When I started on Killing the Man, more than one acquaintance asked me why shoplifters figured so prominently in the story. After all, retail theft is a "lightweight" crime when stacked up against murder, drugs or kidnapping. It happens every day and usually makes just the local news journal.
Having a guy who catches shoplifter for a living be the central character in a murder ploy of racial dimension seemed, well...odd.
I wanted someone who stumbles into a plan for which he is completely unprepared, yet his entrance had to be organic and believable. Catching kids who are pawns in the murder scheme seemed a good way to do that.
Plus, I used to catch shoplifters in college and it could be a blast of a job. My book, my rules.