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Character Interview: Frank Campello from Brandt Dodson’s ‘The Sons of Jude’




We’re thrilled to have here today Frank Campello from Brandt Dodson’s new book, The Sons of Jude. Frank is a homicide detective with the Chicago Police Department City in Chicago, Illinois.

It is a pleasure to have Frank with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Frank.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to B7C8YX Chiffon Scarf on white backgroundset anything straight with your readers?

Gee, I don’t know. Good question. I’ve been a cop for over twenty years. Being portrayed fairly has never been a problem. As you may have guessed, most people have issues with the police in one form or another. Christy Lee, the reporter I have conflicts with in this story, is a prime example. That woman just rubbed me the wrong way whether she was going up one side or down the other.

To answer your question, I think Brandt Dodson did a fine job in portraying me, blemishes and all. I’m a cop. I’m not a choirboy. I do what I have to do to bring the bad guys to justice.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

Would I like to have been portrayed like Andy Taylor? Sure. Who wouldn’t? But the kind of cop that Andy Griffith portrayed isn’t reality. I think Dodson did a good job. The conflict I had with Andy Polanski is legitimate and written the way it occurred. Polanski betrayed cops. He betrayed fellow cops. Anyone who does that is a traitor and deserves whatever comes his way. Sure. I messed with Andy a bit. We all did. But he had it coming. He’s a turncoat and can’t be trusted. That doesn’t mean I’m proud of everything I did. I’m not. But a thing is what it is. Dodson captured the story the way it happened.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

Loyalty. That’s something Polanski doesn’t understand. As you know from reading The Sons of Jude, rioting is tearing the city apart. When you’re out there in the streets, trying to protect the property and citizenry of Chicago from a mindless mob, you need to know that the guy behind you has your back. Polanski isn’t that guy. None of us liked him. Can you blame us?

Worse trait?

Maybe my loyalty. I’m not saying I don’t have faults. I do. And sometimes my loyalty to my brothers in blue can cause me to put on blinders. I know not all cops are honest. But most are. So when there are a few that aren’t, well … I tend to overlook them.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Relax. I’m no actor. I’m a cop, through and through. You’ll never catch me wearing makeup in front of a camera.

Who would I like to portray me? I’d like to say Brad Pitt, but I’m no pretty boy. I’m Italian, six feet, solidly built, with black hair and a dark complexion. If I had to pick an actor to play me in a movie it’d probably be Adrian Paul, best known for the title role in the television series Highlander.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

I’m seeing Christy Lee, now, the reporter I mentioned earlier. She’s a free spirit and prone to carry a grudge against the police. She’s also a bit too outspoken. You know what I’m talking about? She’s usually wrong, but never in doubt. We’re total opposites. But you know what? It works for us. Like most romantic relationships, though, ours did not start on the best of terms. To say there was conflict would be an understatement. We weren’t oil and water: we were oil and matches.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

When Polanski was arrested shortly after I came under attack. That was not a good time. If I had to give you odds as to our survival I would have placed them at 80-20 in favor of the other side. I had a lot of sleepless nights for a while.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

I would not want to be Polanski. We razzed that guy endlessly and there was talk that he might not live to go home after his shift. There were some guys in the district who had a strong dislike for him. That’s not good when the guys you work with carry guns.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

Dodson did a good job in capturing the stress of being a cop. He comes from a long line of police officers going back to the 1930s and was employed with the Indianapolis office of the FBI. I knew he’d be fair in the way he told our story, and it’s evident in the way he concluded it.

Is the ending satisfying? Sure. Complete? Sure. But is the door left open to the type of daily grind a cop faces? Absolutely! We all know that an arrest today doesn’t change the landscape for tomorrow and that’s where Saint Jude comes in. He’s the patron saint of lost causes and police officers. Specifically, he’s the patron saint of the Chicago PD. That makes us The Sons of Jude.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

I’d tell him don’t. Just leave me alone. There are a lot of other cops at The Castle (that’s what we call the building that houses the 28th district) and he can tell their story. But I also know he won’t. There is little doubt that I will re-appear time and time again throughout the series. I may not always be in a major role, but the odds are pretty good I’ll be in there somewhere.

Thank you for this interview, Frank.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

No doubt. Brandt Dodson is already drafting Chicago Knights and you can be certain I’ll pop up.


Brandt Dodson was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, which he would later choose as the setting for his Colton Parker Mystery series. Although he Brandt Dodsondiscovered in grade school that he wanted to be a writer, it would be another twenty-one years before he would put pen to paper.“I knew in fifth grade that I wanted to be a writer. Our teacher had given each of us a photograph which we were to use as inspiration for a short story. The particular photo I was given was of several young men playing handball in New York City. I don’t remember all of the particulars of the story now, but I do remember the thrill that writing it gave me.”

Later, while in college, one of Brandt’s professors would echo that teacher’s comment.

“But life intervened and I found myself working at a variety of jobs. I worked in the toy department of a local department store and fried chicken for a local fast food outlet. Over the course of the next several years I finished my college degree and worked for the Indianapolis office of the FBI, and served for eight years as a Naval Officer in the United States Naval Reserve. I also obtained my doctorate in Podiatric Medicine, and after completion of my surgical residency, opened my own practice. But I never forgot my first love. I wanted to write.”

During his early years in practice, Brandt began reading the work of Dean Koontz.

“I discovered Dean’s book, The Bad Place, and was completely blown away by his craftsmanship. I read something like 13 or 14 of his back list over the following two weeks. It wasn’t long after that I began to write and submit in earnest.”

Still, it would be another twelve years before Brandt was able to secure the publishing contract he so desperately desired.

“I began by writing the type of fiction that I enjoyed; I wrote edgy crime thrillers that were laced with liberal amounts of suspense. Over the years, I’ve begun to write increasingly more complex work by using broader canvases and themes.

Since securing his first contract, Brandt has continued to pen the type of stories that inspired him to write when he was a boy, and that have entertained his legions of readers.

“I love to write, and as long as others love to read, I plan on being around for a long time to come.”

Brandt Dodson’s latest book is the crime thriller The Sons of Jude.

Visit Brandt Dodson’s website at

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Pick up your copy of The Sons of Jude at Amazon:

Please copy and paste a book excerpt here.


About the Book:

When Chicago detectives Frank Campello and Andy Polanski are assigned to investigate the murder of Trina Martinez it seems like an ordinary homicide. An unfortunate young girl in the wrong place at the wrong time has been brutally murdered. But their investigation is halted by a wall of silence, a wall erected by powerful interests that will render their inquiry a lost cause.

Then they enlist the support of reporter Christy Lee – and come under immediate fire. Polanski is arrested. Campello threatened. Christy is attacked.

It’s the case that every cop gets. The one that changes his life. The one where justice is elusive and the hunter becomes the hunted.

Frank Campello and Andy Polanski are The Sons of Jude.

Book Trailer Link:


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