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Visiting Detective Ava Logan – “Crime in Appalachia”

 

VisDetAvaSmokies

It’s no secret that Sheila and I like to take a week here and there and see the sights around this great country of ours. This past Fall, we took the scenic route through the Great Smoky Mountains (part of the Appalachian range) to see the North Carolina cousins. I know, really long way around from the New York area, but the weather was great and it was a “why not?” kind of week.

 

The scenery was breathtaking and we pulled over lots of times to take pictures and soak it all in. When we finally left the Smokies, we stopped at a little spot called Minnie’s Diner in Jackson Creek, North Carolina. The parking lot was packed, but that’s usually a good sign, and we looked forward to mouth-watering, down-home cooking.

 

As we waited for the waitress to lead us to the only open booth, another couple came in behind us. She grabbed two menus from the counter for us, and spoke to the couple in typical small-town fashion. “Sheriff. Ava. Y’all doing okay?”

 

I glanced at the guy—long sleeve black shirt, rugby-type, tucked into black utility pants, a round patch on the shirt front reading Jackson County Sheriff. Below that, a bar with G. Ridge inscribed.

 

“Doing good,” he answered the waitress for both of them. “Looks like it’s standing room only today.”

 

“The wait shouldn’t be too long.”

 

The waitress turned to lead me and Sheila to the booth, but I stopped and turned toward the couple. The badge meant he was okay with me. “Want to join us?” They looked surprised, but agreed right away.

 

We all slid into the booth – Ridge and Ava sitting across from us – and introduced ourselves. Ava and Ridge lived in the next town.

 

I’ll let Ava Logan tell their story.

 

*****

 

“So let me get this straight,” Charlie said, wagging a finger between Ridge and me. “You’re the sheriff, and you’re the publisher of the town newspaper?”

 

“Yes,” we both answered.


Charlie nodded and asked, “Does it ever cause a problem?”

 

“Not at all.” I must have answered too quickly because Ridge jerked his head around to glare at me. “Maybe. Sometimes,” I conceded.

 

While Ridge and Charlie talked shop, Sheila and I chatted about their trip through the mountains. Born and raised in western North Carolina, I love hearing others’ take on my part of the Appalachians. I smiled and declared that the scenic beauty is matched only by the people who called these hills and hollows home.

 Highway-SmokiesIMG_3611

Although engaged in conversation with Sheila, I couldn’t help but overhear Charlie ask, “So how many residents are there in Jackson Creek?”

 

“4,327,” I answered. A hot blush crept up my cheeks as the Kerrians and Ridge looked at me like I always went around spouting random numbers. I mumbled a clarification, “Jackson Creek proper. I’m not sure about Jackson County.” Somewhere near the fifty-thousand range, but it was Ridge’s county. I thought he might want to answer.

 

The corner of Ridge’s mouth arched upward in a slight grin. He turned back to Charlie. “Fifty-three thousand. Jackson Creek is the county seat. I’m sure that’s a lot smaller than what you’re used to.”

 

Charlie answered with a smile, then turned to me. “Is there enough news in a town of four thousand to sustain a newspaper?”

 

“Oh, yeah. We do a lot of human interest features. And the occasional crime wave public service announcement.”

 

He and Sheila laughed. Ridge didn’t. He pressed his tongue to the inside of his cheek, a sign I knew all too well. We’d ridden this merry-go-round before. We rode it every day. The Jackson County Sheriff’s Department wasn’t large enough to hire a media liaison so as Sheriff, Ridge filled that role. He was quick to feed me information when he needed to get the word out, and got especially tight-lipped when he didn’t want the press involved.

 

To be fair, Ridge was a good sheriff. And the fact that extracting information from him was like pulling the proverbial teeth, probably made him an even better one. It did make my job more difficult, though. And, sometimes caused me to do a little detecting in search of the facts behind the crimes.

 

“Don’t get me wrong,” I said, spitting the words out like I was in a hurry to defend him, or explain my earlier words. “We had a rash of car break-ins a few weeks ago and I was happy to put a warning out to residents. And we always have ginseng poaching that sometimes gets out-of-hand. And of course, the…occasional murder.”

 

VisDetAvaBloodyFootprint

I stared at the trail of condensation snaking its way down my water glass, remembering every detail of that recent murder, the scene stamped into my brain forever. The victim had been a good friend. It was hard to forget, no matter how many times I’d tried, when you were the one to find the body. I’d never in my life been more glad to have a conversation interrupted by a waitress delivering food.

 

“So, Charlie,” I said, diving into a chicken wrap. “How’d you like the Smokies?” 

 

“Wait!” He and Sheila chimed in together. Charlie laughed, “You can’t leave us hanging like that! What poaching? What murder? Tell me no lies!”

