Tag Archives: police procedurals

Vacationing with RCMP Sgt Ray Robertson by Vicki Delany

Vacation time!

I’m in Turks and Caicos for two weeks of vacation. And, boy do I need it.

I love my job, working with the UN, trying to introduce modern policing methods to fragile states. But it can be tough work, both physically and emotionally. First I was stationed in South Sudan and then in Haiti. I loved being in both those places, but sometimes a man needs a hot bath and a cold drink.

I loved the people (most of them) that I met there, but a man defiantly needs his family. My wife Jenny isn’t able to come on posting with me. Too dangerous for families.

She’s not too happy about that. And I understand. She’s stuck at home in Canada, managing the fort, dealing with the kids, running the details of our lives. I’m worried that she’s going to issue an ultimatum one of these days. I give up either UN policing or my marriage.

This vacation is a treat for her. Frankly, I’ve had enough of heat and sun, thank you very much. At my place in Haiti, I even have a pool (and a pool “boy” to look after it for me). Nothing I’d have loved more for my vacation than to head for the mountains of British Columbia for some good powder skiing. Feel the cold clear air on my face, hear the snow crunch beneath my boots.

But Jenny’s had enough of winter, and I knew she wouldn’t exactly jump at the idea of more of it.

So here we are. Turks and Caicos in the Caribbean. It’s a fabulous island, with great hotels, top-class restaurants, nice people, a low crime rate. Grace Bay has many times been voted the world’s best beach. Did I mention expensive? Gulp. But I figure my marriage is worth it.

Somehow, much as I try,  it seems that the job can’t leave me alone. I found that man’s body on the beach this morning, while I was out for my jog. The police are handling it. They seem like a competent lot (they should be, they were trained by Canadians!)

Maybe I’ll just give them a quick call. Check in and see what they’ve learned. Jenny’s out. If I do it now, she’ll never know.

Blood and Belonging is the third Sgt Ray Robertson novella published by Orca Press. Rapid Reads novellas are written for adults with literacy difficulties, ESL students, reluctant readers, and those just wanting a quick, fast-paced read.

RCMP Sergeant Ray Robertson is in the Turks and Caicos Islands, enjoying two weeks of leave from his job training police in Haiti with the UN. On an early-morning jog along famed Grace Bay Beach he discovers a dead man in the surf. Ray is shocked to recognize the body as that of one of his Haitian police recruits. To his wife’s increasing dismay, Ray is compelled to follow the dead man’s trail and finds himself plunged into the world of human trafficking and the problems of a tiny country struggling to cope with a desperate wave washing up on its shores.

The first Ray Robertson book, Juba Good, was nominated for an Arthur Ellis Award, A Derringer Award and a Silver Oak award from the Ontario Library Association.

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About the author
Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers. She is the author of twenty-four published crime novels, including standalone Gothic thrillers, the Constable Molly Smith series, the Year Round Christmas Mysteries, and books for adult literacy. Under the pen name of Eva Gates she is the national bestselling author of the Lighthouse Library cozy series. Her newest novel is Elementary, She Read, the first in the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series.

Vicki lives and writes in Prince Edward County, Ontario. She is the past president of the Crime Writers of Canada.

Connect with Vicki at www.vickidelany.com, on Facebook, and Twitter at @vickidelany and @evagatesauthor.

All comments are welcomed.

Blood and Belonging is available at retail and online booksellers or you can ask your local library to get it for you.

A Day in the Life with Dave Mason by Mar Preston

a-very-private-high-schoolI’ve written four—and soon five novels—set in the world of the Santa Monica Police Department. Homicide Detective Dave Mason is 37, and Santa Monica is an upscale glitzy seaside suburb of Los Angeles. Santa Monica is home to the homeless, a city of haves and have nots, ripe for dirty politicians, psychopathic homeowners, car thieves, and celebrity troublemakers.

Mason’s 10-hour shift, four days a week, starts with checking for a message from his nine-year-old daughter who lives too far away with her mother and new stepdad, a comic book artist. Finding something from her in his email box makes him smile. Most days he meets with his partner Art Delgado at the Public Safety Building two blocks from the ocean in downtown Santa Monica.

