Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fictional Florida Foul Play Journalist Turns to Tales of Crime

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fictional Florida Foul Play Journalist Turns to Tales of Crime

Article excerpt

Less than six months ago, Tim Dorsey was night news editor for The Tampa Tribune. Now he's an emerging name in the Florida fiction writers genre who has a three-book deal with William Morrow and Co. publishers, reviews in national magazines and his very own book tour.

Dorsey will be in Jacksonville tomorrow night signing copies of his novel, Florida Roadkill.

At the Tribune, Dorsey handled what newspaper staffers call "night cops" stories. They're the macabre, tragic and sometimes wacky stories that originate with a message emitted in crackling bits over a radio scanner or daily reports from police department files. Hit and runs, assaults, purse snatchings, burglaries, murders, insurance frauds, carjackings -- you name it, Dorsey dealt with it.

He wanted to be a writer since he was 15, and though he did several stints as a reporter during his 16-year journalism career, Dorsey wanted to be an author as well. During vacations while at the Tribune, he traveled the state, studying the beauty of the land and water and history of locals. He roamed from the Panhandle to the Keys, taking notes and ruminating. Dorsey described himself as a movie scout looking for a location. He had ideas, but no script.

Dorsey, who dealt with real- life crime for a living, had always been reluctant to write crime stories. His first two discarded efforts were about an aimless burn-out who bummed around Florida and a travel writer who had terrible experiences.

"It's sort of like being a cop but not wanting to write a cop book," Dorsey, 38, said during a phone interview from his home in Tampa, where he lives with his wife and two children.

But soon the overwhelming amount of interesting yet brutal information that passed through his computer every night on its way to the press primed his creative pump.

For instance, one night during a shift on the copy desk, he edited a story about some criminals who disposed of a body by sinking it in concrete. When the concrete dried, it was time to get rid of the body.

"They busted the concrete up into pieces and threw the chunks out the window at other cars while they were driving down the highway," Dorsey said. …

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