Dale Amidei’s – ‘A Garden in Russia’

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a garden in russia

I swear, Dale Amidei is/was an assassin. Perhaps, married to one. Ahem. His knowledge and research are frighteningly real, vast, and varied. Dale, does the CIA know about you? Are you like, a consultant to the intelligence community?

Okay, besides that… I just read ‘A Garden in Russia,’ his fifth in the Boone File series. Dale is adept at writing strong female characters, tough guys, nurturing men and women, and villains in the end, who have far more to do with what is the lethality of politics and intrigue than a shadowy character with a knife and evil intent.

I’ve read all of the Boone Files, and this does not disappoint. After #4, while I awaited #5, I started at the beginning, ‘The Anvil of the Craftsman,’ which I pressed here previously. A writer, reader of well, any genre can see the ability of Dale Amidei’s writing as complex, intriguing and well-crafted. I honestly hold my breath often, wondering who is going to be shot? What will happen here?

The powers and money behind what happens in the U.S. affects what happens in Russia as well. Like I said, more real than not. Read the paper, watch the news, then you tell me, how did he nail those details so well? Dale’s writing? Never a disappointment.

Something I could imagine seeing in Boone’s bathroom

bathroom pic

Okay, so that’s my bathroom. Romantic comedy, right?

The Burial Place by Larry Enmon Interview with Claire O’Sullivan

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The burial place

 

I had the privilege of a brief interview with Larry Enmon, author of The Burial Place.

 

Hi, Larry. Wow, I just finished The Burial Place. Really outstanding work, and I found areas terrifying for the victim, and others quite humorous, especially with your two detectives, Frank and Ron. Both complete opposites. I gave up two nights’ sleep to read. Also, you have an impressive background in law enforcement, as well as the Secret Service. This gives you an insider’s perspective to police procedure. Of course, you drew on those experiences. Was or were there any particular case or cases came that came to mind for the novel when you were with the Houston PD?

 

Larry: I worked for the Houston Police Department for six years. I had no case in mind when I wrote the manuscript. I was looking for a good engaging story and this felt right.

L Enmon pic

 

Claire: And I would agree that is engaging. The Burial Place is a fantastic crime thriller, non-stop. In your dedication, you mentioned that your daughter gave you inspiration for this novel. Can you tell me a bit about how this idea came about?

 

Larry: Several years ago she gave me the DVD True Detective, season one. I had been writing international suspense thrillers for ten years and no agent would give me asecond look. After watching True Detective, I said, “Hey, I could write something like that,” and so I did.

 

Claire: That’s fantastic, and you make it sound so easy. It’s always the unexpected things that get that creative motor started. The timing was perfect. The Burial Place your debut novel, though you’ve mentioned to me that you’ve written international suspense thrillers, yet to catch an agent’s line. Have you any plans to return to these at a later date? Of course, you’ve been busy with signings, I suspect, so those might be on a back burner.

 

Larry: I received training from the CIA on weapons of mass destruction during my time working in the Joint Terrorism Task.

 

Claire:

wide eye

 

Larry: I used this inside knowledge to craft four international suspense thrillers about attacks on the U.S. using these types of weapons. I’m doing revisions on my first one now. Perhaps we’ll see it in a couple of years.

 

Claire: As a writer, I always enjoy hearing about someone’s process of putting the story into its first draft and working from there. Do you have a man-cave you hide in to write or can you tune everything out?

 

Larry: My man cave is my writing desk in our guest bedroom. I shut the door and tell my wife not to disturb me unless someone is killed or the house catches fire.

 

Claire: Too funny. My husband posted a note on my ‘cave woman’ door for acceptable hours to work, and please eat some food. As a writer in The Burial Place, did you write with a message in mind for your readers?

 

Larry: I write with no agenda. My only purpose is to entertain my readers. If I can tell you a story, that after you finished reading it, you recall it as an actual memory you experienced and not a story you’ve read, I’ve done my job.

 

Claire: The Burial Place is well crafted, and with such attention to detail and the characters leap off the page. So, I would say you have certainly done your job. Speaking as both writer and reader, what is your process of creating ‘the perfect characters?’

 

Larry: Most of the characters in the book, and some of the events were taken from people I actually worked with. Frank, Rob, Terry Edna, the old sheriff of Sabine County are all real people I know. Not hard to write about people you’ve known for twenty or thirty years. As for as the bad guys, well I’ve known so many bad guys in thirty-seven years of law enforcement that’s not difficult either.

