Tag Archives: police procedurals

A day in the life of Sgt. Winston Windflower by Mike Martin

“Life doesn’t get much better than this,” said Winston Windflower. The Mountie looked over at his collie, Lady, who wagged her tail at the sound of his voice. If dogs could smile, she smiled back. His world was almost perfect. He had the love of a great woman and a good job as a Sergeant in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police patrolling one of the lowest crime regions in the country. Plus, the weather had been mild so far, at least for Newfoundland in early December, and that meant no snowstorms with forced overnighters at the detachment. Life was very good indeed.

He had good friends, including Lady, who was amongst the best of them. And he had a child on the way. His wife, Sheila Hillier, was pregnant and at the clinic for her three-month checkup. He was waiting to hear how both Sheila and the baby were doing. His Auntie Marie had told him the baby was a girl, and if anyone knew about these things, it was his Auntie. She was a dream weaver, an interpreter of not just dreams but of messages from the spirit world. Windflower had recently spent a week with her and his Uncle Frank, another dream weaver, to learn more about the dream world.

Interpreting dreams was part of his family’s tradition. But it was an imperfect tool that gave information, not always answers. Perhaps the most important thing he learned was that dreams do not predict the future. Instead, as his Auntie told him, “Dreams tell us about our past, what has already happened. They also point to actions we should take if we want to get the right result in the future and to the signs all around us that we need to follow.

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Sheila came out into the kitchen when she heard Windflower. She gave him a big hug.

“That helps,” he said.

“I’ve got some supper in the oven, if you’re interested,” said Sheila.

“I don’t know if I’m even hungry. Let me have a shower. But I could certainly use a cold beer.”

“Go get cleaned up,” said Sheila. “I’ll make us some crackers and cheese.”

Windflower patted Lady again and went upstairs. He stripped off his clothes and stood for as along as he could in the hot steaming shower. He towelled off, put on his jogging suit and padded downstairs.

Sheila and Lady were sitting in the living room — the parlour, Sheila called it. That was part of the charm of this old and lovingly restored salt-box house in the middle of Grand Bank. It had been Sheila’s parents’ home and was now the residence of the local head of the RCMP and the mayor, about as close to the royal family as you could get in Grand Bank. That was a favourite joke of Corporal Eddie Tizzard, Windflower’s former colleague and go-to guy who was now working with Ron Quigley in Marystown.

Sheila had made a large plate of assorted cheese and crackers. There was some pepper Brie, Five Counties cheese and one of Windflower’s special choices, a Stilton with mango pieces. Plus, she had a cold bottle of Black Horse beer for him.

“This is perfect,” said Windflower as Lady, hoping to gather up any lost crumbs, carefully watched him place a large Stilton-topped cracker into his mouth. Windflower gave her a piece of the next cracker. While she was pleased with that morsel, she held out eternal hope for more. Finally, he shooed her away from the snacks on the side table, and she slumped into a mini-depression near the fireplace.

Sheila sipped on a glass of soda water and watched as Windflower neatly demolished the rest of the cheese and crackers.

“I didn’t think you were hungry,” said Sheila.

“Automatic response,” said Windflower. “I don’t think I ate anything after breakfast.”

“I’ll get you a plate from the oven,” she said as she headed back into the kitchen.

Sheila returned with a plate overflowing with steaming pasta and shrimp.

“Oh, my God,” said Windflower as he took a few small bites from his still-too-hot-to-eat dinner. “This is fabulous.”

“It’s not much, a shrimp and macaroni casserole. It’s easy to make and great for leftovers. That’s assuming you don’t eat it all tonight.”


You can read more about Sgt. Windflower and his adventures in A Tangled Web, the 6th book in the “Sgt. Windflower” mystery series.

Life is good for Sgt. Windflower in Grand Bank, Newfoundland. But something’s missing from the Mountie’s life. Actually, a lot of things go missing in Grand Bank: a little girl, supplies from the new factory, even some of his people. It’s Windflower’s job to unravel the tangled web that threatens to engulf this sleepy little town. But there’s always good food and good friends and the love of a great woman to make everything better at the end. Come back to Grand Bank and enjoy some of that for yourself.

