Debbi Mack interviews crime writer Andy Caldwell on the Crime Cafe podcast.
Read along to the podcast or, if you’re in a rush, download a copy of the show notes here.
Debbi: [00:00:13] Hi, everyone. This is the Crime Cafe, your podcasting source of great crime, suspense, and thriller writing. I'm your host, Debbi Mack. Before I bring on my guest, I'll just remind you that the Crime Cafe has two ebooks for sale: the nine-book box set and the short story anthology. You can find the buy links for both on my website DebbiMack.com, under the "Crime Cafe" link. You can also get a free copy of either book if you become a Patreon supporter. You'll get that and much more if you support the podcast on Patreon, along with our eternal gratitude for doing so.
Debbi: [00:01:04] Hi, everyone. Our guest today worked as a police officer and detective with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, up until his retirement. He's investigated a number of high-profile cases, including the armed robbery and kidnapping case brought against O.J. Simpson. His book, Room 1203, is the true crime story of that O.J. case. The one from Nevada. That book has also provided the basis for a documentary, O.J.: Guilty in Vegas. It's with great pleasure that I bring you Andy Caldwell. Hey, Andy, thanks for being here.
Andy: [00:01:45] Thank you so much, Debbi. Thank you for that kind introduction and I thank you for your time today.
Debbi: [00:01:50] Well, I appreciate your being here very much. Before we talk about your book, I have to say I was heartened by your philosophy of criminal justice. I like the emphasis on seeking solutions rather than vengeance. Has that been a.. has that been a difficult position to take in any way?
Andy: [00:02:13] Yeah, sometimes, you know, because sometimes even in the law enforcement community, people get frustrated with suspects who are committing crimes and you just want them to pay right now. And sometimes taking, I guess, a more whole approach or whole community approach, isn't always the most palatable to other people.
Debbi: [00:02:37] Mm-hmm. Yeah. Yeah, I can see where it would be tough. But I like the way you approach it. And, in some ways, it reminds me of Buddhism.
Andy: [00:02:51] Well, I guess one of the things that I always embraced was the fact that when people commit crimes, they've gotta be held accountable for it. But it doesn't mean we have to hate them. And sometimes there's this desire to instantly be angry with the individual. And sometimes all it does is create barriers to actually holding them accountable and then trying to help them back on their feet. And if we can't help them back on their feet, then we just create a perpetual problem in society. So at some point in time, we've got to try to help some people.
"I guess one of the things that I always embraced was the fact that when people commit crimes, they've gotta be held accountable for it. But it doesn't mean we have to hate them."
Debbi: [00:03:26] I couldn't agree with you more. I think that's great. How long were you with the Vegas police and how much of that time was as a detective?
Andy: [00:03:35] So just under 20 years, and I spent about nine years as a detective? You would think I would know that right off the top of my head. But yeah, it was about nine years as a detective.
Debbi: [00:03:50] Well, sometimes you just gotta do the math. I know the feeling. How did you end up assigned to investigate O.J. Simpson?
Andy: [00:04:00] Well, so I was assigned to the robbery-homicide bureau. I specifically worked robberies. And I would love to tell you that it was because I'm a crack investigator. And they said, hey, it's O.J. Simpson, we need their best guy on the job. But the reality was the crime occurred in the area ...