Growing up in west-central Wisconsin on a steady diet of Joseph Wambaugh novels and episodes of Police Story, Neal never considered any career other than being a cop. In fact, his whole purpose in joining the Marines at nineteen was to improve his chances of landing a job in police work. After an eight year hitch in the Marines, Neal applied for a number of agencies and landed in Southern California where he is still on the job.
Neal has worked as a patrol cop, field training officer, member of SWAT, Hostage Negotiator, Narcotics Investigator, Gang Enforcement Specialist; and, Supervisor of a Homicide Unit. He has been named as Officer of the Year on two occasions during his career and he currently holds the rank of Detective Lieutenant. Neal holds a Bachelor’s Degree from California State University, San Marcos and he is a graduate of the prestigious FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.
The son of a Philosophy Professor, Neal was taught early on to question authority. It is a trait that has not always made him popular with his bosses, but one he has put to use as an author. In his first novel, Benefit of the Doubt, Neal has created police characters who challenge the status quo. Cops who are good at what they do in spite of the fact they may not be as dutiful and obedient as most Chiefs would like. Neal also pulls no punches in creating cops who have no business wearing a badge or a gun. In his book, Neal has tackled one of the most controversial topics in law enforcement: false conviction born of police malfeasance.
Neal is married and has four children. He and his family reside in San Diego County. They travel frequently throughout the country but feel especially welcome in Wisconsin, where Neal loves to write, as well as pursue his other great passions: beer, cheese and Packer football.
BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT won the San Diego Book Award for Best Novel, 2014 / unpublished category. It was also selected as a Publisher’s Marketplace 2015 Buzz Book.