From:Cover of Snow
Milchman You are different from many of the cops I have interviewed. Please tell us about yourself.
I never wanted to be a cop. How many guys do you know who want to be the same thing as their father? Well, maybe some do, guys who look up to the old man, want to be just like him. I wish I were one of them, but I’m not. Nobody looked up to my father, so how was I supposed to? I was all set to go to law school, but then I met Nora. And something in her called me home. I didn’t want the two of us to keep on living our big city life, her helping to put me through law school, and then me working seventy hours a week in an office and never even seeing her. It wasn’t exactly a conscious decision on my part to
return to Wedeskyull, or join the force where my dad served his twenty before he died. Like I said, something called me home. How did you become involved in this case?
Here’s where things get weird. I’m not involved in this case. Because I’m dead. The case is what happened to me—and Nora, though she isn’t a cop, is the only person who has a chance to solve it, because she’s the only one who’s willing to face the truth. Tell us about this case.
Something bad happened on January 16th , bad enough that I don’t think I ever really looked up after that again. The following week passed in a way I didn’t know time could go. Just—unnoticed. I must’ve eaten, I must’ve drank, dressed, breathed. But I don’t remember doing any of it. I can’t imagine what Nora thought. I felt like was wrapped up in blankets. I couldn’t figure out why everyone kept talking to me. Didn’t they know I was already gone?
I’m not sure if Nora’s going to be able to figure out what happened on the 16th. She’s still stumbling around a lot farther in the past than that, trying to learn a secret I was never able to tell her. If she can’t find out about what happened to me when I was eleven, she’ll never be able to figure out this more recent crime.
No one besides me knows the whole truth. And I’m dead. Was there ever a time during this case that you doubted those that you normally trust?
I trust Nora more than I’ve ever trusted anyone else in my life. But the rest of them? I don’t trust a single one. And neither should you. How dangerous was it to solve this case?
If I hadn’t died, I think they would’ve killed me. Did working on this case affect you emotionally?
This case was all about emotion. See, I did something really bad when I was eleven years old. Something unforgivable. My own parents never forgave me for it—my mother anyway—so you know it must be as bad as anything could get. But I was able to get past it the way cops survive any bad day on the job. You take what happened and you put it in a box. You padlock that box and then you forget the combination. Any cop worth his salt has a hundred boxes like that. A thousand.
So that’s what I did. And I was surviving okay. I had a good life, in fact. I loved my wife, even if I couldn’t give her the one thing she wanted most. I was better on the job than I ever would’ve been doing something else.
And then something happened, on that January day, and it didn’t matter if I’d forgotten the combination, someone took a big ole hacksaw and split open the box. And what was inside killed me. How did this case affect your personal life?
My personal life? My life you mean. My whole life. I lost it. I appreciate you being with us today. I have one more question. (He leaves) Please come back. What was in the box? Jenny Milchman
is a suspense novelist from New Jersey whose short stories have appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine’s
Department of First Stories, Adirondack Mysteries II,
and in an e-published volume called Lunch Reads
. Jenny is the founder of Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day, and the chair of International Thriller Writers’ Debut Authors Program. Her first novel, Cover of Snow
, is published by Ballantine and
available everywhere books are sold. When Cover of Snow
comes out, Jenny is embarking on a six month tour with her family, town-to-town, bookstore-to-bookstore, library-to-library, and other venues that readers will enjoy. Please check her website http://jennymilchman.com/tour/
for places to come meet Jenny—and her cop.
From the book Cold Feet
By Karen Pullen We are honored to have with us today Stella Lavendar from the State Bureau of Investigation in North Carolina. Stella, tell us about yourself.
I’m a professional shopper, for drugs. In the market for coke, crack, smack, pot, ice, and pills. If you’re selling, I’m buying, and recording each transaction on video or voice. Later you’ll be visited by an arresting team, and you’d better lawyer up, agree to a plea deal, or join us–we can always use a cooperative informant. My employer is the state of North Carolina, the State Bureau of Investigation. I joined the SBI out of college, after I graduated with a BS in criminal justice, four years ago. I always wanted to be a cop, because of what happened to my mother. What happened to your mother?
When I was five, she went into a gas station to pay and intercepted a robbery. An
attendant was murdered and mom was abducted, never found. I became obsessed with
cold cases and the criminal justice system. For years I kept notebooks of murders and investigations and trials. I’ve promised my grandmother Fern that I’d find out what happened to my mother, some day. After your mother died, who raised you?
