from Force of Habit
by Marian Allen Allow me to introduce Pel Darzin of the Meadow of Flowers District constabulary in Council City, the capital city of the planet Llannonn. Council City is the Central City of the Meadow of Flowers District. Down these mean streets--well, a bit mean, but not too mean, because the Llannonninn are courteous people--walks this man. Darzin came up through the ranks from constable and knows his city and his district inside and out.
District Criminal Investigator Darzin, tell us about this case. What made it so special?
The special thing about this case was how convoluted it appeared, and how simple it actually was, once I saw through to the one, all-important fact at the heart of it. There were these aliens from outer space, you see, and then there were these other aliens from outer space. And the second aliens saved one of our people from the first aliens, although first one of the second aliens put her in greater jeopardy. Bookkeeper Freldt Saymak of
Jok'rel's Traveler's Rest Inn, called to report that Gord Pron, an enforcer for a well-known Stokk criminal, was extorting her to cook her boss' books. I arranged to meet her and listen in while she maneuvered him into repeating his plot. But, before I got there, a party of Terrans -- well, mostly Terrans -- came to Jok'rel's for shore leave, and the rest is history. Some say Professor Isobel Schuster changed places with Freldt Saymak by chance, but I know better. What made the case hard to solve?
All the aliens. And, of course, all the criminals. There was the Stokk Gord Pron and boss and his henchman, there was a member of our own Grand Council working with Pron's boss, there was a Terran con man named Connell Morgan and, technically, myself. Frankly, Communications Commissioner Darlla Bute didn't make matters any easier. We joke about that now.Did anyone outside of the police department help you solve this case?
Oh, yes. Oh, my, yes. The Irregulars were invaluable, as always. I understand your own Sherlock Holmes had his own Irregulars, is that right? I'd like to compare notes with him some day. The crew and teaching staff of the Space Academy training ship St. Gregory the Wonderworker
were invaluable allies; we were all very impressed. And, of course, the
mysterious Bel. This is Bel's story, really, you know. I'm humbled and proud to have played my part.Has this case affected your personal life in any way?
Professionally, which is closely related to my personal life, I feel much more comfortable dealing with Terrans, which has boosted my career. Although we have a variety of aliens from outer space on Llannonn, the Terran mind is the most difficult for us to fathom. Terrans are much more complex than we give them credit for being. Too many of us give up and simply treat them as if they were insane, which is a mistake. An understandable
mistake, but a mistake. When I get what you would call my twenty years' service in, I plan to retire to the rural part of the Meadow of Flowers District and raise pratties. I couldn't afford that, if it hadn't been for the salary advancement and Terran/Llannonninn liaison fees this case instigated for me.Thank you for being with us today, District Criminal Investigator Darzin. I wish you the best as you fight crime in outer space.
lives in rural Indiana. For as long as she can remember, she has loved telling and being told stories. Allen has had stories in on-line and print publications, on
coffee cans and the wall of an Indian restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky. Force of Habit
is her second book. For more information on her or any of her books visit her website at Marian Allen - Fantasies, Mysteries, Comedies, Recipes
or her Facebook Author page Marian Allen Author
. A short story also featuring Pel Darzin is free atSmashwords
from Jambalaya Justice
by Holli Castillo We have with us today Anthony Chapetti, Shep to his friends, a detective in the Special Investigations Division in the Sixth District of the New Orleans Police Department. For the last few years, he's worked homicides, except for a recent identity theft. Also joining us is Detective Monte Carlson, also of the Sixth District SID. While the other SID detectives focus primarily on homicides, Monte has an ear to the street and deals with narcotics, conducting undercover drug buys.
Shep, tell us about this case.
This case was big because it involved the captain’s daughter, a prosecutor named Ryan Murphy, who also happens to be my girlfriend. Someone was writing checks from the account of one of Ryan’s friends, another prosecutor who was presumed dead a few months ago. Everyone thinks the girl was murdered, but her body was never found,
complicating what might have been an ordinary NSF check case. While I don’t necessarily believe she’s still alive, I do know one hundred percent that dead people don’t write checks. Monte, what made the case so special?