Today he’s scheduled for a krav maga training, the Israeli self-defense system. Mason and his partner Art pull themselves away from the minutia of the four or five cases they’re working for an hour or so of dirty street fighting practice. With the high tension anxiety/sudden low tension life he leads, the irregular meal times, and too much coffee–Mason struggles to keep his weight down. He played beer league hockey until a few years, but then his knees went.

He heads down later to the basement forensic specialist lab to check the white board where hits on cases they’re working are displayed. He hounds the forensics people on fingerprints they sent in two weeks ago. Ginger, his long-time lady love calls 10:15. Another non-profit fundraising job has collapsed under her, no fault of Ginger’s. Mason doesn’t always say the right thing to Ginger—he always knows how to talk to some dirt bag in the interview room–but this time he does. They arrange to meet for lunch on the bluff above the ocean. Both of them know a detective’s life is iffy. Anything could happen at the last minute—and does this time as well.

When one of the occasional whodunit murders comes along that eats up the budget and gives Mason hives, Laura Fredericks is assigned to them. Fredericks is an over-eager, loud and brassy investigator with a crush on Mason. 11:15 a.m. and they get a report of a dead body in the high-end real estate part of the town. Is it a natural death, a suicide, or a homicide? Fredericks fusses and fumes, cursing slow drivers. Even cops can’t get through the traffic in Santa Monica quickly.

Fredericks brags about taking down the krav maga instructor. She could put Mason down in a heartbeat, and she knows he knows it. Finally he tells her to tame down her mouth, or get out and walk. Her red-head, freckled face goes pink with embarrassment. Mason makes a string of short calls on his cell phone keeping other cases going. Illegal use of cell phones while driving really sets a good example for the citizens.

The dead body is a suicide, so Mason and Fredericks are back at the station for a meeting to update the Sarge. Then a call comes in that the new light rail line that’s in the test phase from downtown L.A. to the ocean has crashed into a truck. What’s it going to be like on hot August weekends when the train brings half a million people to the beach looking for a good time?

Back at the station at 3 p.m., Mason snatches a half-hour to write reports. Report-writing, a major activity in a cop’s life, never seems to appear on TV cop dramas. Eighteen new emails: updates from the forensic specialists, stupid cop jokes, BOLOs, notifications from the FBI and Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. Four insistent phone messages he can’t ignore. He postpones his weapons qualifying test for another week. Gnawing hunger pains at 4 o’clock. He clatters downstairs to the vending machine in the lobby for a candy bar.

Another call: a disgruntled girlfriend diming out the cheating boyfriend that Mason’s been dogging in a case involving a two-year-old gang murder. Is she believable? Will she change her mind if this goes to court? Move it, Mason. Down to a beach parking lot…more traffic. She isn’t there, but now he’s got a name and a phone number.

More report writing. More knock and talks on doors looking for a witness to an assault on a Korean tourist staying at one of the luxury hotels overlooking the ocean and the pier. His daughter calls and Mason’s face brightens.

His day ends with a call from the victim of a carjacking. His spirits sag. No, nothing new to tell her. He slaps his partner on the shoulder as he passes his cubicle, checking out for the day.

Mason passes the Watch Commander’s office with the dancing display of the map of Santa Monica showing the location of all the cars out on patrol around the city.

He accomplished something today, he hopes.

Here’s a link to reading more about my Dave Mason and Santa Monica novels.


A Very Private High School is the fourth book in the Detective Dave Mason mystery series, published by Pertinacity Press, July 2015.

Santa Monica, California, is home to the homeless, a city of haves and have nots, ripe for dirty politicians, psychopathic homeowners, car thieves, and celebrity troublemakers. A vicious carjacking maims a firefighter that Homicide Detective Dave Mason of the Santa Monica Police Department used to tomcat around with.

Carjackers up the stakes when a hit-and-run linked to them leads Mason to an elite private high school where a boiling controversy is already erupting over financial shenanigans.

The investigation suggests the school’s director likes bad boys and dark, hidden places. On sketchy evidence, Mason needs to convince the brass that funds from the embezzlement are filtering into a Russian carjacking and theft operation. Everything changes when Ginger, the love of Mason’s life and the school’s fundraiser disappears.

