Arts & Culture

Discover All Things Regional in Central PA’s art and culture scene. Join hosts Cary Burkett and Joe Ulrich as they make artistic discoveries throughout the midstate. From music and visual arts to theatre, museums, literature and more! Listen every Wednesday and Friday on witf 89.5 and 93.3 for features highlighting the best and brightest cultural happenings in the region.

From Officer to Author

Written by Joe Ulrich, Arts & Culture Desk and WITF Host | Nov 3, 2014 9:07 AM


Jon Kurtz of Harrisburg doesn't just write crime novels, he's lived them. Having worked with the Pennsylvania State Police for 27 years, Jon has done everything from patrol work to vice squad to criminal investigations. Now retired, he realized that the crime novels he's read have usually lacked the detail and realism involved in actual police work. With free time on his hands now, Jon decided to try his hand at writing crime novels. He published his first book, A Choice of Darkness, last year. It's a fast-paced story that takes place over three days and involves a series of homicides taking place in the Harrisburg area.


Jon brings a more realistic feel to the crime novel through his treatment of the antagonist and protagonist. With the antagonist, he says, "...I want to show you his growth throughout the book until you get to the point at the end where maybe you don't hate him as much as you did in the beginning. Maybe there's a modicum of sympathy for this particular guy. As far as the protagonist I want to show that policemen are more than just robots; that what happens to them off the job affects them on the job; what happens on the job affects them off the job."

The switch from a life in law to a life in words has been quite a change for Jon. "As a policemen," he says, "you're making split-second decisions many times and those decisions affect others. Being a writer, I can sit back and I can really take time making my decisions on what I'm going to do...It's a much more slow paced environment and the decisions that I'm making aren't so much affecting other people."

Jon's already completed his second novel, Right to Bear Arms which is due out before Christmas this year. 

A Choice of Darkness

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