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Meet the author
Mike Martin was born in Newfoundland on the East Coast of Canada and now lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a long-time freelance writer and his articles and essays have appeared in newspapers, magazines and online across Canada as well as in the United States and New Zealand. He is the author of Change the Things You Can: Dealing with Difficult People and has written a number of short stories that have published in various publications including Canadian Stories and Downhome magazine.

The Walker on the Cape was his first full fiction book and the premiere of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series. Other books in the series include The Body on the T, Beneath the Surface, A Twist of Fortune and A Long Ways from Home.

A Tangled Web is the latest book in the Sgt. Windflower Mystery series set on the East Coast of Canada. The previous book in the series, A Long Ways from Home, was shortlisted for the Bony Blithe Award as the “Best Light Mystery of the year.”

You can follow the Sgt. Windflower Mysteries on Facebook or visit is website at www.sgtwindflowermysteries.com

All comments are welcomed.

A conversation with Diane Joyner as told by Bruce Robert Coffin

My name is Diane Joyner and I am a Portland police homicide detective. I’m originally from New York City where I also worked homicides. I moved to Maine to escape my personal troubles and start anew. For the last several years my partner on murder cases has been Detective Sergeant John Byron. You may have guessed by his title that a John is also my supervisor. There is a mutual attraction between us which has led to some trouble, in that the PD has strict rules about getting romantically involved with a coworker in the same unit, specifically one’s own supervisor. We’ve been forced to try and keep our involvement a secret from our peers, although I think some of them are starting to suspect.

My interest in John Byron is easy enough to understand. He’s tall, handsome, and very smart. And he’s a cop’s cop. A second-generation badge who hates to lose. John and I are similar in our dogged pursuit of truth and justice for the victims. We work very well together, playing off each other’s strengths to close cases.

Our relationship has its challenges, though. John’s marriage of twenty years recently ended and I think he is conflicted about his feelings. Even our respective backgrounds have become an issue. You see I am an African American from the Big Apple, while John, who is ten years my senior, was raised Irish Catholic right here in Portland, Maine. He is also struggling with the bottle. And if I’m being totally honest with you, I may have a few demons of my own. Ultimately, I don’t know what will become of John and me but I’m willing to give it a shot and find out.

Well, I’ve gotta run. I’m heading to Augusta to meet John at an autopsy. We just pulled a dead attorney out of Casco Bay. Great talking with you.


You can read more about Diane Joyner and John Byron in the second book of the Detective Byron Mysteries, Beneath the Depths.

In this latest gripping mystery from bestselling author Bruce Robert Coffin, Detective Sergeant John Byron is back—and ready to prove that no one on his beat is above the law.

When the body of prominent Portland attorney Paul Ramsey turns up in the bottom of Casco Bay, following his loss of a multimillion dollar civil trial, Byron knows it’s no accidental drowning. Golden boy Ramsey had a dark side—and Byron believes the key to solving his murder lies in uncovering those secrets someone wanted buried along with him.

With the brilliant Detective Diane Joyner by his side, Byron takes on Ramsey’s former employer, the powerhouse law firm of Newman, Branch & DeWitt. But delving further into the troubled waters of Ramsey’s past only serves to lengthen the list of suspects—unleashing a perfect storm of corruption, betrayal, and murder that only Byron can stop. If he’s not too late.

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Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a digital copy (Kindle or Nook) of Beneath the Depths. The giveaway will end August 14, 2017. Good luck everyone!

Meet the author
Bruce Robert Coffin is a former detective sergeant with more than twenty-seven years in law enforcement. At the time of his retirement, from the Portland, Maine police department, he supervised all homicide and violent crime investigations for Maine’s largest city. Following the terror attacks of September 11th, Bruce spent four years working counter-terrorism with the FBI, earning the Director’s Award, the highest honor a non-agent can receive.

