Tag Archives: Witness Impulse

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 Dreama Black by Susan Kandel

6:00 a.m.: Wake up as sun streams relentlessly into bedroom window. Roll over grumpily and place pillow over head, filled with regret about having forgotten to buy black-out shades. Again.

6:30 a.m.: Check Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat. Hate-read Goop. Search Daily Mail for possible references to ex-boyfriend, rock star Luke Cutt, and his Victoria’s Secret supermodel girlfriend with the disfiguring overbite. Open email and gasp out loud at requests for three tour bookings: a foodie tour for kosher singles from Milwaukee; a tour of hot L.A. selfie spots for some twenty-somethings from Tokyo; and a tour of iconic surf breaks, along with a surfing lesson, for six divorcees from Walla Walla. When it rains, it pours.

7:30 a.m.: Pull on running clothes, exit house, jog to corner, remember that exercise is exhausting, go home.

7:35 a.m.: Put on first pot of coffee. Make breakfast of champions: two slices of toast with cherry preserves and butter. Drink pot of coffee. Then make third slice of toast and spread liberally with peanut butter because it’s good to start the day with protein.

8:30 a.m.: Ignore phone messages from over-anxious client regarding upcoming “What Were You Thinking?” tour. Send text reassuring him that as promised, he and the guys from the wedding party will not only visit the spots where Hugh Grant, Eddie Murphy, and George Michael were arrested, they will go backstage at a porn shoot in the San Fernando Valley and see how the magic gets made. Then spend fifteen minutes wondering how on earth you will possibly make this happen.

9:30 a.m.: Shower and dress. Not as easy as it sounds. Finally decide upon an off- the-shoulder black-and-white gingham top and white capris, with red kitten heel mules and usual basket purse, in homage to idol, Jane Birkin. Accidentally leave without water bottle despite New Year’s resolution to hydrate consistently.

10 a.m.: Drive to Trousdale to help former video vixen mother organize items for garage sale. Try to convince her to sell fanny-pack she is wearing, but encounter resistance as it so beautifully matches her astrology-themed leggings and bandana. Quibble over pricing of can of hair spray used by members of Whitesnake on pivotal “Slide It In” tour of 1984. Leave with water bottle after mother makes rude comment about skin looking “off.” Back in car, realize that mother also slipped you the phone number of her old Lamaze buddy, ex-porn actress, Traci Lords, who may be able to pull some (G-)strings.

12:00 p.m.: Head over to Echo Park to meet with artisanal pickle-maker. Pickles very salty, but pickle-maker himself gorgeous and single. Put him on schedule for kosher foodie tour. Stop into used bookshop to research surfing tour, and flip through vintage “Gidget” paperback, then pose for picture with bookshop clerk, who — having realized you are the girl in the song — shares that she lost her virginity to “Dreama, Little Dreama.” Smile wanly as you exit.

2:00 p.m.: Stop at Grand Central Market. Eat two kimchi tacos, followed by pastrami sandwich. Express gratitude for your fast metabolism by getting frozen yogurt — as opposed to chocolate sundae — for dessert. Ignore 4th call of the day from anxious client, then text Traci Lords.

3:00 p.m.: Wander around West Hollywood documenting selfie spots, including pink wall outside Paul Smith store, and angel wings adjacent to liquor store on Orlando where they once caught you flashing a fake ID.

4:00 p.m.: Visit best friend at her tattoo parlor, Cat House, and watch her work on a Hollywood sign tattoo on a hairy person’s back. Marvel at the way she is able to blend hairs into vines. Become so mesmerized that you miss callback from Traci Lords. Feel sudden wave of optimism about “What Were You Thinking?” tour and future career prospects, and finally return anxious client’s call. Drop can of Diet Coke when client tells you tour is off because groom is missing and presumed dead.

5:00 p.m.: Arrive at Cellar Door, struggling vegan café run by mother and grandmother, to do a fill-in shift for waitress who invented 3-D printer for gluten-free pancakes and had a last-minute audition for “Shark Tank.” Wonder if missing groom is the victim of foul play, or just suffering from cold feet. Google him during extended chicory coffee break, and learn that his active-wear company has just filed for bankruptcy. Note that his second-in-command is an extremely beautiful young woman. Check her Facebook and learn that she is somewhere tropical, and that her favorite cocktail is a Mai Tai.

9:00 p.m.: Get home, take shower, crawl into bed with computer and large box of crackers. Enlarge groom’s second-in-command’s vacation photos, and catch a glimpse of hotel name embroidered on pool towels. Call hotel and claim to have found groom’s cell phone at downstairs bar, checked his messages, discovered he was staying there, and profess desire to return his phone. Listen as clerk confirms that groom is indeed a guest of hotel, and offers to relay message to him. Hang up.

10:00 p.m.: Finish box of crackers. Have long conversation with anxious client, and inform him missing groom is alive and well in the Cayman Islands. Call back Traci Lords, and tell her you just wanted to say that you loved her in “Cry Baby.” Put on eye-mask, and go to sleep.


