Hugh Swaney (seated)

Hugh Swaney (seated)

Several years ago, I got to know a legendary American homicide detective named Hugh Swaney.

He was dying of AIDS when I interviewed him, and what I learned during those ten days—about life and human behavior—became the basis for my character Ernst Grip.

Hugh had once led a conventional life, married to a woman, with kids. But on weekends, he’d go off to San Francisco to meet men. The tension was destroying him.

He’d volunteer to be the first to enter buildings on police raids, and people thought he was extremely brave. In fact, he simply wanted to die. Finally, a police psychologist told him he was gay.

He left his family and changed his lifestyle, eventually finding a man he was very devoted to.

In his long and extremely successful police career, Hugh was known as an expert interrogator.

Because he had lived with his own deception for so long, he understood how to ask the small and seemingly innocent questions that could get a suspected killer to crack.