While Jerry B. Jenkins and his wife Dianna
celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary
with a trip to Beijing and Bangkok, Jenkins
took copious notes.
“I knew one of the settings would find its way
into my next novel,” he says. Sure enough, in
The Breakthrough (Tyndale House), police
chief Boone Drake finds himself pursuing a
human trafficking ring on the streets of Beijing.
Jenkins says it surprised him to discover
in his research how widespread, lucrative
and horrific human trafficking really is. “The
documentation can make you feel helpless
and outraged,” he says. “My goal in this novel
was to have one of the perpetrators get what
was coming to him.”
The Breakthrough is the final book in
Jenkins’ Precinct 11 series, a trilogy of cop
thrillers set in Chicago. “I see the series as an
homage to all the cops in my family,” he says.
“My dad and two older brothers were career
law enforcement officers, and many in my
extended family were too. I wanted the cop
stuff to be right, and it’s been gratifying to
hear from many police officers who’ve read
these and say they found them authentic.
“Boone Drake is an everyman. He has gifts
and abilities and ideals, but all these are
tested and stretched and often obliterated.
He struggles with his faith, and we find out
what he does when everything has been
ripped from him.”
A self professed “pantser” (a novelist who
writes from the seat of his pants), Jenkins always
starts his books with character rather
than plot, often surprising himself as well
as readers. “I may have the germ of an idea
where the story is going, but I let the plot
emerge from putting interesting characters
in difficult situations and writing to find out
This article originally appeared in the October/November 2012 issue of FamilyFiction Edge digital magazine. Subscribe for free today!