 

VisDetAvaGinseng

“The poaching was a big deal around here!” I launched into my tale, but left out a few details about the danger we were all in, knowing that Ridge was still not happy about how that had played out. Charlie shook his head. “That’s a case we’d never get in the city.” The waitress delivered some warm apple pie and Charlie nudged, “Tell us about the murder. Don’t leave anything out.”

 

I glanced at Ridge, not at all sure he wanted to talk about that case. Yup, he was scowling. I quickly changed the subject and we continued our lunch over more pleasant conversation, laughter, and a promise to keep in touch. I had no doubt we would.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

VisitingDetLynnChandlerWillis6-16Shoot

Lynn Chandler Willis created the newspaper owner Ava Logan character, based in no small part on her own experience in the news biz. “Tell Me No Lies,” the first in the series, will debut in February, 2017, and will explain all about the ginseng poaching as well as the murder, and Ava Logan’s part in both.   🙂

 

Book Cover - Tell Me No Lies                                                                        Amazon link

 

Take a look at www.lynnchandlerwillis.com for updates about the series and Ms. Willis’ other work.

 

Ms. Willis’ Facebook Author Page

 

*Photo credits:

 Smokies, Ginseng, Footprint – Google

 Lynn Chandler Willis, Blue Ridge Highway – Patti Phillips

 

 

 

 

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Visiting Detective Becki Green – “Mediterranean Potato Salad”

 

VisitingDetectiveBGMeditPotSalad copy

Remember Becki Green, the Visiting Detective that brought us the yummy brownies and then gave us the recipe? She and her sleuthing partner, Gina Monroe, took a few days off after solving their latest case and stopped in to say hello. We chatted about the success of the first book they co-wrote, “A Purse to Die For,” a really fun mystery, and the newly released second book, “A Killer Necklace,” even better than the first. Then we switched to another topic dear to Becki’s heart.

 

Becki is a vegetarian (no meat, fish or chicken in the diet and sometimes no milk or eggs) and is working toward becoming a vegan (no milk or eggs at all, not even as an ingredient in a dish). She has a great website that showcases her favorite vegetarian recipes, www.vegetariandetective.blogspot.com

 

Here’s Becki, making veggie food fun:

“I think eating veggie is mainstream these days. Everyone knows that it’s good for health, great for the environment and AWESOME for animals. My goal is to glam it up!”

 

Mediterranean Potato Salad

(No mayonnaise, no eggs, ultra-safe to take on picnics, and vibrant with fresh, summer-garden herbs.

Ingredients:
24 baby red potatoes, the larger ones halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
salt
pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint

 

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Spread the potatoes on a 9″ X 13″ pan.

Drizzle with the olive oil and toss to coat the potatoes.

Roast for 30 min. (If it’s way too hot outside to want to turn on your oven, or you want to speed up the process, prick the potatoes with a fork and microwave them in a covered casserole dish for 10 min. on high, stirring at intervals, then drain and continue as below, except you probably don’t have to transfer the potatoes to a large bowl.)

Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl and sprinkle with the lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste.
Let cool.
Toss in the rest of the ingredients and chill.

Serves 4-8.

 

Trust me. Sheila and I wouldn’t steer you wrong about food. This one is a keeper. 😀

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Thanks to Cynthia St-Pierre for stopping by, the real-life good friend and writer who has been educating me about the values of going vegan. Don’t forget to check out her two mysteries, co-written with Melodie Campbell. You’ll find hi-fashion, a little vegetarian chat, some romance, and great mysteries to solve.

VisitingDetectiveBeckiGreenCYNTHIA 2015

CYNTHIA ST-PIERRE

vegetariandetective.blogspot.com

fashionationwithmystery.com

twitter.com/stpierrecynthia

google.com/+CynthiaStPierre

Member, Crime Writers of Canada and

International Thriller Writers

 

VisitingDetectiveBG-A Purse to Die For

http://viewBook.at/B008IKA022

 

VisitingDetectiveBG-A Killer Necklace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://getBook.at/B0161QKW2C

 

 

 

 

Photos and cover images: courtesy of Cynthia St-Pierre.

 

 

 

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Visiting Detective Lexi Sobado – “Every Day Carry (EDC) for Police”

 

VisitingDetective-LexiPuzzle

Lexi Sobado and I crossed professional paths again while I was working a case that required a bit of psychic know-how. Lexi grew up in Washington D.C. and has special out-of-the-box thinking that earned her a job as a Puzzler for Iniquus. She solves the crimes that put American interests at risk. Known as Lynx on the job, Lexi works with a team, Strike Force, led by the man in Lexi’s life, Striker Rheas.

