Bob Brink spent five years as a child delivering the Newton Daily News to subscribers in the community. More than 35 years later, Brink, now a senior citizen, is still delivering things for people to read.
The best-selling author is set to release his third novel this week. The latest book, “Blood on Their Hands,” is a 296-page crime novel about racial injustice.
“It’s already displayed on Amazon for pre-purchase,” Brink said. “It was supposed to have a May 4 release date. I was told it might be delayed a little bit because of the coronavirus, but we are still hoping it can come out this week.”
A Michigan native, Brink moved to Iowa when he was 6 years old and came to Newton when he was 10. He had his own paper route for the Newton Daily News from age 10-15.
From there, his family moved to a farm in Colfax when he was 14 and Brink spent his ninth-grade year at Colfax High School before returning to the Newton school system for his final three years of high school.
After high school, Brink attended Central College in Pella, where his mother was originally from. He spent three years at Central and that’s where he met the person who told him he should consider a career in writing.
“I was trying to decide what to do with my life, and the psychology professor at Central College in Pella, Daniel V. Bergman, told me he’d noticed when I was a student in his class that I had a flair for writing,” Brink said. “He suggested I might want to consider journalism because I had the introspective trait of a writer and the outward characteristics of a journalist in my enjoyment of sports and such. I got a little encouragement to try creative writing from my high school English teacher, Marian Speake.”
He finished his bachelor’s degree in English and German at Drake University and then attended graduate school for journalism at the University of Iowa.
Before becoming best-selling author, Brink spent nearly more than 30 years in the journalism field, including 15 years at the Palm Beach Post and nine years at the Palm Beach Media Group in Florida.
He started his career at the Joliet Herald News in Illinois and then spent “the best two years of his life” working for the Associated Press in Chicago. From there, he spent “the worst two years of his life” at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
His first job in Florida was at the Tampa Tribune and after spending 26 years of his journalistic career in the Sunshine State, he ended up staying there, currently residing in Boynton Beach.
As if writing crime novels wasn’t enough, Brink also plays the clarinet and tenor saxophone. He performed for many years in a 65-piece symphonic band and played a few professional big band gigs.
His first novel — “Breaking Out” — came out in 2010. It’s a coming-of-age novel for which he contracted with a print-on-demand publisher that awarded him with the Editor’s Choice designation.
While putting together “Breaking Out,” Brink almost simultaneously ghost wrote a short memoir titled “A Tale of Two Countries: Jetting Across the Globe to Have a Baby.”
Brink has recently built his novels around crime stories. His first crime novel was “Murder in Palm Beach: The Homicide that Never Died.”
“It’s about a real murder and based on a true story that I discovered while working in media in Palm Beach, Fla.,” Brink said. “It was a best seller on Amazon Kindle for 15 weeks.”
After his second novel was published, Brink worked on a book of short stories titled “The Way It Was: Short Stories and Tall Tales.”
For his latest novel, Brink borrowed themes from Gran Torino and My Cousin Vinny, two of his favorite movies. He also was threatened once by a KKK member while working as a journalist. He used that experience for a chapter in the book, too.
“I signed the contract on Jan. 29,” Brink said. “I got the idea after a black computer repair guy came to my house to fix my computer. He told me a story about a time when he was stopped and roughed up by cops for having an Obama sticker on his car.”
Brink said “police brutality toward blacks is the salient, and altogether timely, problem addressed in ‘Blood on Their Hands’ by both the legal system and the the book’s characters in the racial attitudes they harbor.”
The book features a veteran criminal defense attorney Hiram Garbuncle, a racist and an alcholic, and Alec Monceau, a black man working in suburban West Palm Beach, Fla., to support his daughter’s family in Trinidad.
“It goes against Garuncle’s grain to defend a black man from a charge of violently resisting arrest, but he is confident of winning that he is negligent in the jury selection and a mistrial occurs,” Brink describes. “He then discovers incriminating evidence on the two cops, and his new challenge becomes how to keep himself and his client alive pending a new trial.”
Brink, who has interviewed famous author James Patterson, is currently a third of the way through his first creative nonfiction book.
“Ninety-five percent is promoting the book and five percent is writing it,” Brink said. “Only about one in 1,000 books are published. If you get to that point, it’ll be good. They don’t publish just anything.”