Job: Homicide Investigator With The Arizona Department Of Public Safety
LAURA: Thanks for having me, Dru. Not many people know that Arizona DPS works homicides. Most people think of us as Highway Patrol. But we investigate homicides in jurisdictions where police resources are limited. We can go anywhere in the state of Arizona to do it. Which makes me the new kid in school every time I enter a crime scene. You have to work and play well with others–
VOICE: Yeah, Kiddo. You’re pretty good at makin’ nice, but there was a few times there when you came close to blowing a gasket.
LAURA: Not only are you dealing with a crime scene, but you’re telling people what to do in their own jurisdictions and that takes a certain amount of–
VOICE: Tact? An’ where’d you learn that? From me, that’s who! You should of seen her when she was a boot. She wouldn’t know ‘tact’ if she fell over it. It was me that taught her how to work a case. And she turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself.
DRU: Excuse me, Detective Cardinal, but who’s that with you?
LAURA: You can hear him too?
DRU: I can smell him. Is that…pizza?
VOICE: That’s the best pepperoni in Arizona, Pal. Look, Laura’s a great lil’ gal. She’s tough and she’s smart, an’ I taught her everything she knows. If she’s good, it’s ‘cause of me.
DRU: And you are?
VOICE: Frank. Entwistle. Ever heard of the starlet in the thirties who jumped off the Hollywood sign an’ killed herself, Peg Entwistle? Wouldn’t you know a great great aunt of mine’d be a suicide. All the times I talked one of them lugnuts down from the ledge. Small world, huh? Thing is, I taught my girl here everything she knows about detective work.
LAURA: Dru, he usually doesn’t appear to people. Lucky you.
FRANK: Yeah, yeah, I’m just here to help you out. Mind if I smoke?
LAURA: You’re still doing that? Pizza and cigarettes killed you.
FRANK: Don’t forget the Tanqueray. I sure haven’t.
DRU: Laura, are you working a homicide case now?
LAURA: I’m wrapping up one, testifying on another, and have a couple of cases that are hanging on and on. Kind of like Frank, here.
FRANK: Hey, tell Dru about the dead guy in his car. You know, the Cry Wolf story. ‘Cause the guy cried wolf.
DRU: A dead guy in his car? I read about that. He was from Las Vegas, right? On the run from some bad guys? And they find him in this little mountain retreat at the end of a lonely road out in the wilderness–
FRANK: Hey, Captain Spoiler Alert, why don’t you cool your jets? We’re trying to sell some books here. You know what a detective’s salary looks like?
LAURA: Frank, the operative word is “me.” I’m working this case. Not you, not your buddies still on the Job, but me. And yes, this case is not going to be easy. Mostly because the victim told a lot of tales–
FRANK: A genuine pathological liar. Told everyone a different story. The guy was full of–
LAURA: Hey! This is a family page, Frank.
DRU: Ghosts will be ghosts. I’ve seen it all before.
LAURA: You’re very gracious, Dru. The most important thing Frank taught me was that the victim matters. He drilled that into me. And he made a huge difference in my life. Frank’s the reason I became a cop.
FRANK: Hey, Kiddo, you’re makin’ me misty.
LAURA: Dru, my own parents were victims of a homicide. Frank was primary on the case and he took care of me, he never gave up looking for the people who did it—
FRANK: She likes to say she imprinted on me like a baby duck.
LAURA: When someone kills a loved one, it’s one of the worst things there is. You’ve lost your friend, your sibling, your parent, your child, but it’s more than that. It’s the insult that someone would do that to a person you love. You can’t stop thinking about their last moments. And how anyone could willfully do that to someone you love. It takes you down to the very bottom, to an ugly basement in your soul, and it’s strewn with trash, because the idea that someone could do that to your loved one is like telling the world that person’s life wasn’t worth–
FRANK: A plugged nickel.
LAURA: That’s how it feels. I know this from my own experience. I never forget that. The assault isn’t just to the victim; it’s to the people left behind. There is so much pain. And no redress.
FRANK: You got that wrong, kiddo. You give them redress. You find out who did it and you make ‘em pay for their crimes. You make sure they don’t get away with it.
An’ that’s justice.
You can read more about Laura in Cry Wolf, the fourth book in the “Laura Cardinal” crime thriller series. The first book in the series is Darkness on the Edge of Town.
Meet the author
Hailed by bestselling author T. Jefferson Parker as “a strong new voice in American crime fiction,” J. Carson Black has written fourteen novels. Her thriller, The Shop, reached #1 on the Kindle Bestseller list, and her crime thriller series featuring homicide detective Laura Cardinal became a New York Times and USA Today bestseller. Although Black earned a master’s degree in operatic voice, she was inspired to write a horror novel after reading The Shining. She lives in Tucson, Arizona.
Books are available at online booksellers.