Bruce is the bestselling author of the Detective Byron Mysteries from HarperCollins. The debut novel in the series, Among the Shadows, was released to rave reviews, appearing in several Amazon bestseller lists and topping the paperback fiction list in the Maine Sunday Telegram. His short stories have been featured in several anthologies including the 2016 Best American Mystery Stories.

He lives and writes in Maine. Connect with Bruce at brucerobertcoffin.com, on Facebook and Twitter.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Dr. Dot Meyerhoff by Ellen Kirschman

I have a line-up of clients to see today. First up, four young men so eager to be cops they will be vibrating with excitement. And anxiety. They’re here for the dreaded pre-employment psych screening. I’m the Kenilworth Police Department psychologist, the last and biggest hurdle they have to pass. My job is to make sure the cops KPD hires are emotionally stable and fit to do the job. Hiring the wrong person can have disastrous results. My first year on the job, Ben, a troubled young rookie I was counseling killed himself and left a note blaming me. My ex-husband did Ben’s psych screening. I blamed him. Turns out we were both wrong.

I listen for the knock on my office door. It will be forceful, then tentative. As though this is a test, a demonstration that the applicant has the requisite range of behavior to be a cop—compassion and courage, fearlessness and self-restraint. I’ll open the door and there he’ll be, like a bright shiny penny, so eager to get the job he’d work for free. He doesn’t know what I know, that in five short years, the wear and tear of the job will start to show and he’ll be putting in an overtime slip every time he has to work fifteen minutes past the end of his shift.

In thirty years, he’ll look like the veteran cop I’m scheduled to see this afternoon. On the verge of retirement, terrified of losing his identity, his purpose in life, and his friends, he is only just now confronting what it means to exchange the perks of authority for the anonymity of civilian life. Not to mention trying to repair a marriage frayed thin by playing second fiddle to the job.

KPD is a moderate size agency of 70 officers. Joke all you want that KPD cops prefer lattes and vegan-schmeared whole grain bagels to donuts, there’s crime in this valley. The cops are busy. So am I. The second year I worked for KPD, Officer Randy Spelling shot an unarmed pregnant teenager after mistaking her cell phone for a gun. As KPD’s only female street cop, she struggled to be accepted by her male colleagues, until she killed Lakeisha Gibbs. Then she became an overnight hero. She rejected the praise as soundly as she rejected my efforts to help her with her PTSD. When she tried to apologize to the dead girl’s family, the results were catastrophic.

Now I’m dealing with Officer Manny Ochoa, primary investigator of the Internet Crimes against Children task force. KPD is located in the heart of Silicon Valley. It’s a terrible irony that the pedophiles Manny chases have better computers than he does. I can see the job is hurting him and his family. His wife Lupe begged to see me today. She’s asked Manny to come with her. I doubt he’ll show up. Cops are resistant to seeking help. They think it means they are weak. I think it means they are human.

Chief Jay Pence, appointed Manny to the task force. He should have asked me if I thought Manny, a new father, was emotionally prepared to do this job. He didn’t. In my short tenure at KPD I’ve worked for three different chiefs. With the exception of Chief Jacqueline Reagon, a capable but damaged woman, it’s a race to the bottom between that atrocious fireplug of a man, the now banished Chief Baxter, and Pence who fires then hires me back about every other month. Now that Manny’s in trouble, he’s leaning on me to fix the problem.

Why do I put up with him? I care deeply about my cops. My fiancée, Frank. thinks I’m too dedicated for my own good and that I take chances I shouldn’t. I don’t think he’s forgiven me yet for dragging him to a hip-hop club, pretending I liked the music, when I was actually looking for a missing murder suspect. Now the tables have turned. The daughter of his beloved photography teacher, JoAnn Juliette (known as JJ), has gone missing. Manny thinks JJ’s provocative photos of her daughter are responsible for the child’s disappearance. So does everyone else at KPD. Except Frank who seems to think JJ can do no wrong. I have no reason to suspect him of being unfaithful, but I didn’t suspect my first husband either until he dumped me for a younger woman. My friends think Frank is the best thing since sliced bread. Pickings are slim for 50 year-old women. My mother thinks so too. She’s desperate to see me married again before she dies. She’s in good health, but I can’t shake the feeling that my staying single is the only thing keeping her alive and she’ll drop dead the minute we tie the knot. If we tie the knot.