Larry Enmons The Burial Place from amazon

Claire: I can picture Edna giving the universal ‘get over here’ signal with her forefinger… You’ve added layers to the story, secrets, the past, all of which come as a surprise. The characters also share their contrasting spiritual beliefs. Frank and Rob challenge one another in this way, and there are some very humorous exchanges between the detectives: the very logical to the religious (yet not-so religious).

 

Larry: Frank is a man whose has lost his faith. He wants to believe in a higher power, but with his life tragedies and logical mind, he finds it difficult to believe in what he can’t see. Rob is very religious but not exactly a Bible scholar. He attends church and follows the teachings of the church like his parents and wife. Rob is happy and satisfied with the Catholic Church. Frank will never be satisfied with any religion.

 

Claire: Frank’s questions reflected that in dialogue, and because of the nature of the crimes committed one can certainly add to that logic. And as a last question, with the very surprising ending, will there be a follow up? And when?

 

Larry: I signed a two book contract with my publisher for another Rob and Frank novel. I’ve completed it and I’m working on the last revisions now. Look for it sometimes around the spring of 2019.

 

Claire: I’m definitely looking forward to it—but 2019 is an absolute killer to wait. The good thing is that The Burial Place and the characters are so memorable, I won’t have any trouble getting back into reading your work.

 

Thank you, Larry for taking time from your busy signing schedule—it is appreciated. Larry? Larry? Oh, he’s off to another signing…

 

If you haven’t read The Burial Place yet, and you are looking for an nail-biting book with engaging, realistic characters, plus a great plot, I recommend picking up The Burial Place.

 

You can read Larry’s biography on Amazon or here:

 

‘Larry Enmon retired from the U.S. Secret Service and started writing. During his career he acted as liaison between the USSS and FBI, working in the Joint Terrorism Task Force. He received special training from the FBI and CIA in weapons of mass destruction. For relaxation, and to get away from the city, he likes spending time at his ranch in rural Eastern Texas. With 200+ acres, private shooting range, a 2 ½ acre pond, and miles of woodland trails to explore on four-wheelers and RTV’s, it’s the perfect getaway. He swims four miles a week, holds a Divemaster rating with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors and has a black belt in Tang Soo Do karate. He is married with two children and lives in Tarrant County, TX.’

 

Contact information:

larry@larry-enmon.com (email)

Twitter@LarryEnmon

Instagram@Larry Enmon

Facebook www.facebook.com/larryenmonbooks/ 

Represented by the Andrew Lownie Literary Agency LTD, 36 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BU United Kingdom, David Haviland – Agent

 

In Absentia …

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May 1, 2018

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Claire O’Sullivan

Well, not really  ‘oops,’ but mercy, I have been busy. Halted work on Nobody Girl (WIP name that was once Forget Me Not: Non Compos Mentis) to fiddle with the (last?) of the edits on How to Steal a Romance.

Ya’ll remember that one, right?

In the meantime, with the edits, reading, and interviewing … I have posted much to my WordPress site. Ahem. Cough. I have been flying by social media. A post here and there.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Katrina McCain about her non-fiction, ‘Beyond Being Good,’ and I will say she has an acute understanding of the double life we may live as Christians. Check  here: https://cindy212.wordpress.com/2018/04/19/beyond-being-good-by-katrina-mccain-a-five-star-author/

If you understand this conundrum, please read her book and blog.

https://www.katrinamccain.com/blog

Wisdom from Kristen Lamb

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This is another good post from the insane, I mean … wise Kristen Lamb’s blog. These are editing tips you do not want to skip.

Why… Pay… More?

kill bill

So slash those sweet lil’ things you love so much. Hey, I had to, and it … sucked.

http://authorkristenlamb.com/2018/04/self-editing-writers/#comment-92608

Don’t blink. Save them in another folder if you can’t let go, but … <pulls pages from your hands> Just Do It. Stop thinking.

wonder

Forensics… Boys and Girls, Get Ready…

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Last time I wrote, it was about fingerprinting old school. I promised to write about processing in the lab.

No. No. No. I am old and female, giving me the right, no, two rights… to change my mind. We are talking a bit about blood and guts today. The autopsy. This is for writers who want more realism (not CSI — fake, not NCIS, fake) in their fiction.

leroy jethro gibbs hitting dinozzo

So … you may ask. Go ahead. Fine by me. ‘Where do you get off thinking you are an expert?’ Well… okay, cool, be rude. Oh wait, that was my question, ahem. I’ve amassed over time search/rescue techniques useful; volunteer forensics with sheriff’s department, webinars, seminars, anatomy classes with gross dissection classes, and thorough training & bucks (and I mean a lot–spent a gazillion clams for FBI and National Forensic Science Training Institute).

