The Story Behind Heroes & Lovers by Wayne Zurl

As with most of my stories, HEROES & LOVERS is based on actual incidents I investigated, supervised, or just knew a lot about and transplanted from New York to Prospect, Tennessee. In this case I composited three real-life incidents to construct one embellished piece of fiction.

The sting operation to prosecute a crooked auto repairman is something done all the time. Using Kate and Rachel, Sam Jenkins’ wife and TV reporter friend, as part of the operation is unique to Sam and Prospect PD. In New York we were large enough to have all the resources necessary and not need outside (especially civilian) assistance.

The single act of charging a customer for automotive repairs not actually furnished is a simple larceny. The degree would be based on the amount of money inveigled from the unsuspecting customer. Sam could have charged Elrod Swaggerty with petit larceny, a misdemeanor, because he scammed Lorene Bunker out of less than $1500.000. Sam opted to mount a sting operation allowing Elrod to cheat several customers, thereby enabling the district attorney to couple all the monetary amounts together and prosecute for the felony of scheme to defraud. Sam, being a sharp cop, allowed Elrod to cheat the several “police agents” sent to the transmission shop with cars not needing repairs and established that he was dealing with an ongoing criminal enterprise.

Rachel’s kidnapping is based on an assault and attempted rape of someone I knew and the political corruption angle was something I saw all too often and was able to put a local twist on it.

Lastly, I took this opportunity to allow two married people, Sam and Rachel, to further the mutual attraction they’ve been feeling since my first novel, A NEW PROSPECT. I hoped this sexual tension between two main characters created a little tension in the reader. I wanted readers (especially the women) to grit their teeth and say, “Hey, Sam is a married guy. What’s going on?” By the end of the book, everyone finds out.

For any interested party, have a look. Do Sam and Rachel have an affair? Does Sam dump his wife Kate? Does Rachel leave her husband and two sons to run away with Sam? Do they move to Corfu and become seasonal olive pickers? HEROES & LOVERS isn’t a soap opera, but you’ll have to read it to see what happens.


Wayne Zurl grew up on Long Island and retired after twenty years with the Suffolk County Police Department, one of the largest municipal law enforcement agencies in New York and the nation. For thirteen of those years he served as a section commander supervising investigators. He is a graduate of SUNY, Empire State College and served on active duty in the US Army during the Vietnam War and later in the reserves. Zurl left New York to live in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with his wife, Barbara.

Fourteen (14) of his Sam Jenkins mysteries have been produced as audio books and simultaneously published as eBooks. His first full-length novel, A NEW PROSPECT, was named best mystery at the 2011 Indie Book Awards and First Runner-up from all commercial fiction at the 2012 Eric Hoffer Book Awards. A second novel, A LEPRECHAUN’S LAMENT, is available in print and eBook.

His latest book in the Sam Jenkins mystery series isHeroes & Lovers.

For more information on Wayne’s Sam Jenkins mystery series see You can read excerpts, reviews and endorsements, interviews, coming events, and even see photos of the area where the stories take place.

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