Sorry. Here’s the knock I’ve been waiting for. As predicted, two hard hits followed by two soft taps.


You can read more about Dot in The Fifth Reflection, third in the “Dot Meyerhoff” mystery series.

A missing child. An eccentric mother. An obsessed and troubled investigator. A police psychologist trying to help them all―at her own peril.

Police psychologist Dr. Dot Meyerhoff is pulled into the vortex of a terrible crime involving an eccentric photographer whose images of nude children make her a prime suspect in the disappearance of her own daughter. The principal investigator in the case is a young officer whose dedication to work and obsession with finding the missing child is tearing his own family apart. Trapped between her allegiance to the investigator, her complicated connections to the photographer, and her unstable relationship with the police chief, Dot must find a way to help everyone involved. As Dot’s psychological expertise and determination contribute to solving the mystery, her involvement with the missing child’s extended, dysfunctional family brings her face-to-face with painful psychological issues of her own. The Fifth Reflection delivers a chilling, up-close look at the psychological strain of investigating Internet crimes against children, the complexities of being married to a cop, and the deadliness of jealousy.

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About the author
Ellen Kirschman Ph.D has been a police psychologist for 30 years. She is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Society for the Study of Police and Criminal Psychology, the American Psychological Association, and the International Association of Women in Law Enforcement as well as Sisters-in-Crime, Mystery Writers of America and the Public Safety Writers Assocation. She is the recipient of the California Psychological Association’s 2014 award for distinguished contribution to psychology as well as the American Psychological Association’s 2010 award for outstanding contribution to the practice of police and public safety psychology. In addition to the Dot Meyerhoff mystery series Ellen is the author of I Love a Cop: What Police Families Need to Know, I Love a Fire Fighter: What the Family Needs to Know, and lead author of Counseling Cops: What Clinicians Need to Know. Ellen lives in Redwood City, California with her husband, a retired remodeling contractor turned photographer.

She maintains a website at www.ellenkirschman.com and blogs with Psychology Today and The Lady Killers.

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ Marathon by Brian Freeman

Marathon by Brian Freeman is the eighth book in the “Jonathan Stride” mystery series. Publisher: Quercus, May 2017

On a rainy June morning, tens of thousands of people crowd into Duluth for the city’s biggest annual event: the Duluth Marathon. Exhausted runners push to reach the finish line and spectators line the streets to cheer them on. Then, in a terrifying echo of the Boston bombing, there is an explosion along the race course, leaving many people dead and injured.

Within minutes, Jonathan Stride, Serena Dial, and Maggie Bei are at work with the FBI to find the terrorists behind the tragedy. As social media feeds a flood of rumors and misinformation, one spectator remembers being jostled by a young man with a backpack not far from the bomb site. He spots a Muslim man in a tourist’s photo of the event and is convinced that this was the man who bumped into him in the crowd–but now the man’s backpack is missing.

When he tweets the photo to the public, the young man, Khan Rashid, becomes the most wanted man in the city. And the manhunt is on.

But are the answers behind the Duluth bombing more complex than anyone realizes? And can Stride, Serena, and Maggie find the truth before more innocent people are killed?

Brian has done it again. He’s delivered a fast-paced and riveting drama that I could not put down until the last sentence was read. From the beginning the author set the tone and kept the pace in sync with great narrative that was visually descriptive and engaging dialogue that exploded on the page with the action between the varied cast in this dynamic story. One only have to look at current events to tell that this story needed to be told. The author did a great job in the staging of this story and I loved seeing how this case was solved from the various perspective and the pivotal roles that Jonathan, Serena, Maggie and the other supporting cast played in the telling of this story. The further I read, the more the tension pulsated within my heart as the frenzy action of the character came to a pause when it became clear that what was seen was not seen and that “aha” moment took this this story to a higher pitch and I became engrossed in how this was all going to end. This was an excellent read and the best book in this grippingly thrilling series. I can’t wait to see what new adventures awaits Jonathan and his friends.