Dawg, they all pretty special. At first, this one wasn’t nothing but me waiting around for some big-time dealer about to drop a bunch of Ecstasy. The deal was going down at the Marquis de Sade, a club in a neighborhood where some hookers had been murdered, and the dealer kept putting me off. This case got personal when Ryan showed up at the club, looking for somebody who might know a little something-something about the murders. She was tight with one of the vics, and it had her kind of messed up. Meanwhile, she’s keeping all this from Chapetti, which tells me things ain’t as great with the two of them as he might want folks to believe, especially me. The truth is, if Ryan’s daddy, our captain, didn’t get a say in who she settles down with, she’d probably be with me. But my light skin ain’t light enough for the captain, who can’t get past the fact that I’m black and not
Catholic. Captain’s strictly old school. Not that it stopped Ryan in the past. She’s been known to break a rule or two--when it suits her. What made the case hard to solve? Shep:
There were a few things. I was always one step behind, and the information I was getting didn’t clear things up in the least. None of the store clerks could give me a solid identification either. But the biggest hindrance was I had to work with a partner, Nina, a woman I had an extremely brief relationship with--one night-- a long time ago, way before Ryan. The D.A. and the captain thought it was a good idea for the two of us to work the case together. Nina was a D.A. investigator in the economic crimes unit, and made my life difficult every step of the way on this investigation. Plus I think she might have been hitting on me, trying to get back together. And then there was the captain, who didn’t want Ryan knowing anything about the case. I wasn’t comfortable lying to Ryan, but I have to follow Captain Murphy’s orders. I also had to keep working my regular homicides the whole time, which left me little time for anything else. And people were talking about my late hours with Nina. When it looked like there was a chance Ryan could be in danger, I had to make a choice between what the captain wanted and what I thought was the right thing to do. It didn’t go well. Monte:
My dealer wouldn’t show. I never met the dude up close and personal before, so I didn’t even know who to look for. Every dealer nowadays has a prepaid cell phone they text with, ‘cause they think it’s less likely they gonna be caught if they text about the deal
instead of meet face to face or talk on the phone. Then there was Ryan, all up in my grill at the club at night. She was cool and all and didn’t blow my cover, but I had to watch her back while I was trying to set up my deal and bust the dealer. That girl’s a firecracker, and if somebody loses trouble, she’ll be the one to find it. And no way I was
letting anything bad happen to her. I’d kill my deal first. And it ain’t because her daddy’s my boss. I thought I had everything under control when just as my deal was about to go down, it all hit the fan and things went south like you wouldn’t believe. Did anyone else help you solve this case? Shep:
Not really. Nina only slowed me down and made my job harder. She was a political hire, and had no investigative experience, so she was constantly screwing things up. Sometimes I think she messed up on purpose, just to spite me. I think she would have sold her soul to the devil to solve the case before me, which was never going to happen. It seemed most of the tips I got just led to more paperwork, and more trouble from Nina. Give me a good gang or drug murder any day of the week. Monte:
I ain’t a big fan of relying on other po-po to do my job. Sometimes, decisions gotta be made that ain’t exactly in keeping with department policies, and I don’t need nobody looking over my shoulder when I’m in the decision-making process. I did have backup outside, not my choice, and they just ended up getting in my way, stopping me from doing what I really wanted to do to my suspect when the time came. Lucky for him. I got a serious problem with anyone who gets his jollies hurting women. Shep, has this case affected your personal life in any way?
Big time. Just when I thought the case was solved and the danger was over, my worst
fear came true. By the end, there were more than a few dead bodies. Things aren’t going to be the same for a lot of people, including me. What about you, Monte? Has this affected your personal life?
I’m ‘a have to pass on that one for now, dawg. I guess we’ll see. Thank you, Shep and Monte, for being with us today. We wish you well with your cases and hope you can keep Ryan from finding any more trouble. Holli Castillo
is an appellate public defender and former New Orleans prosecutor. Jambalaya Justice,
the second in the Crescent City Mystery series, is scheduled for release July, 2011 by Oak Tree Press. For more information or to contact her, please visit www.hollicastillo.com
, or www.jambalayajustice.com
introduced in One Foot on the Edge
and still having plenty to say in Two Feet Below by C.K. Crigger Sgt. Lars Hansen has a lot of seniority in the Spokane Police Department. He’s as rough and tough as the wide open town allows, and is in close contact with the seedier types that populate Spokane’s tenderloin district. Word is he’s always interested in a pretty woman, and if she happens to be acquainted with his nemesis, P.I. Gratton Doyle, so much the better.
Tell us about this case, Sgt. Hansen.
The first I knew there even was a case is when China Bohannon slipped up and told me a feller named Jett Etter had backed her into a corner. Jett Etter?
He’s a no-good outta Missoula and not somebody a lady like China wants to meet--ever. See, thats what comes of her working for Doyle & Howe Investigations. I don’t like it. I don’t like Gratton Doyle, either, butting his nose in whenever I try to talk to China. I know he’s told her things about me...What kind of things?
Things like that little set-to regarding the working girls at Mama Jane’s Pleasure Palace, but let's don't talk about that right now. So what happened?
When I heard China had been tossed over the side of the steamboat “Georgie Oakes” into Coeur d’Alene Lake, it got my dander up. I mean, what man in his right mind would go after a little lady like her, though she does have a tendency to pry into affairs that’re none of her concern. I’ve warned her, but she doesn’t listen. Did you find this case hard to solve?
Well, I had nothing to do with solving this case, a murder nobody told me about. It all added up to China Bohannon and the Doyle & Howe Investigations boys. About all I got to do this time is keep my eyes and ears open for Etter and his pal, McNally. When China says McNally took a shot at her, I got no reason to doubt her word. Anyways, he’s from Idaho. Idaho men don’t come into my
town and threaten my
folks without asking permission. I don’t care who they are. Has this case affected your personal life in any way?
I don’t want this nosed around, but China caught me coming out of Levi Krau’s grocery store (yeah,all right, so there’s a “rooming house” on the second floor) and I could see she thought something was going on in there. Doyle’s fault. He’s told her too much. Looks like I got my work cut out, getting back on her good side. I’ll have to do her a “favor” one
of these days. The trouble she gets into, it shouldn’t be too hard.Thank you, Sgt. Hansen for being with us today. I wish you luck in getting back on China's good side.
is the author of eleven published books with more on the way. Several of her short stories have been included in various anthologies. She lives with her husband and three feisty little dogs in beautiful eastern Washington, and manages to include the area in her books. Two Feet Below
, the second book of the China Bohannon series, was released in March and is available for order through any bookstore ormost online booksellers. Send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
, explore her website at www.ckcrigger.com
and discover more about China Bohannon and the 1890s at http://twofeetbelow.blogspot.com