In the medical field for 30+ years, I know the lingo, and writing about procedures in the hospital/trauma/office, I also have down. But, yes I was a CSI / NCIS junkie… but found out they had a lot of fakery going on in their shenanigans, and since I write fiction … I turned to the real world.

shocked

This information will give you a full autopsy — not you personally, but the lowdown. You’ll see procedures here that are real.

So, let’s begin … My main character, Catherine Cade (amnesiac) in How to Steal a Romance works as a volunteer (long story) and finds she has skills (again, long story). The first visit to the morgue (here, called the Dead Room), she performs an autopsy under the strict supervision of the medical examiner for legal reasons. Prior to this autopsy, he asked her to direct his every move on a Jane Doe. I left names and character interactions out:

I started. “Who have we here?”

“Unknown Hispanic male, found off the parkway, no ID. No tattoos.”

“In the big homeless campground?” I pointed at his hair and fingers. “He’s clean cut. Did you scrub under his nails?”

“Of course not.”

“His crew cut and clean nails don’t scream homeless to me. Who found him, and where?”

“Under the bridge by another homeless man. His clothes were filthy, torn up.”

I checked his hands. “It’s not conclusive. Callouses on his hands, some arthritic changes, consistent with manual labor. Musculature to upper and lower extremities are well-developed. What about trace evidence? Any dirt or grass from a different area under the bridge?”

“Tech is going over clothing and particulates. We obtained samples from the scene to compare.”

“X-rays? Did you get prints to send to IAFIS, swab for DNA?”

“All done.” He pointed to the films.

I stood at the old-fashioned x-ray box. “He’s had dental work.” I pointed. “Here’s a fracture of the nasal bone, some tissue swelling here, suggests fall or altercation.” I stepped to another light box and viewed the vertebrae. “Cervical fracture, thoracic and lumbar fractures. What’s this?” I examined an image of his leg. “Spiral fracture.”

“Good.”

“Not for this poor guy. Grab the mic and turn it on when I tell you to. Lower the table a bit, if you would.”

“Comin’ down.” He lowered the table and winked.

Gonna be a long autopsy.

He held the mic.

I turned to face my patient. “Talk to me John Doe. Tell me why you died. Okay, turn the microphone on. Adult, well-nourished Hispanic male, appears to be in his mid-thirties. External exam shows multiple bruising, over right posterior to anterior neck, right. Multiple abrasions right lower leg. Mic off.” I took more pictures and my eyes drifted past the medical examiner as I contemplated what I found.

“What?” He asked.

“I’ve seen this before. The fracture with the abrasion. I could be wrong, but I think he caught his leg in something like a chair or ladder, fell, causing a spiral fracture and fractures to his back and neck.”

You’ve seen this before?”

I didn’t know when and hesitated. “Sometime back. Here’s the x-ray—fractured nose and the surrounding tissue engorged with blood visible even on plain film. Cervical fracture is different. Any wood, plant particulates I want collected.”

“What do you think?”

Silent, except for recording the procedure, I made an incision from the mastoid process behind the ear, extending coronally to the opposite mastoid, reflecting skin and muscle away, one centimeter above the eyebrows. After evaluating, I exposed the occipital protuberance, and used the vibrating bone saw to cut horizontally on both sides from the center of the forehead to the base of the mastoid process. Further cuts and notches allowed me to remove the cranium, evaluate, and lift out the brain for closer inspection.

“Mic on. No traumatic injury noted to base of skull, despite fracture to cervical vertebrae three and four. Absence of bleeding to the brain and interstitial tissues are inconsistent with a fall. Bruising to neck, lateral, sternocleidomastoid to posterior. Mic off.”

“Well? Any ideas?”

“Yeah, music would drown out your voice.”

“Wow. Boss lady is snippy.”

I didn’t miss a beat. “Gee, wonder how many times I’ve heard that one. Mic on.”

I made the Y-incision from collarbone left to right, past the sternum to the pelvis. “Clip the sternum for me. I need you to grab the enterome above you, hand it to me when I ask.”

I snapped my gloved fingers, held my hand out, and weighed the organs. I used the enterome to shear them open. “Taking samples for biopsy of mouth, esophagus, stomach, colon, liver, trachea, lungs, heart, bladder, spleen. Mic off.” I handed the samples to the medical examiner after I weighed the organs and he put the samples in paraffin wax.

I asked, “What did homicide say about the scene?”

We both put a new pair of gloves on. “They wait for me to tell them.”

“What do you think?”

“Undetermined. Possible scuffle out of hand.”

