Your One Wild & Precious Life

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean –
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down –
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

– Mary Oliver

Murder and Gold~A Review

I wasn’t sure if I would be able to properly enjoy Cantor Gold since I was jumping into the midst of a series without reading the books that came before. But WOW! What a ride!

Cantor is the lesbian Sam Spade I didn’t know I was missing. She’s brave, honourable in her own way and unapologetic. But in this book, someone seems to be setting her up and she’s got her hands full trying to stay ahead of the law and a mob boss she can’t fully trust.

This was my first introduction to Ann Aptaker’s writing, and I’ve come away a  BIG fan. Her pacing is as fast and tense as a roller coaster ride and doesn’t let you breathe even for a minute. I cheered for Cantor every step of the way, even though at the beginning, I didn’t know her. Now? I’d be proud to call Cantor my friend, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of her story while I anxiously await the next book in the series.

Many thanks to Ann for putting Cantor on the page for all of us to enjoy, and to Bywater Books for the review copy.

Legalese Lingo~Throwback Edition

evidence form and tape

It’s ThrowbackThursday, and time to expand our vocabulary. At least where things like crime are concerned.

Precautionary acts involving physical evidence are behaviors committed by an offender before, during, or after an offense that are consciously intended to confuse, hamper, or defeat investigative or forensic efforts for the purposes of concealing the identity of the perpetrator and/or his connection to the crime, or even the crime itself. They include disposal of the body, clipping victim’s fingernails or removing their teeth or fingers to prevent identification, cleaning up the blood at the scene, picking up shell casings—essentially anything that changes the visibility, location, or nature of the evidence.

And now you and I have both learned something new today!

(Fact above attributed to the textbook, ‘Criminal Profiling, Fourth Edition’)

How Do We Get Justice?

Photo by Sora Shimazaki on Pexels.com

Justice:

noun. the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness: to uphold the justice of a cause. … the maintenance or administration of what is just by law, as by judicial or other proceedings.

Justice is a concept on ethics and law that means that people behave in a way that is fair, equal and balanced for everyone.

Most of us expect our fellow men & women to conduct themselves in a way that is fair and equal to everyone. Expectations like that range from “don’t take my stuff out of my yard, because it’s not yours” to “don’t let your dog roam free so it can bully my dog in my yard”. Going a bit further, we expect that those who do not follow the law will be dealt with by the justice system of the land, learn their lesson and refrain from repeating their actions. But we are so frequently proven wrong.

Politicians, big business, drug dealers and even my neighbour somehow are allowed to carry on as they always have, believing they are right in their actions – that they’re doing nothing wrong – and everyone else be damned.

So it’s no surprise that specific genres in the entertainment world are so attractive to those who no longer have faith in their justice systems. Mystery novels and short stories allow both writers and readers to live for a time in a world where bad guys (and gals) get their just desserts. They are apprehended and forced to pay the consequences of their misdeeds. Westerns, too, fill this need. Now, those two genres split off into sub-genres, but they fill one driving need – to see justice done. To see murderers caught, to see drug dealers captured and put away behind bars, to see extortionists, thugs, car thieves, rapists and con-men all stopped and forced to face justice.

But we all know modern life isn’t that simple. Our justice system (in any country) is not perfect. Not all the criminals are caught, not all are handed down punishments stiff enough to be a true deterrent from a life of crime. It has been said that in North America, we have more drug users behind bars than people convicted of hard crime. That may be true. If it is, then we are forced to admit that our justice system is falling off a horse of its own making. It is in a downward trajectory, and we mere mortals are powerless to fix it.

I believe that fiction has a role to play here.

Fiction can allow us to escape to a world where the bad guy is eventually caught, after a thrilling, nail-biting chase riddled with danger. Whether justice is delivered by a bounty hunter on the back of a horse in the desert or delivered by a cop that always gets his man…we read to find the justice we don’t always see in real life.

I think that’s why I write the stories I do. Because I want to see the bad guys get caught too. And in my stories, I have far more control than I do over my neighbour who lets her dog roam and bully my dog.

In my stories, the criminals are always caught. They always face justice, and it is always more than a slap on the wrist and an admonishment to live a better life.

Come and join me in my stories. While you’re at it, sign up for my newsletter and don’t miss out on subscriber-only perks, story updates, character reveals and more!

Where Not To Take A Break!

Photo by Nothing Ahead on Pexels.com

As a writer of mysteries, and someone who wonders about strange things in general, I’ve often taken note of odd places that might be good places to hide bodies. In years past, I worked in a convenience store, and I have to admit, never once did I ever look at the space between a cooler and a wall and think of hiding a body there.

In 2019, when workers moved some coolers away from the wall of a defunct No Frills Supermarket location in Council Bluffs, Iowa, they found the body of Larry Ely Murillo-Moncada. The 25-year-old, who had worked at the supermarket, had gone missing nearly 10 years earlier. It was suspected that he had climbed atop the coolers—a concealed storage space frequented by workers during unsanctioned breaks—and fallen into the 18-inch space between the coolers and the wall. Murillo-Moncada hadn’t been scheduled for a shift at the time, so the other employees may not have known that he entered the store at all; and authorities believed the loud noise of the coolers blocked out any shouts for help.

I’ll admit, I’ll never look at the coolers in my grocery store in quite the same way ever again.