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Meet the author
Mar Preston is the author of 5 police procedurals and four writing craft books. Her whodunits celebrate the mean streets of Santa Monica and a fictional California mountain village somewhat like where she lives. She is a co-founder of the local SPCA, a dog park, a network of low-power radio stations, and picks up road kill for her wildlife rehab buddies to feed the big raptors.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Two people (US entries only, please) selected at random will receive a print copy of A Very Private High School. Leave a comment below for your chance to win. The giveaway ends December 5, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

My Musing ~ Pacific Homicide by Patricia Smiley

Pacific Homicide by Patricia Smiley is the first book in the NEW “Pacific Homicide” mystery series. Publisher: Midnight Ink, November 2016

Pacific HomicideFrom LA’s glitz and glamour to its horrific crime scenes, homicide detective Davie Richards sees it all

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 another officer’s life.

While she waits for the police commission to rule on the shooting, she’s called out to probe the gruesome homicide of Anya Nosova, a nineteen-year-old Russian beauty whose body is found in the Los Angeles sewer system. With her own case in limbo, Davie knows that any mistakes in the investigation could end her career. As she hunts for the murderer, somebody begins to hunt her . . . and it’s no longer just her job that’s on the line.

This story quickly grabbed my attention as I became immersed in all that was happening and I could not put this book down until it was all said and done. We are introduced to Davie Richards, a homicide detective in L.A, who carries a lot of baggage and it’s that baggage that makes the heroine of this story stand out and more determined to prove that she got what it takes to do her job. The narrative contained within these pages was descriptive in detail, allowing me to visually feel part of the action as Davie went about her day to day search for a murderer. This well-written drama was staged perfectly with multiple mini-plots that feasted into the overall telling of this tale from the police investigation, to the backstory of Davie’s family and to one man’s revenge, all culminating in an ending worthy of this debut novel. With an intriguing cast of characters, engaging storyline and actionable conversations, this was a fantastic read and I can’t wait for the next one in this new series.

FTC Full Disclosure – I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

A Day in the Life of Detective TJ Sweeney by Susan Van Kirk

The LocketNice of you to come along in my squad car as we cruise through my town of Endurance and check out what’s happening on my way to work. Pardon my sneezing, however. I seem to have caught a cold, and this miserable, wet weather is not helping it one bit. November in the Midwest. Ya gotta love it.

Actually, you can see Endurance is preparing for Thanksgiving and the start of the Christmas holiday season. The Penny Saved Shoe Store over there has children’s pictures of turkeys plastered on their windows for a coloring contest, and over on your side of the car is Maloney’s Law Offices and the Senior Center. Mildred’s Boutique has a tableau of dummies in the window reenacting one of the Norman Rockwell’s paintings about Thanksgiving. The business district loves to decorate.

My friend and former teacher, Grace Kimball, would tell you it’s a nice town, but Grace is notoriously naïve, and I’ve had to help her out of some tough situations, like the time last summer when she found herself stalked by a killer who was setting fires in town. Grace is sometimes too smart and too curious for her own good. But, you know, she’s my friend, and we’ve got each other’s backs.

Grace mentored me through college. You see, in high school I figured I’d just slouch my way through, keep my nose clean, and grab some Cs. Well, and some ZZZs.

Then I ran into Grace Kimball.

She put me in her English Honors class, and even though I worked hard not to cooperate, she was always a step ahead. She went to my house and talked to Mama Sweeney. I was in huge trouble then. You see, my dad split when my brother and I were young. It wasn’t easy being a Caucasian guy married to an African- American woman and hearing those comments under the breaths of your fellow workers at the garage. I’ll never forgive him for deserting us, but my mother did long ago. I admire Mama because it wasn’t easy for a woman to raise two kids in such a tough time. She is formidable.

Grace and Mama joined forces. Believe me, no one could fight that.

High school was tough back then for someone like me growing up in a mostly white town as a mixed-race teenager. I was smart, beautiful, and not going to take any crap from anyone, least of all the guys. Take my latest guy who works construction and has amazing abs. He just told me he loved me, and that doesn’t do it for me. I’ll miss his gorgeous muscles. Yeah, you heard me sigh. If only life were spent exclusively in the bedroom … but he didn’t know of Eudora Welty or Richard Wright or Bessie Smith or Miles Davis or Fibonacci numbers or “A Clean Well-lighted Place.”