A day in the life with Macy Greeley by Karin Salvalaggio

I can see them now. My son Luke and my boyfriend Aiden are a hundred yards ahead, resting in the shade of a thin stand of pine trees. We’re on a high mountain trail in Montana’s Glacier National Park. I’ve been trying to catch up with them for hours. My legs feel so heavy I can barely lift them, my rucksack is warm against my back and a heavy summer sun is making me thirsty. I’m losing patience with the man I love. Luke is only four years old so he can be forgiven but I don’t understand why Aiden won’t wait for me.

The alarm clock I’ve set on my cellphone wakes me from my dream.

The hotel room is pitch dark and full of unfamiliar smells ― carpeting, cleaning fluid and something I can only describe as salami, which is troubling. The sheets are so crisp they pin me down to the bed like an envelope. The hotel is one of many dotted along Route 89 that cater to tourists in the summer and unlucky souls like myself in the winter. It is bitterly cold outside. The curtains are cracked open a fraction. I can just make out the hotel’s vacancy sign.

It feels like I’ve been living in hotels forever, but it has only been a week since I kissed my son and boyfriend goodbye. Wilmington Creek, the town I now call home, seems a lifetime away. I’m heading north into the heart of the Black Feet Indian Reservation where I’m hoping to get information on the whereabouts of a Native American girl who’s gone missing whilst hitchhiking the rural roads that lace the northern part of the state. She is one of many, but I don’t know that yet.

My cellphone rings again. I try to paw it into silence with my hand, but it isn’t the alarm so it doesn’t stop. Someone is calling me. I clear my throat but still croak.

“Special Investigator Macy Greeley, Montana Department of Justice,” I say. “How can I help?”

“You can cut the formalities for a start,” says Ryan.

I am now wide-awake. Ryan is a senior forensics investigator and one of my best friends. We’ve been working cases together for more than a dozen years. Hearing from him is a mixed blessing. It’s usually bad news.

“We’ve found a body – young, female and in all probability your missing person’s case. I’ve just emailed my preliminary findings. We’ve put in a request for dental records. Should know for sure if it’s Tamara Creek by the end of the day.”

I switch on the bedside lamp and reach for my laptop. It’s 6am and this is how I’m starting my day.

“Crap,” I say. “When she sent those text messages to her mother a couple of days ago I was feeling hopeful.”

“It wasn’t her. She’s been dead at least a week.”

“A week? Are you absolutely sure?”

“Yep.”

“So, some sick fuck has been making her friends and family believe she’s been alive all this time?”

“Looks that way. The hotel manager here called it in. No one was supposed to be in the room so he had no idea she’s been lying dead here all week. The guests that checked in late last night had a nasty shock. How soon can you get down to Great Falls?”

“An hour tops. Cause of death?”

I have the file Ryan sent me open on my computer but I can’t focus once I’ve read that the victim had a tattoo of a humming bird on her shoulder. I’ll have to wait for dental confirmation before informing the family, but I already know it’s Tamara, a 14 year old high school student from Missoula whose mother refused to accept that her daughter was a runaway. It was only by chance that a security camera had caught her being forced into a dark colored SUV.

“We’re not sure at this point but I’m guessing strangulation. There’s evidence of rape.”

I close my laptop and slip out from under the covers.

“I’m on my way,” I say.

I put on the coffee maker and throw on my clothes. Ten minutes later I’m on the road. The rest of the day goes by in a blur of interviews, heartache and takeaway food. I will drink 5 cups of coffee and 3 Diet Cokes. A Snickers Bar will see me through an afternoon lull. I will drive more than 400 miles but I never tire of the views and how they unfold. Montana’s snow covered mountains, valleys and rivers shimmer under an endless blue sky.