You can read more about Dreama in Dream a Little Death, the first book in the NEW “Dreama Black” mystery series.

Dreama Black is almost famous. The daughter (and granddaughter) of groupies who captivated L.A.’s biggest rock stars, and muse to her own Grammy-winning ex-boyfriend Luke Cutt, Dreama seems doomed to remain on the periphery of stardom.

All that changes when Dreama is hired by record producer Miles McCoy to arrange an epic wedding celebration for his beautiful fiancée, Maya Duran. The theme of the party? A noir-style tour through L.A.’s most infamous locations and hidden gems. It seems like Dreama’s big break, until Maya is rushed to the hospital with a self-inflicted bullet wound. The police and everyone involved assume it’s an attempted suicide, but Dreama isn’t convinced. For one thing, how did the weapon just vanish? Why has Maya been using two names? And then there’s the mysterious check for $40,000 that shows up on Dreama’s doorstep—the exact amount of money reportedly laundered by her beloved L.A. police detective uncle, and also the exact amount Miles promised as payment for Dreama’s party-planning services.

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Meet the author
Susan Kandel is a former art critic for the Los Angeles Times. She has taught at New York University and UCLA, and served as editor of the international journal artext. She lives in West Hollywood, California, with her husband, two daughters, and dog.

All comments are welcomed.

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A day in the life of Helen Evans by Susan McBride

I’m not a gossip. Really, I’m not.

I can’t help it if I get caught up in the goings-on in River Bend. When you live in a town this small, everyone seems to know everyone else’s business. That’s just the way it is.

Besides, how could I have ignored my dear friend Clara Foley standing in front of the Historical Society, arguing with the sheriff’s wife, Sarah Biddle? It was my duty to intervene and find out what was going on.

I was startled to hear that Luann Dupree, the director of the Historical Society and Sarah’s best friend, no less, had apparently run off in the night with an Internet beau. But how could that be, I wondered, when Clara and I were set to volunteer just that morning, sorting through old photographs that were part of a big project Luann had instigated?

Sarah insisted that Luann would never have done something so impulsive, though Clara reminded her—quite snarkily, I must say—that love made people act downright stupid sometimes.

It’s true that the heart doesn’t always follow a path of logic. But calling Luann stupid? I wasn’t so sure about that. I had heard Luann speak several times on subjects she knew well: the Mississippi River Valley and its history, the myth of the Piasa Bird, and the rumor that Lewis and Clark had been waylaid in River Bend during their famous expedition. Ms. Dupree had not seemed flighty to me. Beyond that, I believed that she loved her job, and it was more her passion than anything.

So I deigned to ask. “Am I missing something?”

“That’s what we’re debating.” Clara glared at the sheriff’s wife. “Are we missing something, Sarah, or did this something wander off on its own two legs? You said her car was gone. . .”

“Just because the Fiat’s not here, doesn’t mean she went of her own free will,” Sarah insisted, cheeks inflamed. “For all we know, she was drugged and put in the trunk.”

“In the trunk of a Fiat?” Clara’s eyes widened and she let out a coarse laugh. She waggled her bulging tote before her. “I doubt you could even fit a bag of groceries in the back of that car. It’s no bigger than a toy. Although I’m sure it could hold plenty of clowns.”

“This isn’t funny!” The sheriff’s wife tightened hands to fists.

Still, when the town council received an email from Luann, resigning her position as head of the Historical Society, it appeared that Clara was right and Sarah was wrong.

Only the sheriff’s wife was too stubborn to let it go. If she wanted to play Nancy Drew, who was I to stop her? I’d done it a few times myself when people I loved were in trouble.

But I wanted her to leave me out of it. I had other things on my mind, like the floodwaters that kept rising daily. The Mississippi had overflowed its banks as it did every spring, effectively cutting off the town from the River Road. Beyond that, I was anxious about Clara and her family. My friend had been acting strangely withdrawn and cranky, not like her usual chirpy self. Soon enough, I knew why: Bernie Winston, husband to Clara’s older sister, Betty, had wandered off and couldn’t be found.

Bernie had Alzheimer’s. He couldn’t recall how to tie his shoes much less swim. What if he slipped into the creek and was caught beneath its current? Betty was beside herself.

Of course, I volunteered to search for Bernie. I didn’t realize at the time that looking for an old man with dementia would have anything to do with the abrupt departure of the Historical Society’s lovelorn director.

It’s funny in a town like River Bend, how odd circumstances, no matter how disparate, seem to ultimately intersect. Just like the swollen creeks that run through it.


You can read more about Helen in Come Helen High Water, the fourth book in the “River Road” mystery series.

Helen Evans returns in Susan McBride’s fourth River Road Mystery!

Spring has sprung, the river is rising, and when Luann Dupree, the head of River Bend’s Historical Society, vanishes into the night, everyone in town is convinced she’s run off with her Internet Romeo. But her lifelong friend, Sarah Biddle, is convinced Luann is the victim of foul play. No one believes her—not even her husband, the local sheriff, so she turns to Helen Evans for help.