Well, that’s all water under the bridge. Back to my friendship with Grace.

She, of course, believed in me and sent me off to college where I thought I’d major in English. Instead, I fell in love with law enforcement and came back here to Endurance. Smashed the police exam with the highest score in history, and they had to put me on the force. Me, a biracial female. Then I moved up to detective. I’d never had a murder case till last summer, and hope I never do again.

Oh, excuse me. That’s the station calling my cell.

“Yeah, Myers.”

“TJ. Just got a call in from a crew putting in the foundation for that new dog park out on the highway west of here.”

“And?

“Sounds like they’ve dug up some bones.”

“Don’t tell me—dog park, dog bones? Right. Ha, ha.”

“Nope. The Homestretch Funeral Home is on the way out there with a canopy to put over the site, and it could be human bones. Don’t know yet, but you’d better get out there.”

“I’m on it, Myers. Call Doc Martinez and get him out there with his coroner’s bag, and then call the crime scene investigators from Woodbury.”

Sorry for the short ride, but I’m going to have to drop you off at the station. Myers, the desk clerk, is great company, and he’ll tell you all about the town. Just don’t ask him about his latest ailment.


The Lockett: From the Casebook of TJ Sweeney is an Endurance novella, published by Prairie Lights Publishing, April 2016.

The Big Band Era–Dancing on the Rooftop–Romance in the Air–and Murder in the Shadows

“… the dispatcher called to tell her it was time to move the bones.”

After solving a double homicide in the hot Midwest summer, Endurance police detective TJ Sweeney isn’t given long to rest. A construction crew has found human bones while digging a building foundation on the outskirts of town.

Sweeney’s investigation soon concludes this is a murder victim, but from many decades earlier. Trying to identify the remains and put a name on the killer takes the detective through a maze of dead ends and openings, twists and turns.

And then it becomes personal. . .

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Meet the author
Susan Van Kirk grew up in Galesburg, Illinois, and was educated at Knox College and the University of Illinois. She Susan Kirktaught high school English for thirty-four years in the small town of Monmouth, Illinois. She taught an additional ten years at Monmouth College. Her short story, “War and Remembrance,” was published by Teacher Magazine and became one of the chapters in her creative nonfiction memoir, The Education of a Teacher (Including Dirty Books and Pointed Looks).

Her first mystery novel about the town of Endurance, Three May Keep a Secret, was published in 2014 by Five Star Publishing/Cengage. She published an Endurance novella as an e-book titled The Locket: From the Casebook of TJ Sweeney in April, 2016. Marry in Haste, her second Endurance mystery novel, comes out November, 2016, also from Five Star Publishing/Cengage.

You can follow her book news on www.susanvankirk.com.

All comments are welcomed.

Investigating with Julia Gooden by Jane Haseldine

The Last Time She Saw HimFive p.m. in the newsroom and I am in the zone. A blast of static crackles from the scanner above my desk. “Shots fired on the two-hundred block of Rosa Parks Boulevard,” the female 911 dispatcher calls out in a staccato monotone. I turn back to my story and listen with trained detachment to hear whether there’s anything more I need to chase on deadline or if it’s just another drive-by shooting.

My name is Julia Gooden, and I’m a crime reporter in the city of Detroit. I became a reporter because I never found out the ending to my own story. Thirty years after my brother Ben disappeared, the only answers I could find were for others, the victims, or those they left behind. The crime beat is a natural for me. The people I write about are the most broken, and they need the most answers. I have to tell their stories. I feel like I owe the victims at least that.

I ignore an e-mail that flashes across my computer screen from my city editor and instead concentrate on my half-written follow-up story about an eight-year-old boy who disappeared somewhere between his row house where he lives with his grandmother and his school bus stop just one short block away.

My eyes hang on the third-grade class picture of the boy in his missing-persons flyer that I pinned over my desk after the Amber Alert went out. I can get lost in the juice of the moment as I chase a story, but once it’s written, once I’m alone, the victim’s stories, their faces, always come back to me. They never let go.

