Hot on the heels of his successful first novel, Fort Bend County sheriff’s detective Rick White is already working toward the release of his second book.
White is the author if “The Charon Unit,” a crime thriller based on his experience as a gang investigator.
He is also the son of former Brookshire Police Chief and veteran law enforcement officer Rex White.
“The Charon Unit” was officially released May 29 and White has since been dividing his time between his law enforcement duties and making numerous appearances to promote the novel.
Recently, White attended the Texas Gang Investigators Association Conference in San Antonio, signing copies of the book for attendees.
Despite his hectic schedule, White also found time to finish work on a follow-up novel, sending the first draft to his publisher. “The Charon Unit” was intended as the first in a three-part series.
In the book, White draws heavily on his own perspective. His current assignment is as an investigator focusing on gang activity for the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office.
“I really wanted to sit down and bring a story to the forefront on a fictional level with some beads of truth imbedded in it,” White said. “Gangs are not as stupid as people think. They are organized crime, brash and openly engaging law enforcement. They’re very methodical behind closed doors.”
The book’s premise is that gangs from California, Chicago, New York and Houston are pooling their resources to broaden their criminal activities.
“The gang in Houston – the Down South Riders – is a hybrid gang. They join with gangs from other parts of the country to bring all of them under one banner. The Gangster Disciples out of Chicago are really the driving force behind the group.”
White said he merges some real gang names into the story and various segments of the book are “based on some gang members that I’ve actually interviewed.”
“Some of the gang members who hold supervisory roles have been trained in the military and some have been officers,” White said of his book’s gangsters. “They have a sound education, but they also have a true affinity for the finer things in life. They are exacting in how they conduct their enterprise; they slow their method of conducting criminal activities with the goal of making more money on the back end.”
The Charon Unit is a group of about 20 hardened law enforcement officers who report to their leader, Rico Bennatelli. He works for the FBI as a special agent and reports to Rob Monroe, the special agent in charge at the FBI’s Houston field office.
The 20-man team is developed after gang members brutally murder 44 people at a political event in Houston.
“Their nexus and focal point is this one hybrid gang,” White said. “As they (the team) come to grips with how broad the bad guys are, they learn quickly the gang is nationwide and soon to go international.”
The name Charon refers to the mythological figure that carries the dead across the river Styx into Hades, which is where the symbolism for the unit itself lies.
White, 39, lives in Sugar Land with his wife, Theresa. He was born in Houston, but reared in Brookshire. In his spare time, he enjoys muscle cars and quite often displays his car at auto shows.
White’s law enforcement career began in 1993 as a Harris County Precinct 5 Constable. He moved to the METRO Police Department in Houston and then joined the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office in 2006. His specialty is working with gangs and the organized crime unit.
White said his itch to write was generated by Ian Fleming, the author of the wildly popular James Bond series in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s.
“I watched an interview of Ian Fleming in the late ‘50s and they asked him how many words a day he wrote. He said 4,500 words a day. That’s amazing to me. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but I actually tried that one day and eight hours later I got up to 2,500.”
However, in the end, White said his first manuscript came in at 112,000 words. He sent the book to Tate Publishing and they expressed an interest, though they suggested whittling the number down to 90,000 words.
“The Charon Unit” is available online at this time by visiting Tate’s website, www.tatepublishing.com. Once there, type in the name of the book, The Charon Unit, and readers may purchase and download the book.
White said readers also may purchase the book online at the book’s website, www.thecharonunit.com.
Paperback copies are $23.99 and eBooks are $9.99.