“Microphone on. John Doe’s liver normal. No sign of cirrhosis, no enlargement.” I added what the m.e. told me. “Alcohol negative, awaiting other toxicology. Mic off.”

“Correct.”

“Mic on. He has a postmortem fracture to the base of his skull. Bruising on his neck, premortem. Blunt force trauma after death. Mic off. Why? Maybe a chokehold. Spit balling. It’s possible John Doe fell from a ladder and caught his leg, or someone helped him fall. Someone busted his nose and held him in a chokehold until he died. Then, a killer fractured his neck—but after death, there’s no blood associated with the trauma.” I hesitated. “We deal with the evidence, but my gut says this man was murdered.”

“You think the victim knew his killer, if you’re right?”

I paused. “Impossible to say. The fractured neck could mean anything.”

“We’ll toss it back to homicide.

 

I tossed my gloves into the hazardous waste trash, left the Dead Room and showered.

That, without the interactions and names is an authentic autopsy. Remember, a dissection is far different than autopsy, so if you are going for what a med student deals with, let me know. Got that, too.

From my second novel, Nobody Girl, I introduce my main character who as a cop, has never had a dead body in her rural town, nor seen a autopsy just like this. I’ve left names out at this point. This is with my agent:

The coroner unlocked the door to the cold morgue room, and pulled one of the three refrigerated body boxes toward us on a wheeled rack, revealing the victim’s remains. The putrefaction almost overwhelmed me. I gagged, and he handed me the peppermint. Tempted to stick the bottle up my nose, I instead put a small dot under my nostrils.

“Take a look at the x-rays. No other fracture except her right occipital lobe—and whatever tore through her.” (The coroner) pointed. “Let me show you what I found—beside the obvious.”

He walked to the table and uncovered the body.

Oh, no, I could have gone the rest of my life without seeing this. He had cut through the skin and skull and pulled her face and skin down over her neck. My knees wobbled. (My partner) stepped behind me and grasped me by the back of my jeans. He pushed his right knee between my legs. No doubt he’d bend his knees if a human chair became a necessity, or if I slid down and fainted.

(He) whispered, “Are you okay with me keeping you upright? I can let you drop, if you want. Toss you outside?”

“Whatever you do, do not let go.”

I prayed, hoping (my new detective’s) professionalism would carry me through this awkward and uncomfortable autopsy evaluation.

(The coroner) said, “I took the liberty of removing the connective tissue to show you this. I found small pieces of wood imbedded in the skin, not the bone, consistent with where we found her. More for my practice than needed. This happened premortem or perimortem, but I am sure that’s not the reason she is dead.”

“No?” I wanted to leave. I averted my eyes. The victim’s feet were visible, and if I could just keep my eyes there …. Her toenails, painted an off-white French nail-style, had otherwise clear glitter. The dirt cleaned away, her feet were something I would expect of her—perfect, but very dead—and thanks to our coroner, she was faceless. I shouldn’t have compared her feet to mine, but she didn’t have funky-looking runner’s feet. This mental exercise did keep me from looking at the degloved head.

(The coroner) pulled the sheet down to her torso. “This puncture wound. Perforated her saline breast implant. Whatever did this spiraled and decompressed and tore tissue, coring through. Nothing else except some tiny bits of metal. Didn’t see them until I re-examined the x-ray. I’ll let Duluth handle that. Looking at the entrance wound, I’m guessing a diameter of 6 inches.”

“What’s the ammo that could produce this?”

(The homicide detective) crossed his arms. “The JDJ .950 can produce an entry hole that large. Has a two-hundred pound kick. Small cannon. Largest rifle caliber out there. If that was the rifle used, it would leave bruises on the killer’s chest.”

(The coroner) shook his head. “The other conundrum is the wound tract, it has a pattern, just an uneven pattern. After the fatal wound, she fell, hit her head and fractured it, the tissue swelling said she didn’t die instantly. Someone took a rock to her face as she bled out. Poor girl suffered.” He glanced at me. “Check the edges of this wound, here. There was no surviving this. I estimated the exit wound is much smaller.”

(Detective) shifted. “Have you seen this before?”

(Coroner) removed his gloves, washed his hands, and rubbed his balding dome. “Son, I’m a family doctor and volunteer coroner. First time to deglove a head, too. So, no, I haven’t. It’ll take me some time to figure this one out.”

 

Next up … a visit to the Body Farm, including some scenes from How to Steal a Romance. Which will be disgusting.

Aren’t you excited?

And as always, please visit Kristen Lamb’s blog for writers: 13 Ways Writers are Mistaken for Serial Killers — Kristen Lamb’s Blog   http://authorkristenlamb.com/