As River Bend’s resident puzzle-solver, Helen’s tackled many a local mystery before. So she agrees to help Sarah, even though she’s not so sure herself that Luann is really in trouble. But as the town’s flood waters slowly recede, dead fish and muck aren’t the only things Helen finds. She begins to uncover town secrets, false identities. . .and the very real chance that Luann might not be discovered alive. . .

“Packed with small town charm!”—Denise Swanson

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About the author
Susan McBride is the USA Today bestselling author of the Debutante Dropout Mysteries and the River Road Mysteries, both from HarperCollins Publishers. The fourth book to feature senior sleuth Helen Evans, Come Helen High Water, was released in digital format on June 27. Audio and print versions will follow. For more on Susan and her novels, visit her web site at susanmcbride.com.

Giveaway: Two people selected at random will receive a digital (Kindle or Nook) copy of Come Helen High Water. Leave a comment below for your chance to win. The giveaway ends July 4, 2017. Good luck everyone!

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My Musing ~ Come High Water by Susan McBride

Come Helen High Water by Susan McBride is the fourth book in the “River Road” mystery series. Publisher: Witness Impulse, coming June 27, 2017

Spring has sprung, the river is rising, and when Luann Dupree, the head of River Bend’s Historical Society, vanishes into the night, everyone in town is convinced she’s run off with her Internet Romeo. But her lifelong friend, Sarah Biddle, is convinced Luann is the victim of foul play. No one believes her—not even her husband, the local sheriff, so she turns to Helen Evans for help.

As River Bend’s resident puzzle-solver, Helen’s tackled many a local mystery before. So she agrees to help Sarah, even though she’s not so sure herself that Luann is really in trouble. But as the town’s flood waters slowly recede, dead fish and muck aren’t the only things Helen finds. She begins to uncover town secrets, false identities. . .and the very real chance that Luann might not be discovered alive. . .

With an approaching flood on the rise, Helen is on the case when a woman goes missing and a neighbor’s husband is later found dead, perhaps murdered. Who is behind these two incidents? Well step inside Come Helen High Water and you’ll find a story filled with suspense, intrigue, trepidation and heartbreak as Helen looks for answers. The author did a great job in telling this story with visually descriptive narrative that pulled me in immediately from the impending flood, to Bernie who suffers from Alzheimer, to the happenings at the Historical Society, and to that surprising double twist at the end. This was a well-written drama and a terrific story in a series I enjoy reading.

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

My Musing ~ Wildcat by Sara Paretsky

Wildcat by Sara Paretsky is V. I. Warshawski’s First Case short story. Publisher: Witness Impulse, March 7, 2017

wildcatSara Paretsky, one of the most legendary crime writers of all time, presents an exclusive and thrilling short story featuring beloved investigator V.I. Warshawski as a ten-year-old girl on her first investigation.

V.I. Warshawski developed her strength and sense of justice at a very early age. It’s 1966 and on the south side of Chicago racial tensions are at an all-time high. Dr. Martin Luther King is leading marches at Marquette Park and many in the neighborhood are very angry.

With nothing but a bicycle, eighty-two cents in her pocket, and her Brownie camera hanging from her wrist, Victoria sneaks off to Marquette Park alone to protect her father Tony, a police officer who is patrolling the crowds.

What begins as a small adventure and a quest to find her father and make sure he is safe turns into something far more dangerous. As the day goes on and the conflict at the park reaches a fever pitch Victoria realizes she must use her courage and ingenuity if she wants to keep herself and her family members out of harm’s way.

In this short story we see the determination and survival skills of young V.I. Warshawski that set her on the path of what she is today. The author did a great job in sending me back to 1960s Chicago during the Martin Luther King era and putting me in V.I.’s shoes as the sights and sounds permeate throughout the telling of this grippingly intense drama. If you want to see how it all began, then this book is not one that you want to miss.

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

My Musing ~ Random Acts by J.A. Jance

Random Acts by J.A. Jance is the third novella in the “Joanna Brady” suspense series. Publisher: Witness Impulse, August 2016

Random ActsFrom New York Times bestselling author J. A. JANCE comes an all- new novella, in which Sheriff Joanna Brady and investigator Ali Reynolds join forces to solve a crime thathas hit dangerously close to home.

Sheriff Joanna Brady has a lot on her plate—she is up for re-election as sheriff, pregnant with her third child, and her eldest is packing up to leave for college. Then Joanna is woken in the middle of the night by a call reporting a motor vehicle accident. Her mother and stepfather’s RV ran off the road at high speed and hit the pillar of an overpass.

Something about the accident seems suspicious, though, and when Joanna gets a call from Ali Reynolds, a journalist turned investigator, she accepts her offer to help. They come up with a plan to find out who was responsible…even if that person is not the villain they’d expected.

This fast-paced thriller is a prelude to DownFall, the next book in the Joanna Brady series. Joanna gets disturbing news about her parents and in a single moment, thanks to her mother, it goes from an accident to murder. The author did a great job in delivering a nicely packed and tightly woven tale of suspense with an intriguing twist with how this short story ends. This riveting page turner has me geared up for more exploits with Joanna and the gang.