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Visiting Detectives – Sheriff Will Denton

 

 

It’s no secret that I’m a Gettysburg/Civil War buff.  The local bookstore got a new title in, “Last Stand at Bitter Creek,” written by Tom Rizzo, who seems to share my interest in 19th century law enforcement. As I read his tale of a Sheriff back in that era, I began to imagine what it would be like to sit down and chat with that Sheriff about a case.

 

Meet Sheriff Will Denton.

 

 

 

Sheriff Will Denton leaned back in the chair and stretched his legs in front of him, which gave him a little relief from the pain. A constant reminder that no one can outrun a bullet. He flashed a tired smile at Charlie Kerrian, and wondered how many other lawmen, or detectives, sought this man’s counsel.

 

Denton occupied the middle ground between the mid-forties and mid-fifties, his face a pattern of deep lines reflecting his experience and competence. His laid-back demeanor wasn’t accidental. It served the purpose of luring most bad eggs he confronted into a false sense of comfort. He wore his holster low and strapped down, the sign of someone who meant business.

 

“So here’s my problem. I got this railroad detective coming who thinks someone he’s hunting is holed up in my town. But I hear he’s a trigger-happy hothead. I don’t want the folks nervous, scared or edgy in anyway, and I’m trying to figure out how best to handle this.”

 

Kerrian took a sip of coffee from the mug he was holding and swallowed.

 

“From my understanding, Sheriff Denton, you have a reputation of being able to handle anything that comes your way. So, why seek input from me on this particular occasion?”

 

Denton hadn’t realized Kerrian knew anything about him. He admired his thoroughness. “Truth is, I’ve never enjoyed the luxury of talking things out with anyone. The town can’t afford to hire me a deputy. The only ones I ever confide in about anything are Hiram who owns the livery. He does a good job as my unofficial eyes and ears since I spend so much time roamin’ the countryside. And, I share my concerns on occasion with Ms. Brennan, who runs a local tavern.”


Denton, absent-mindedly slid his hand back to the handle of the Peacemaker he wore, making sure the small leather strip at the back of his holster was still looped over the hammer to keep it in place.

 

“I make it a point to learn everything about strangers who visit our fine town—even if they wear a badge,” Denton said. “Hotheads make me nervous. The last one I confronted put a bullet in my thigh.”


“And, what happened to him?”

 

Denton frowned. “He’s pretty much dead.”


“I have a feeling strangers who visit your town don’t stay long, Sheriff.”

 

Denton’s green eyes flickered with amusement. “We’ve had our share of roustabouts with the war ending. I tend to be an impatient sort when it comes to trouble. I figure it’s best to head off a problem rather than fix one. But, just the same, it wouldn’t do me or the town much good to have to shoot Mecklin.” He smiled. “That’s the railroad detective.”

 

Kerrian returned the smile. “Why does this man concern you so much?”

 

“From what I’ve heard, he’s quick to take charge. Prides himself on always getting his man.”

 

“Is that so bad?”

 

“Only when the innocent get in the way. He’s always left a few bodies between him and the man’s he’s hunting. No one has ever called his hand. Seems to have free rein wherever he goes.”

 

“Why?”

 

“It’s all about accommodation. The railroad pretty much calls the shots in small towns like ours. Money talks,” Denton said, lifting his hand to the side of his face and rubbing his thumb back-and-forth against the tips of his four fingers. “If your town’s lucky enough to be touched by the magic wand of the iron rail, it can’t help but grow.”

 

“And?” Kerrian said, squinting at his visitor.

 

“And, if the railroad decides to pull up stakes and leave, bad things happen. Those places just die up. They wither away. Become ghost towns. We fought long and hard to attract the railroad. Mecklin is the lead detective, with a long record of success and he pretty much can do what he wants because he has brought bad people to justice and recovered thousands of dollars in stolen gold.”

 

“What’s your end game, sheriff?”

 

“I don’t want him turned loose to do as he pleases.”

 

“So, don’t let him.”

 

“Easier said than done, Detective Kerrian. The town council has pretty much told me to butt out. Or, if I do butt in, to let Mecklin call the shots and not interfere in a way that puts the town at risk of looking uncooperative in the eyes of the railroad.”

 

Kerrian didn’t say anything, and closed his eyes. Seconds later, he opened one eyelid and squinted, and then opened the second one, seeming to bring Denton into sharp focus. The movement of the eyelids reminded Denton of a couple of windows opening.

 

“My intuition tells me you’re not going to allow Mr. Mecklin to have his way, no matter what the risk. No matter what the consequences.”

 

“Is that your advice?”

 

“You don’t need advice, sheriff. You just needed to hear the words out loud.”

 

A smile played on Will Denton’s lips.

 

“Reckon you’re right about that, Detective. My town. My rules.

 

A door to another room opened, and a gentle-looking woman smiled at Denton, and nodded to her husband, who glanced at his pocket watch.

