Work of fiction: Rude writes crime novel

Published 10:21 am Thursday, January 5, 2012

Former Austin Police Capt. Curt Rude is taking his experiences from his police work and putting them to creative use. He just finished his first crime novel. -- Eric Johnson/

Former Austin police Capt. Curt Rude uses experience to write crime novel

After writing a fiction crime novel, former Austin police Capt. Curt Rude says he is now honorably retired from his career as a police officer.

Rude was terminated as police captain in January 2010 after he was convicted of felony drug possession for taking a bottle of the prescription painkiller OxyContin out of the Austin Police Department’s evidence room in 2007.

The pills belonged to Mark Johnson, a close friend of Rude’s and a former KAAL-TV reporter who died of an OxyContin overdose earlier that year.

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With his career in the police force behind him, Rude embarked on a mission to write a fiction crime novel that drew on his experiences as a police officer.

“I’m honorably in retirement now,” Rude said. “I don’t look at the departure as a negative; I look at it as an unfortunate event, but I was given an opportunity to stand up to my values and belief system.”

The novel, titled “Just This,” is a thriller, according to Rude, and has no holds barred. It covers a number of topics, including violence, rape, drugs, suicide, religion and guilt, Rude said.

“This basically has been a piece of work reflecting human behavior,” he said. “This is a peek at the dark, dark side of the human experience. It involves catastrophic events and that emotion of a devious and deceitful chief of police.”

Throughout the book, Rude confronts the reader with many questions, all of which will be answered by the last page, according to Rude. Some questions are meant to get the reader thinking, while some — like whether a parrot is capable of committing murder — are meant to throw the reader for a loop. Rude explores everything from what it’s like to die to what happens when the lines get blurred between the good guy and the bad guy.

The book is set in southern Minnesota and is a work of fiction, but Rude said he used his experiences as a police officer for ideas and background information.

“I’m able to cut and paste some real life experience I had,” he said. “I’ve been there. I’ve watched eyes that become fixed and cloud; I haven’t had to figure that out from watching TV.”

While the novel itself is completely written, Rude is still working on edits and making publishing decisions. He said he’s undecided as to whether he’s going to e-publish or work with a print publisher. He’s also anxious to get writing on his second novel, for which he already has ideas.

While Rude has always had a passion for telling stories, he didn’t consider writing a book until he finished working at the Austin Police Department. What he needed was a block of time in which he could focus solely on writing, he said.

“I’ve always loved a verbal tale,” he said. “I just switched from the verbal story and have fallen into a laptop computer. Now I’m affording myself the opportunity (to write).”