Fern. She is an artist, miserably poor, but she has a lot–I mean a lot–of boyfriends who take her out to dinner, do chores around her falling-down farmhouse, treat her to mini-vacations in charming B&Bs. She is light-hearted, amusing, and sexy. How did you become involved in this case?
Fern and I went to a wedding. We sat with the other guests on the lawn of this fake Scottish castle bed & breakfast, just waiting and waiting for the bride to walk down the aisle. After observing a kerfuffle between a bridesmaid and the innkeeper, I followed them inside to the bride’s bedroom. She was dead, her body contorted, and I suspected
poison. The investigating detective asked for my help because many of the people involved in the wedding were related to the local police. Once I had my boss’s permission, I was free to work on the case, though I had to continue doing my night job buying drugs. Tell us about this case.
The timing was curious. Did someone get cold feet and want to prevent the wedding? We were interested in the groom, of course. He swore that Justine was an angel and
couldn’t possibly have had any enemies. Well, Justine may have been a lovely person but a number of people were not happy with her. One guest had lost his job after a brief affair with her. The groom’s ex-girlfriend obsessively stalked him and crashed the wedding. An angry couple blamed their daughter’s disabilities on Justine, as the midwife present at the baby’s birth. And then it turned out that Justine’s past was very different from what one would assume. She’d kept it secret, or had she? Who knew? Was there ever a time during this case that you doubted those that you normally trust?
My grandmother Fern’s motives are mixed where men are concerned. When her new boyfriend turned out to be a drug dealer, she wasn’t sure whether to believe me when I told her he was dangerous. I could only tell her so much, because any involvement was unsafe for her and me. How dangerous was it to solve this case?
In my final encounter with Justine’s murderer, I nearly lost my own life while saving a witness. Furthermore, since I was concurrently working as a drug agent, physical danger was a continued possibility. After selling me a kilo of coke, a paranoid dealer evaded arrest and came looking for me. Good times. Did working on this case affect you emotionally?
On many levels. It was my first homicide case and I wanted to solve it to prove myself. It brought back memories of my mother’s presumed death, and wanting to bring solace to Fern. The danger to Fern – my only living relative – was real. Finally, the whole issue of marriage continued to churn around in my psyche. Neither my mother nor Fern married, but I had just been dumped by my fiancé Hogan in the midst of planning my own wedding. To make matters worse, I had to work on this case with Hogan, who is a fine SBI researcher. How did this case affect your personal life?
I sleep with my dog Merle while my grandmother has all the fun, though I developed a major crush on the investigating detective who is married and therefore off-limits. Working with Hogan, a serial cheater who hadn’t quite given me up, was challenging. It was an effort to remain professional.
Will you ever become a full-time homicide investigator?
Yes, tomorrow would be my preference, but my SBI boss wants me to keep buying drugs. He says I’m good at it because I don’t look like a cop. Yay for me. What do you do in your spare time?
During this case, I had none, because I had to fit the murder investigation around my regular assignment as a drug agent. I try to visit Fern a few times a week to make sure her house hasn’t fallen down yet, and go for a slow jog with my dog Merle. Guess that sounds boring, but after my workday, boring is just the ticket. Thank you for being with us today. Good luck with the …drug buying. Be sure and give Merle a treat for letting you visit with us. Karen Pullen
left a perfectly good job at an engineering consulting firm for more creative endeavors as an innkeeper and a fiction writer. Her B&B has been open for 12 years, and her fiction has been published in Every Day Fiction
, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine
, and Spinetingler
. She earned an MFA from the Stonecoast program at the University of Southern Maine on beautiful Casco Bay. She lives in Pittsboro NC. Cold
is her first novel. She blogs at her website, www.karenpullen.com
where you can
also find details on a contest to win a weekend at Rosemary House B&B
(imagine spending a weekend in a cute artsy town and two nights in a charming historic B&B, an airjet tub for two, flickering fireplace, eggs Benedict and strawberry-topped Belgian waffles for breakfast). Cold Feet
will be published in January 2013. It’s currently available for pre-order at bookstores and online retail outlets, and should be on the street in early February.
from Blonde Demolition
by Chris Redding Trey McCrane is an agent for the Department of Homeland Security. He’s been an agent for ten years. He joined after he left a stint in the army. He was Special Forces, mostly black ops.
Agent McCrane, tell us about this case. What made it so special?
This case is special because we’ve already tried to take out this bad guy. This is the reason I’m trying to get my old partner, Mallory Sage, to come back. We have to finish this case. We left too many loose ends including Paul Stanley still out of jail. What made the case hard to solve?
