anyone’s view on the street. It gave me the creeps.

I backed out and re-approached, checking the area for snipers.

There were none of course. I had just come from a military background and that was still fresh in my mind. I ran the plates and checked them against the VIN, they matched. I ran the car through NCIC and it was not stolen. I checked the entire complex and no businesses had been broken into. I had dispatch print the plate, cross-reference the registered owner with warrants, NCIC, and drivers license. Nothing. I asked them to print it all out. I kept records of my own at the time to learn from, go back over and see what I had missed.

This was the part of police work I would always love. This small window of independence. The military was good for training in tactics, firearms, marksmanship, and the extreme fitness that I still maintain today. However there was no room for independent thinking, for questioning anything. You did what you were told, always. You were never in charge, always waiting for some rear echelon motherfuckers -- we called them REMFs -- to make a decision.

Move before you’re told and you pay dearly. Rank structure was severely ingrained in me. Anyone who outranked you was in charge, just the opposite of real police work. On the street the call was yours and yours alone.

At first that was hard for me to get used to. A sergeant would show up and the military training would kick in and I would subordinate immediately. Once I realized I could take the call and run with it, that it wasn’t a test to see if I was insubordinate, I was all over it. I loved taking the call. I respected no one’s position in life based on his or her job or money. So, I was not intimidated by much, I’d listen to both sides and make my decisions.

Anyway, this night, I was puzzled. It was dark. What in the hell was going on?

I go to dispatch to pick up the printouts, and as I am leaving one of the dispatchers says she just got a call from a lady who wanted a friend of hers checked on.

She said the woman claims her friend’s ex-husband had been calling her from Wyoming and making threats. The ex is a paranoid schizophrenic and he sounded like he was off his meds. Her friend had called and then quickly hung up.

When she called back, no answer. The last names matched the owner of the truck I had just checked on. The truck was from Wyoming.

I felt like an ass. I am sitting there fumbling around with this truck; meanwhile this guy is out there. I haul ass down to this missing women’s mobile home, which is near the mouth of the canyon where I had come upon the truck parked so carefully hidden.

The door of the mobile home had been kicked in. I called for backup and went in. I

searched the trailer, which smelled like a damn litter box, and in the only bedroom I find a bed unmade, and covered in blood….

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