My desk phone rings, and I debate whether to pick it up on deadline or wait to retrieve the message after I finish the story. I know it’s not my husband, David. We’ve been separated for six months now. After ten years of marriage, David arrived home from his law firm one night and announced he couldn’t take my constant. . .or as he would say, nearly “manic” . . . overprotectiveness when it came to our two young sons, Logan and Will.

I throw the dice and answer the phone, hoping it’s a legitimate lead and not a crackpot calling about how their husband hasn’t paid alimony in two months. I feel relieved when I hear the familiar voice of Detective Raymond Navarro, my best source at the Detroit PD. We were in a relationship ten years earlier before I met David. Despite our breakup, Navarro and I have remained friends, which sticks in David’s craw despite our current situation.

“Hey, Julia, this didn’t come from me, but you better get down here. A tagger found a body inside a burned-out building on the three-hundred block of Mount Elliott Street,” Navarro tells me.

I breathe out hard and look back at the picture of the shy little boy with the wire-framed glasses in the missing person’s photo and silently pray it’s not him. But I know that good news in child abduction cases is a bona fide miracle. And I stopped believing in miracles when Ben never came home. Miracles are like Santa Claus, just stuff kids believe.

I make my way through the parking garage to go to the scene, adrenaline flowing, and chisel down the list of questions I will pose to the police. As I slide my key into the ignition, I calculate the fastest route through rush-hour traffic. There’s still time though. There’s always time.

I unzip a duffel bag on the passenger seat and gently pull out a binder, now cracked and faded with age. I open the cover and run my hand over the first yellowed newspaper article. I know it by heart.

Local Boy Disappears in Resort Town

A nine-year-old boy remains missing one day after he disappeared from his bedroom in the small resort town of Sparrow, Michigan.

Ben Gooden, who was to join the rest of his incoming fourth-grade class at Willow Glen Elementary today, was reported missing by his seven-year-old sister, Julia Gooden, who called 911 at approximately 12:30 a.m.

Police would not comment on whether the mother, Marjorie Gooden, is a suspect or will face child endangerment charges, although sources close to the case claim witnesses saw Mrs. Gooden drinking heavily with an unidentified man at a local bar around the time the boy disappeared. Police are trying to locate the missing child’s father, Benjamin Gooden Sr., who was reportedly out of town at the time of the boy’s disappearance.

A sliding glass door leading from an outside courtyard into Ben Gooden’s room was found open and an Indian arrowhead was discovered under his bed, police said.

(Photo caption: Julia Gooden, the missing boy’s younger sister, sits alone on the front steps of the family home and clutches her brother’s baseball against her chest.).

I close my eyes as I try and block out of the memory and picture the faces of my own two boys instead.

I wish I could have somehow prepared myself for what was to come.


The Last Time She Saw Him is the first book in the NEW Julia Gooden mystery series, published by Kensington, June 28, 2016.

A crime reporter searching for her kidnapped son must untangle the connection to her brother’s long ago disappearance.

Julia Gooden remembers nothing about the worst night of her life. Thirty years ago, her nine-year-old brother Ben—the person who promised he would always protect her—was abducted from the room they shared. Try as she might to recall any clue or detail, there is a black hole where Julia’s memories of that terrible event should be.

Now a crime reporter at a Detroit newspaper, Julia tries to give others the closure she’s never found. But guilt and grief over Ben’s disappearance have left her fearful that whoever took her brother is going to come back. Nowhere seems safe—not the city, not the suburbs, not even the secluded lake town where she plans to raise her children. And then, on the anniversary of Ben’s disappearance, Julia’s worst fears are realized when her two-year-old son, Will, is snatched from his bed.

Convinced that the crimes are related, Julia tries to piece together memories from her final day with Ben. Are the sudden reminders of her brother clues that will lead her to her son’s abductor, or merely coincidence? Julia knows she has hours at best to find Will alive, but the deeper she digs, the more personal and terrifying the battle becomes, and an undying promise may be her only hope of saving herself and her son.

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Meet the author
Jane Haseldine is a journalist, former crime reporter, columnist, newspaper editor, magazine writer, and deputy director of communications for a governor. Jane’s debut suspense novel, The Last Time She Saw Him, is coming in June 28, 2016 from Kensington Publishing, and will be the first book in the new Julia Gooden series. You can find Jane at janehaseldine.com, Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of The Last Time She Saw Him. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end June 30, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.