 

She had come up from D.C. on a case of her own and Sheila and I put her up for the night. We laughed, shared the usual war stories of law enforcement – the “my gal was badder than your guy” kind. And, then we talked shop for a bit.

 

My police department was stuck. We couldn’t find a suspect and the trail had run cold. We had solid evidence pointing to him, but he got away before we could arrest him. The case involved a missing husband worth big bucks, ransom money and a frantic family. Enter Lexi. In between munching on one of Sheila’s chocolate muffins, Lexi redirected my thinking on the husband. I’m happy to say that we found the hubby less than a day later. Turns out that the husband was running a scam and wasn’t missing at all. He was hiding out with his new girlfriend and the suspect we had been chasing was in on it. What a pair of bums! I doubt that the wife will be weeping for him while he does his stint in prison.

 

Lexi has been following Kerrian’s Notebook and she pointed out that I’ve never posted the basic gear that a cop carries around. My bad. So here is Lexi’s contribution to the site. Thanks, Lexi, for filling in a gap for us. 🙂

 

Duty Belt

Disadvantages

  • Weight – upward of 30 lbs. (think one-year-old baby) many of the belts are made of leather, though modern uniforms often use nylon to be lighter and washable (think body fluids). 
  • Gravity – with all of that weight, the belt wants to slip down. “Belt keepers” circle the duty belt sometimes referred to as a Sam Browne, to hold it snugly to the officer’s dress belt. These are snapped into place.

Advantage – 

  • Having equipment at the handy.

Typical EDC (every day carry)

  • Pepper Spray
  • Semi-automatic pistol in a security holster
  • Magazines (clips)  
  • Phone
  • Flashlight
  • Mini-flashlight (typical preparedness saying “One is none and Two is one.”)
  • Asp
  • Portable radio
  • Taser
  • Handcuffs 
  • Handcuff keys
  • Zip ties
  • Glove pouch (latex)
  • Bullet resistant vest (required by some jurisdictions adds about 5 lbs to the already 10-15 lb duty belt)
  • By individual discretion – back up gun (police personal gun often in an ankle holster)
  • By individual discretion knife/utility tool such as a Swiss Army knife or Leatherman.
  • By individual discretion a kubotan

 

The Patrol Vehicle

CruiserInteriorDSC_2259

 

  • Mode of transportation
  • Mobile office
  • Equipment storage

 

 CruiserInteriorComputerDSC_2255_2

 

 

Modifications might include:

CruiserInteriorShotgunDSC_2258

  • Push bumpers 
  • Rifle mounts
  • Prisoner partitions
  • Specialized locking systems
  • Wiring systems which support the add ons
  • Hidden lighting systems
  • Bar lights
  • Weapons lockboxes
  • Camera equipment
  • Sirens
  • Radio equipment
  • Computer terminals (called MDT for Mobile Data Terminal)
  • For officer safety, the light that usually comes on when opening the door is often disconnected.

 

In the Trunk of the Patrol Vehicle:

  • Fire extinguishers
  • First Aid Kit
  • Shotgun 
  • Gas mask/protective suit
  • AEDs or Automatic External Defibrillator (at around $1200 these are slow to getting in each vehicle)
  • Traffic cones
  • Flares
  • Flotation devices
  • Rechargeable flashlight
  • Snow chains

 

Other Equipment might include:

  • Radar 
  • Alco-Sensor (for initial analysis of blood alcohol levels)
  • Tint meter
  • Ballistic shield
  • Pepperball gun – this shoots round pellets (like paintball pellets) filled with a powder form of pepper spray. Shot at the feet the powder will spray up to disperse a crowd; hit in the chest of an aggressor or suicidal person it gives the officers time to take non-lethal action.

 

Thanks, Lexi! Have a safe trip home. Don’t eat all the muffins at once. 😉

 ~~~~~~~

Many thanks to Fiona Quinn for visiting with us again at Kerrian’s Notebook and sharing the great list of every day equipment a law enforcement officer might use. She’s one of our favorite people, so please check out her website, connect with her on social media, and buy her books.  🙂FionaQuinnFiona Quinn is the creator of the Lynx Series, featuring Lexi Sobado.

VisitingDetectiveLexi4Books

Fiona Quinn Books

Fiona Quinn writes Smart Sexy Suspense.

The series is available on Amazon, along with the other books and short stories she has written.

Please visit http://www.fionaquinnbooks.com/ for more information about Fiona.

Her fascinating blog can be found at www.thrillwriting.blogspot.com

Want to connect on Twitter? @fionaquinnbooks

 

*Photo credits:

Patti Phillips – interior cruiser shots

Wikipedia and Fiona’s website – all others

 

 

 

 

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