This time we were on the run and didn’t have DHS as a backup. Did anyone outside of the DHS help you solve this case?
Yes, an old friend and his wife. Stone and Jo gave us a place to stay. They helped us with surveillance and helped us obtain weapons. We could not have broken this case without them. Has this case affected your personal life in any way?
Mallory was initially not happy to see me, but we’ve been able to work out our differences. I’ve made some changes in my work. How is Mallory as a partner?
She’s the best partner I’ve ever had. I could not wait to bring her back into DHS. She’s smart and tough and she seems to know what I’m thinking before I do. I’d go through a door with her any day.Thank you for being with us today and for the work you do with the Department of Homeland Security.
Thanks for having me. Chris Redding
lives in New Jersey with her husband, two kids, one dog and three rabbits. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. When she isn’t writing she works part time at her local hospital. Blonde Demolition
was released in electronic form November 15. It is her sixth book published all of which are romantic suspense. You can purchase Blonde Demolition
at Amazon, Smashwords or Barnes and Noble. You can find her on the web: www.chrisreddingauthor.com
from The Vampire Shrink
by Lynda Hilburn FBI Special Agent Alan Stevens has been on the case of "the vampire murders" for months, following a bloody trail across the country. In addition to indulging his irreverent, curious nature, he has a unique -- secret -- reason for being so obsessed with the crimes.
Alan, how and why did you and the FBI get involved in this case?
I actually brought the "vampire murders" to the attention of my bosses at the FBI. They're used to my unusual interests, so at first they dismissed my story. Of course, they're all thinking the killer is human -- a "normal" serial killer. After the bodies began to pile up, they finally sent me out to investigate. My task is to work with the local police in each jurisdiction and to offer my assistance. To tie the cases together. I never tell anyone what I really think is going on. They wouldn't believe me, anyway.
Tell us about this case. What made it so special? You probably know that the FBI deals with serial killers quite often. More often than the public knows about. The special thing about these "vampire" murders was the fact that the bodies were drained of blood. Totally. And there were those strange, little holes in the victims' necks. During my investigation, I stumbled on an informant who blew my mind. His story pushed me into a new investigative direction and brought me to Denver, and a group of individuals who could blast the case wide open. And then there was Dr. Kismet Knight, a Denver psychologist who didn't realize what kind of tiger she had by the tail. She thought she was counseling vampire wannabes-- sad Goth pretenders -- when the truth was much weirder. Lucky for me, she was open to my advice --and my romantic advances.
What made the case hard to solve? It was a combination of the various police jurisdictions not connecting the dots and sharing information, the fact that there was no forensic evidence left behind, and the ability of the individuals involved to keep secrets. In fact, it wasn't until Dr. Knight and I joined forces that the case began to unravel. She has some unique abilities of her own.
Did anyone else help you with your investigation? Yes. I couldn't have done it alone, even though I'm pretty amazing, if I say so myself. In addition to Dr. Knight, I was assisted by the Denver police department, especially Lt. Bullock. She had her own reasons for being a bulldog on the trail. And, then there were my "unnamed sources" in the Goth and occult communities. Without them, I'd have been in the dark.
Has this case affected your personal life in any way? Big time. Now I have verification of something I've long suspected but couldn't prove, and that knowledge is both exciting and terrifying. I have my own personal reasons for wanting to learn about these paranormal groups. Once you've seen things that are "impossible to believe," life is never the same. Meeting Dr. Knight has changed me, too. I don't know what's going to happen with us -- I have heavy-duty competition --but now I know for sure that anything's possible. I also know that no matter how scary our human nightmares might be, reality is worse.
writes paranormal fiction. More specifically, she writes vampire books. After a childhood filled with invisible friends, sightings of dead relatives and a fascination with the occult, turning to the paranormal was a no-brainer. In her other reality, she makes her living as a licensed psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, professional psychic/tarot
reader, university instructor and workshop presenter. Her first novel, The Vampire Shrink
-- which introduced us to Denver Psychologist Kismet Knight and a hidden vampire underworld -- was first released in 2007 and is being re-released (the
rewritten, expanded version) by Quercus Books in 2011 and Sterling Publishing/Silver Oak in 2012. Several more books are planned. Undead in the City
, an erotic paranormal novella, and Diary of a Narcissistic Bloodsucker
, a satire/parody, are now available in e-form from Amazon.com. Her short story, “Blood Song,” is part of the Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance anthology, April, 2009. For more information, visit Lynda’s website: www.lyndahilburnauthor.com