 

“Will, we’d like you to join us for a home-cooked meal and a glass of sweet tea. And, one of Sheila’s wonderful desserts, of course.  Would you do us the honor?”

 

Denton stood up, unbuckled the gun belt, and draped it over the arm of the chair. 

 

“Best offer I’ve had today, Charlie.”


# # #

Thanks to Will Denton (aka Tom Rizzo) for stopping by Kerrian’s Notebook and giving us a glimpse into the life of a cop from another century. If you have any questions for Tom, please leave them in the comments. Tom posts some great articles about the West, so be sure to look for him online.

 

About the Author:

A passion for 19th century American history, Tom’s debut novel—LAST STAND AT BITTER CREEK—includes several elements of historical fact. The novel was a finalist for the Western Fictioneers Peacemaker Award for Best Western First Novel.

 

His second book is entitled HEROES & ROGUES: THE GOOD & THE BAD OF THE AMERICAN WEST.

 

His writing journey has taken him from radio and television news reporting to the Associated Press, where he worked as a correspondent, followed by several years in advertising and public relations.

 

He grew up in central Ohio, lived in Great Britain for several years, and now calls Houston, Texas, home.

 

Tom is a member of Western Writers of America, Wild West History Association, and Western Fictioneers.

Contact Info

Blog:          http://tomrizzo.com/ 

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/TomRizzoWrites

Twitter:      http://twitter.com/TomRizzoWrites     

Email:       Tom@TomRizzo.com

Phone:       614.607.0949

 

 

 

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Visiting Detectives – Lexi Sobado

 

Detectives from other towns in the county cross paths all the time when they have cases in common or are chasing after a suspect in another jurisdiction. But Lexi is a different breed of detective. She’s not working for a local town at all.  She has more of a national – even international – interest. Years ago I met her while picking up a suspect in D.C. and we clicked right away. She tries to visit whenever a case brings her to New Jersey.

 

Just to give you a little background, Lexi Sobado grew up in Washington D.C. as a homeschooler. Her mentors set Lexi on an unusual path where her out-of-the-box thinking both solves and creates problems for her, and often – too often – saves her life. Lexi, known on the job as Lynx, works as a Puzzler for Iniquus. There, it is her duty to solve the crimes that put American interests at risk. Orphaned at 19 and widowed at twenty, Lexi has made her team at Iniquus, Strike Force, into her family. Led by the ‘handsome and enigmatic’ (Lexi’s words) Striker Rheas, there is always something afoot challenging Lexi – not the least of which is her relationship with Striker.

 

 

 

Here’s how she tells the story of what happened the last time she stopped in:

“They’re wrong – dead wrong.” I curled myself into Charlie’s comfortably overstuffed chair, not feeling comfortable at all. “What should I have done? Let them take her to jail?”

 

I had dropped by Charlie Kerrian’s house uninvited. Staying at a nearby hotel while on assignment, I wanted to run this whole darned fiasco past his detective’s ears. Would he agree with me? Or had I just made a monumental mistake?

 

Charlie and I have been friends for a long time, from back before I worked for Iniquus as their Puzzler and used the call name Lynx. I was Iniquus’s go-to girl for solving crimes. Now, I was in trouble with Command for disagreeing with their capture. Poor Charlie sat, listening to me vent.

 

“The FBI used Mason as their interrogator. He was absolutely the wrong person to question this woman.” I wrapped my arms around my bent legs, resting my chin on my knees. “He walked in with his power strides, wearing his expensive suit. When he introduced himself, he used the required solid eye contact and firm handshake. The problem? He tilted his hand so his palm faced downward, making him the dominant. He glared at her – his eyes cold…aggressive. Polly, the woman they’re accusing, is a little bitty thing.” I stared down at my jeans, visualizing the scene, trying to get the details right.

 

“She shriveled – folded into her body as if she were a piece of origami. She immediately twisted in her seat, making her feet and her bellybutton face the door — away from Mason — and she refused to look him in the eye. Polly huddled there, tapping her foot like a woodpecker; her hands fidgeted constantly – shifting around her clothes and her hair. Textbook guilt-response.” I peeked up to find Charlie nodding agreement.

 

“Mason would ask her a question, and every single time Polly glanced down to the left.” I imitated her actions so Charlie could see what I was talking about. “Mason beamed. He knew he was about to get his confession, which made him posture and bluster.” I wrinkled my nose. What an idiot. All that machismo.

 

“If Polly answered the questions at all,” I continued, “she answered in odd patterns – passive language, her verbs weren’t in the right tense. ‘I loved him,’ she said.” I jumped up to pace. “No one had told her that her husband was dead at that point. Why would she use past tense unless she also knew he was dead?” I paused then shook my head. “I can’t explain it… yet.”

 

Reaching back to gather my hair into a ponytail so I could think better, I resumed walking from one end to the other. Charlie followed me with his patient gaze. “Yup,” I said. “She had all the guilty indicators. But I don’t believe she killed her husband – I’m staking my job on this one.”

