Former Star-Ledger reporter to sign 'The Good Cop'

Fourth story in the series will focus on guns

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  • Photographer: James N. Lum Brad Parks.

  • The Good Cop is the fourth story in the Carter Ross series written by former Star Ledger investigative reporter Brad Parks.

If you go...

WHO: Brad Parks
WHAT: Author and former Star Ledger investigative reporter
WHEN: 6 to 7:30 p.m., Monday, March 11
WHERE: Sparta Books, 29 Theatre Center, Sparta.
HOW MUCH: Free for event, $24.99 for book.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: 973-729-6200 or

As the saying goes, write what you know and author Brad Parks is doing just that. His new novel, "The Good Cop," is the fourth story in the Carter Ross series. He will be appearing at Sparta Books on Monday, March 11 to talk to readers and sign copies of the book.

A New Jersey native, Parks worked as an investigative reporter for The Star-Ledger before moving to Virginia about five years ago. Now his protagonist follows in his reporter's footsteps and his new book is inspired by Parks' work in Newark.

"I saw the effects of gun violence during my time in Newark and I learned about gun smuggling more after moving to Virginia," he explained. "In New Jersey it is difficult to get a gun but all you need in Virginia is a concealed carry permit and you can buy as many as you can carry. No questions asked. So it is easy to get a gun. That's why I-95 is referred to as the "iron pipeline" because of the flow of guns from south and west to New Jersey. I just wanted to write something that dealt with that issue and it fit in the framework of the already established series."

Parks is grateful to his home state for more than just a story idea. It has influenced him in many ways.

"My books are chock full of New Jersey," he said. "The main character is a real Jersey guy. He is sarcastic and has a Jersey sensibility. The state loads a writer's toolbox with opportunities. There is every ethnicity, every religion, probably every social issue. It is the most densely populated state in America, so it has different types people and beliefs that can't help but bump into each other. I am grateful to New Jersey for being the very richly detailed place that it is."

"The Good Cop" took Parks about 10 weeks to write, back in 2011. When it was written, Parks had no idea just how timely it would be upon release.

"I wrote this two years ago. Gun control is important to me. It's important to a lot of people. I wish it weren't quite so timely," Parks explained. "I had no idea that the issue would be what it has become and I have mixed feelings about it. I would not want to be exploiting tragedy for my book but it is relevant in modern America."

He is also very excited to be returning to Sparta Books.

"I am a big fan of Sparta Books. Donna is fantastic and doing wonderful things for store. There are not a lot of independent book stores left so it's a treasure and I hope people value that treasure," he said. "I like to come back because it is a wonderful place. It is well run and I hope the people of Sparta recognize that they have a gem right in their backyard and keep patronizing it."

At his appearance, Parks promises to be entertaining and there may even be some singing.

"I love talking to readers because I like being read," he says. "I started writing for my local paper when I was about 14 and it was always a thrill when people mentioned something they read in one of my articles. That has stayed the case. I like finding out that people have connected with the books. It's gratifying. I like that the book becomes a small part of them."

As far as the growing trend of books ending up on the big screen? Parks isn't opposed to the idea.

"There has been interest from studios but that is not something I have control over. It's a crapshoot," he said. "I only have control over what is in between the covers, but if someone called I wouldn't say no."

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