Everybody lies to the police. Murderers lie to hide their crimes. Witnesses lie for various reasons: over eager to please, reluctant, hostile, arrogant, under the influence, or all of the above. The only person who doesn’t lie is the murder victim because they have no voice. Homicide detectives will tell you they speak for the dead. They stand alone in the victim’s shoes and protect their interests against those of all others. For that reason, most of them love the job, including me.
The public expects law enforcement officers to be protectors, social workers, and constitutional law experts. They may not know that murder is a complex puzzle. Detectives have to walk the fine line between interviewing and interrogating, know the difference between rigor mortis and post mortem lividity. Most homicides are solved not by high-tech forensic evidence, but by shoe leather—a detective tracking down leads, interviewing witnesses, and noticing small details that don’t fit the pattern.
My name is Davie Richards. I’m a second-generation LAPD detective. My father is retired and as his daughter, I’m allowed to wear his old detective badge-number. I’ve been with the Los Angeles Police Department for nine years, eight in patrol and one year as a detective. I’m currently assigned to the homicide table at the Pacific Area Police Station, a section of the city’s Westside that includes Venice Beach.
People often make judgments about me because of my size (petite), my hair color (red-orange), and my business attire (black polyester pantsuits). But underestimating me because of my build or my preference for synthetic fabrics would be a mistake. Here’s what’s important: I will protect you with my life and if someone you love is murdered, I will do everything in my power to bring the killer to justice. I work my cases until I run out of leads to investigate, sometimes going for days barely eating, sleeping, or showering because most cops will tell you that a good homicide detective has no life. It’s not a job for people who want to eat dinner every night with their family.
I don’t mean to sound like a female Mighty Mouse. I’m not a super hero. I’m not perfect. Far from it.
Just so you know:
- Bureaucracies—They trouble me because I’ve seen hard-line paper pushers use bullet points in manuals to destroy people’s lives as effectively as if they’d fired bullets from a gun.
- Rules—in case of emergency break them, especially if they stand in the way of justice.
- Emotions—expressing them is not my strong suit. My partner says I’m a machine. He’s teasing but he has a point. Perhaps events in my past used up my allotment of pain and drama, or maybe it’s because police academy instructors taught me to record only what I see and hear at a crime scene, not how I feel about it. That ability to compartmentalize might make me a difficult friend but it also makes me a good detective. Life is full of trade offs.
And by the way, doughnut jokes don’t offend me. I even enjoy eating one now and then. In case we ever bump into each other at Primo’s, you’ll likely see me buying one of my favorites: a maple bar, apple fritter, or anything with lemon filling.
Stay safe out there.
Det. Richards, Serial #. . .
Pacific Homicide is the first book in the NEW “Pacific Homicide” mystery series published by Midnight Ink, November 2016.
Most cops spend their entire careers without firing a weapon in the line of duty. LAPD Homicide Detective Davie Richards is an outlier, a cop who killed a suspect to save her partner’s life.
While she waits for the police commission to rule her shooting was within policy, she’s called out to probe the gruesome homicide of Anya Nosova, a 19-year-old Russian beauty whose body is found in the Los Angeles sewer system. With her own case in limbo, she knows any screw-up in the investigation could end her career. Meanwhile, as she hunts for the murderer, somebody from her past is hunting her. Knowing she’s in the crosshairs, Davie must bring Anya’s killer to justice before her life and the lives of those she loves are destroyed.
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About the author
Patricia Smiley is the bestselling author of four novels in a mystery series, featuring amateur sleuth Tucker Sinclair. Pacific Homicide, a new novel about LAPD homicide detective Davie Richards will debut on November 8, 2016. Patty’s short fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and Two of the Deadliest, an anthology edited by Elizabeth George. She has taught writing at various conferences in the U.S. and Canada. She served as vice president of the Southern California chapter of Mystery Writers of America and as president of Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles. For more information, visit www.patriciasmiley.com.
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