Despite what everyone says about me, I consider myself a morning person. I love my first cup of coffee, my first cigarette as I check my messages and scope out what’s new with the world. It’s a great time of day for analyzing evidence – for putting together conversation clips and things I’ve observed about suspects to give me perspective on a case. Not only does my brain work best in the morning, but I’m most at peace with myself – I’m not cluttered with other people’s opinions, with nervousness and angst that seem to creep in gradually throughout the rest of the day. But no one would ever call me a morning person unless they had a hidden camera in my apartment. Because really, I only love morning if I can spend my first hour or two all alone – if someone gets my space, I become a real crabby bitch.

Which is probably why I like spending evenings at my boyfriend’s house. It’s easier to bail in the morning, grab a coffee and breakfast sandwich on the way home, than to tell him nicely to leave.

Afternoons can go any which way. If I’m on assignment I’m usually chilling with suspects, embedding myself in their world. (I’m an undercover cop.) My current job kicks ass – I’m on a professional poker tour, so my afternoons are spent drinking coffee and playing poker – and trying to figure out which of my fellow players is a serial killer.

If I’m not on assignment, I usually wander by my friend Roberta’s auto shop. I love to fix cars. Weird, right? I just find it so groovy, to use my mind and body at the same time. Roberta can do the boring routine parts herself, but when she gets a machine that won’t talk to her – that won’t tell her why it won’t start or stop coughing or whatever – that’s when I love to come troubleshoot. My dad was a mechanic – back when he was healthy enough to live his life – and I guess there’s something I’ll always find comforting about the smell of gasoline, the feel of motor grease in my hands and my hair.

In the evening, on assignment, I usually have social obligations. You learn a lot about suspects from partying with them. I’m taking poker lessons from a really famous player – an old-timer who helps me see the game behind the game. And I’m partying with other players I’ve watched on TV. It’s so cool.

On evenings when I’m not working, I like to kick back and drink beer, smoke cigarettes, and hang with Kevin – my boyfriend. He’s sexy and kind, and I feel good when I’m around him.

There are things I hate about my job – most of those have to do with the asinine police hierarchy, the system that says the guys in the comfy office chairs should have authority over those of us doing real work in the field. But that’s fine. I wouldn’t trade the life I love – the constant learning, the adventures in different places – for any prestige or higher salary. Life’s pretty cool when you love your job this much.

You can read more about Clare in DEATH PLAYS POKER, the second book in the “Clare Vengel Undercover” mysteries. The first book in the series is DEAD POLITICIAN SOCIETY.

Robin Spano is the author of the Clare Vengel Undercover books – a fun, edgy crime series about a young, female undercover cop. She lives in Lions Bay, BC with her husband, Keith. Visit Robin at

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

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