And now that he’s retired, he uses his experience dealing with the criminal underbelly to craft crime thrillers.
Price of Justice is just his first and is out now.
“It’s a story basically about a widowed detective (Jason Scarsdale) raising his young daughter, trying to balance family life with work,” Behr explained.
“He makes friends with an analyst (Dani Mueller), who’s had her share of grief to deal with and who’s hiding a secret to try and stay safe.”
Joan Adamak, an Amazon book reviewer, describes the novel as “...a page turner with many unexpected twists and turns.”
And one unique fact about the book is that Detective Scarsdale calls Austin his home.
“That’s where I live, and I have an older brother who retired from the Austin Police Department, and my younger brother worked for the Austin police as well.
“So, Austin just seemed like a nice little place to write a book about.”
And those readers who enjoy the book can actually follow in Det. Scarsdale’s footsteps and travel to the exact places he does in the novel.
All of the actual places exist in Austin itself and can be readily found and are easily accessible.
Behr said, “I talk about Highway 183 and a couple of roads out there by Lake Travis and the main road that runs west to Temple.
“And the open end chapter takes place at Zilker Park; it’s a main park a little bit south of Austin across the river.”
And, while all the years in law enforcement surely helped with the plot and character development, one wouldn’t necessarily think a retired attorney and officer would turn to writing novels.
But there actually is a strong link between the two.
“Well, when I was young, I read a lot of books, and when I became a law enforcement officer myself, I ended up doing a lot of report writing.
“Then, when I became a lawyer, I did a lot of writing and reading, and when I retired, I just thought it would be great to take my writing skills and turn them in to novels.”
From report writing to thriller writing, Behr churned out his first novel, from first draft to first novel, in just about a year.
That’s quite a bit faster than most first-time writers, who toil and revise for years, usually to no avail.
And, while Behr self-published Price of Justice, as most beginning novelists do, he already has some major publishing houses interested.
“It’s self-published right now, but I have been offered a publishing contract two days ago that I’m considering.”
Behr’s currently negotiating with a publishing house out of San Francisco along with book publishing giant Random House, which are interested but haven’t made an offer yet.
When asked if the whole thing is exciting, he calmly replied, “Yes, it is.”
When discussing some of Behr’s favorite writers, the list is basically a who’s who of crime novelists that he should be joining the ranks of soon.
Andrea Kane, Michael Connelly, Michael McGarrity and J.A. Jance are listed as the authors tied for first as his favorites.
One of J.A. Jance’s character’s she writes about is retired Seattle Police Department J.P. Beaumont, named after the city in Texas.
So, what’s in a name? And where did Jason Scarsdale get his unique moniker?
“Jason is the first name of one of my nephews who lives in Oklahoma.
“And my wife actually came up with the name Scarsdale. She took it from a city in upstate New York.”
And why should the casual reader or diehard crime novel reader pick up Price of Justice?
“It deals mainly with the lives of two people who come from diverse backgrounds.
“The detective is a native Texan dealing with his own set of grief and problems, both in and out of the police department.
“And the woman protagonist, or heroine, is actually from Germany, who moved to California and lost her daughter in a very bloody incident there.
“It’s about how she changes from her outlook involving vigilantism and how he changes from grief to becoming a much more caring father and solidifying the father-daughter bond.”
With one novel in the can, Behr isn’t sitting at his computer playing Solitaire all day.
He’s hard at work on another novel, as well as a Scarsdale sequel.
“Right now, I’m about halfway through a novel written about another detective with the Temple police.
“I did that, because the editor I had for Price of Justice urged me to write that book. So, I’m almost two-thirds the way through that.
“And then, I’ve already gotten a considerable way into Scarsdale’s sequel, so that will be my third book.”
One probably wonders what Behr does in his day-to-day life at home, where he lives with his wife, that he can keep the pages coming.
“I write, “ he laughed.
“I’ve got to get cranked up in the morning. Look at what I’ve done the day before and come up with some ideas for something different to happen that the reader doesn’t see coming.
“Then, once I get the creative juices flowing, I’m just busy typing away.
“My wife comes in at about 5:30 and says ‘Hey, you planning on eating dinner tonight?’”
And when does the author find time to relax and step away from his computer screen?
“I usually take off on Saturdays and don’t do any writing.”
Good thing Saturdays only come once a week.
Fans of Det. Scarsdale are surely waiting to see what he can get himself into next.
You can purchase Price of Justice on Amazon.com, or at his website www.alanbrenham.com.