I thought I knew the answer until I sat down to think about it.
I thought I would say it's because I grew up reading crime fiction. Now I'm not so sure that's really it. I think even if I hadn't read crime I would still want to write crime. It's just a nice roiling backdrop for what's most interesting to explore on the page for me: people in trouble. People doing stuff they shouldn't do, and other people trying to stop them, then those people who are entrusted to stop them going on to do stuff they shouldn't do, sometimes in the line of duty, and so on.
With crime fiction I get to write about people in trouble, not just criminals and victims, but the people who happen to be police officers as well. It's a hazardous job rife with conflict. There's conflict in the street-level fisticuffs, in the workplace grievances, in the Constitution itself! And then there's the conflict within.
How can people working in that conflict-rich framework get along, cooperate, operate as a team, push the envelope, and not get in trouble? Fact is the police do get in trouble. The proof hits the news every day. They quash and taser trouble and stop trouble in its tracks, but sometimes they are trouble. Sometimes police are as bad as the baddest bad guy.
It's just a whole lot of trouble, and I like to write about it.
I might not have had the nerve to try my hand at a police procedural, though, if I hadn't worked as a court reporter for many years, and got to observe the ongoing saga from the safety of my steno chair between judge and witness box: All About Trouble, as told by the police, the accused, eyewitnesses, plaintiffs, defendants, complainants. And of course add lawyers to the mix. I'll never tell it as well as the real thing, but I'll keep doing my best.
Speaking of which, look what's just released. Trouble galore!