I end my day back home in Wilmington Creek. The house is quiet when I park my state issue four-by-four in the garage. Our Springer Spaniels come find me in the kitchen where I’m pouring myself a strong drink. The whiskey burns but in a good way. Luke has left a few drawings out on the dining table for me to see. Stick figures of Aiden, Luke and me stand in front of our small house. Against all odds we are now a family.

Aiden wanders in a few minutes later. His face is thick with sleep. His hair is pressed to the side of his head. I’d called him earlier so he already knows how difficult my day has been. It is only when he takes me in his arms and holds me tight that I finally allow myself to cry.


You can read more about Macy in Silent Rain, the fourth book in the “Macy Greeley” mystery series.

Grace Adams has spent three years trying to move on―mentally, physically, emotionally―from the traumatizing events of her past. But it’s not easy when the world is morbidly curious about the crimes that shaped her childhood, when despite her changed name, people still track her down for the sensational details. Now in college in Bolton, Montana, the one person Grace has trusted with the truth about her past has betrayed her. The bestselling novelist Peter Granger wants to use Grace’s story in his next book, regardless of how desperate Grace is to keep the details to herself. And then, on Halloween night, Peter Granger’s house burns to the ground and his and his wife’s bodies are found inside.

Montana state detective Macy Greeley is sent to Bolton to handle the investigation into the fire and deaths. . .which soon appear to be arson and murder. It doesn’t take Macy long to realize that Grace isn’t the only one whom Peter Granger has betrayed, and there are no shortage of others in town who took issue with him and his wife. What at first looked like a straightforward investigation is poised to expose some of Bolton’s darkest secrets, and the fallout may put more than one life in danger.

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About the author
Karin Salvalaggio received an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck at the University of London. Born in West Virginia and raised in an Air Force family, she grew up on a number of military bases around the United States. She now lives in London with her two children.

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ Silent Rain by Karin Salvalaggio

Silent Rain by Karin Salvalaggio is the fourth book in the “Macy Greeley” mystery series. Publisher: Minotaur Books May 9, 2017

silent-rainGrace Adams has spent three years trying to move on―mentally, physically, emotionally―from the traumatizing events of her past. But it’s not easy when the world is morbidly curious about the crimes that shaped her childhood, when despite her changed name, people still track her down for the sensational details. Now in college in Bolton, Montana, the one person Grace has trusted with the truth about her past has betrayed her. The bestselling novelist Peter Granger wants to use Grace’s story in his next book, regardless of how desperate Grace is to keep the details to herself. And then, on Halloween night, Peter Granger’s house burns to the ground and his and his wife’s bodies are found inside.

Montana state detective Macy Greeley is sent to Bolton to handle the investigation into the fire and deaths. . .which soon appear to be arson and murder. It doesn’t take Macy long to realize that Grace isn’t the only one whom Peter Granger has betrayed, and there are no shortages of others in town who took issue with him and his wife. What at first looked like a straightforward investigation is poised to expose some of Bolton’s darkest secrets, and the fallout may put more than one life in danger.

The drama that unfolded captured my attention from the beginning and never let up, not even at the conclusion. There was more to this story and the author did a great job in disseminating all that transpired with this superb cast of characters that featured strong women in every possible form. The narrative was enticing with a tightly woven storyline that put me in the middle of all the action. The dialogue, the staging, and the story’s tempo, kept this tome moving at a pace that I dare not miss a moment for every little detail had me intrigued in the possibilities that the author put forth.

The author did a fantastic job in divvying up the roles that the characters played which were pivotal to how this was all going to end. They were a few strategically-placed twists that gave me pause but when it was all said it done, it added to how well this story was told. Macy is my kind of heroine, and it was nice seeing a stronger Grace who appeared in a previous book. With great plot twists, complex characters and an all-around great read, this was one of the best book in the series and I look forward to more investigations with Macy and her colleagues.

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

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.