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D.C. homicide detective publishes novel set in city neighborhoods

Ruben Castaneda

For nearly 20 years, D.C. homicide detective Mitch Credle has tracked down and locked up killers, many of them teenagers and young men. In dry, bureaucratic prose, Credle has written up facts from investigations in official charging documents.

Credle creates characters and facts in his first novel, "Stranger in the Streets." The book, which Credle self-published, tells the story of two boys, known as Smokey and Black, who grow up in a tough part of D.C. and work for a drug crew. A dramatic event ties the two together forever and affects the course of both their lives.

Smokey eventually becomes an undercover police officer, and Black becomes a better criminal. Eventually their paths cross again, testing their loyalties and values.

The cover of Credle's novel. (Courtesy Image)

"The undercover cop has to decide whether he's loyal to his job, his family, or the guys he grew up with," Credle said. "A lot of the emotions are based on things I've seen in my career, but the all of the characters and events are fictional."

Credle, 46, said the idea for the book sprang from "hood soaps," short "comedy-dramas" he wrote on his Facebook page. Credle said the reception to his hood soaps was so good that he decided to write a book. It took him six months to complete the story, Credle said.

Credle has been a D.C. police officer for more than 23 years, and a homicide detective for 19. (I profiled him in 1996 for the Post Magazine.) During most of his police career, Credle has also volunteered as a basketball coach and mentor the Boys & Girls Club #10 on 14th Street NW. Despite his efforts, some of the boys Credle coached eventually became murderers or homicide victims.

While many teenagers and young men in hardscrabble neighborhoods view police with suspicion, Credle, through his volunteer work, has developed a rapport over the years with hundreds of young people throughout the city, which has helped him do his job as a detective.

"Through his volunteer coaching, he seemed to know every kid in the city. And a lot of the people getting killed and doing the killing were young," said William "Lou" Hennessy, who commanded the homicide squad in the early and mid-1990s. "Mitch did a great job."

Now a member of the major case/cold case squad, Credle has successfully investigated a number of high-profile murders in recent years, such as the triple-murder at Colonel Brooks Tavern in Northeast in 2003 and the Banita Jacks case, in which Jacks was charged with killing her four young children.

Credle has received a number of awards for his work as a detective.

Credle said he spent about $2,500 to publish the book and create his own publishing company.The book is available on for $16, and will soon be available through retail stores. Credle plans a book signing at Rose's Dream, a lounge on H Street NE, on June 13 from 6 to 8 p.m.

-- Ruben Castaneda

By Ruben Castaneda  |  May 20, 2010; 7:59 AM ET
Categories:  Ruben Castaneda , The District  | Tags: first novel, homicide detective  
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