 

I stopped to reach for the glass of lemonade Charlie’s wife Sheila brought in to me. “Thank you, ma’am.” I took a sip as she left again. It was tart enough to make my mouth pucker.

 

“I have good reasons why I don’t believe she lied.” I swiped the back of my wrist over my lips. “For instance, Mason asked her the same question three times: ‘You bought a gun two days ago, did you mean to shoot your husband with it?’ Her first response, ‘I wouldn’t hurt anyone.’ Vague. Her verb choice indicated the future. She failed to answer the question. Again, Mason asked using the same words, same tone. This time he leaned forward – got right in her face. Polly cringed away from him – put her hand up to block him from coming any closer. She panted when she said, ‘The gun is for self-defense.” The third time Mason asked, Polly said, ‘No.’ Just that plainly. ‘No.’ In three tries of asking a direct question there is statistically an 85% chance someone is not lying if she can answer ‘no’ clearly at least once. Too bad Polly said it while stroking her throat – a liar’s ‘tell.’” I reached down and set my glass on the floor.

 

 

 

“Now, did Mason prepare with due diligence before the interview by watching video feeds of Polly’s body language in different circumstances?” I asked. Charlie raised his eyebrows and waited.

 

“Yes,” I said. “And did he believe he had a good baseline for making assumptions about her body language tells? Yes. I can’t fault him on that. So, why do I think she’s innocent? Mainly, it’s because I’ve seen baseline video Mason hadn’t. A different detective questioned Polly.”

 

I sat back down on the edge of my chair and looked Charlie straight in the eye. “The last time though, she wasn’t the accused. She was the victim. A guy from her office, high on meth, attacked her. I pulled up the guy’s mug shot. He’s a dead ringer for Mason. Between Mason’s business suit, his facial features, and his dominating stance, Polly wasn’t responding to this interrogation. I really believe she was reliving the last one. She acted like a victim, needing to run away – get safe. I know she’s innocent. Now I just need to find the real perp and prove I’m right.”

 

 


Fiona Quinn is a Canadian born romantic-thriller writer, who has rooted herself in the Old Dominion. Living outside of D.C. with her husband of twenty years, Fiona homeschools their four children, pops chocolates, and types on her laptop all day long. Learn more about Fiona Quinn on her website www.FionaQuinnBooks.com and stop by her blog http://thrillwriting.blogspot.com/ where writers learn to write it right.



 

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Visiting Detectives – Becki Green

 

There are lots of great people in law enforcement and Kerrian’s Notebook is just the place for you to meet them in a friendly, non-threatening environment. We caught Becki Green in between cases and she even had time to share her fave brownie recipe with us. Sheila gives it a big thumbs-up as an easy recipe. I give the brownies a thumbs-up for taste. They went great with my coffee.  😉

Meet Becki Green.

 

Thank You For Inviting Me, What Can I Bring?

 

“Charlie,” I ask, “is being a visiting detective anything like being a visiting professor? If I remember correctly from my college days, visiting professors give guest lectures and— Are you choking, Charlie? What? Not what you’re looking for? Not at all? Then maybe I could…uh…”

 

Oh, hello everyone! I’m Rebekkah Green, Vegetarian Detective. Please call me Becki. I assume you all know what a sweetie Charlie Kerrian is. Today he’s been so kind as to invite me to guest here on his blog. Thank you, Charlie, and I’m so pleased to meet you all.

 

The timing of this invitation couldn’t be more perfect because A Purse to Die For—the very first mystery novel in which I’m the loyal sidekick—is one year old this month. It’s something I really want to celebrate with you! Because, you see, you’ve already given me the very best present I could ask for: publisher Imajin Books confirmed that A Purse to Die For is a best-seller. Thank you very, very much.

 

So what can I bring to the party? Something I can share with you all in gratitude? I’m thinking…what’s a party without food? How about I bring my famous 100% veggie Brownies?

 

“Charlie, don’t worry, there’s not a speck of broccoli in them. I was just joking. All desserts are vegetarian.”

 

There, a single lit candle on top of my virtual Brownies…I’m making a wish…that I meet you again when you pop in sometime at www.vegetariandetective.blogspot.com.

 

♥ Becki

Becki Green’s Brownies

 

Visiting Detectives - Becki Green's Brownies
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 2-1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • icing sugar
  • melted butter for parchment paper
Instructions
  1. Line a 9" X 13" baking pan with parchment paper, and brush with melted butter.
  2. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  3. In a large pot, on low heat, and watching carefully, melt together the butter and chocolate.
  4. Remove from heat, and stir in the cocoa and sugar.
  5. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat until smooth.
  6. Fold in the flour and salt.
  7. Fill the prepared pan, smooth the top, and bake for 40 min.
  8. Cool, run a knife around the edges, flip over on a cutting board, turn out, and while the Brownies are upside-down, cut into 16 servings.
  9. Turn each brownie upside-right, and sift icing sugar on top.
 

*Photo of the yummy looking brownie taken by Becki Green at her house. All ours are gone.

 

 

 

 

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