Crime & Punishment

Vigilantes and Other Rogues

on November 8, 2012

What is it about vigilantes, rogue cops, and superheroes that keep us captivated? This trend is nothing new, though over the last few years the vigilante-as-hero has been on the rise. I look back to Westerns as the rise of vigilante justice. When America was a new country and there wasn’t any real system in place to keep people safe. People were responsible for each other–families for their own, neighbors for their neighbors, towns for their towns. Someone comes onto your land to steal your cattle, shoot them. Someone rapes your wife, shoot him. Someone robs the bank? Hunt them… Read More


Everyday Heroes

on March 3, 2011

On Tuesday, I spent the day with several SWAT teams as they went through medic training with the FBI. 🙂 SWAT–Special Weapons and Tactics- operatives specialize in hostage situations, high-risk warrant service operations, search-and-rescue operations, covert and undercover tactical operations and crowd control. Team members must complete advanced training and, while it is different from department to department, it’s rigorous and they must re-qualify continually. In the FBI, SWAT members must qualify monthly at the gun range, for example. But it’s not only firearms training–the physical training is just as demanding. SWAT teams know how to be cops–they can take… Read More


My Night with James Ellroy

on January 6, 2011

I spent Tuesday night with James Ellroy. Okay, not all night. Just a few hours with Mr. Ellroy and a group of reporters–plus the talented and extremely nice Stephen Schwartz from my alter-blog, Murderati. The bestselling novelist of 18 books, Mr. Ellroy is most famous for his bestselling novels THE BLACK DAHLIA and L.A. CONFIDENTIAL. He also has a tragic personal story, as he lost his mother in 1958 to murder. We all met at the Langham Hotel in Pasadena for a bus tour for Mr. Ellroy to promote his new television series, “James Ellroy’s LA: City of Demons” on… Read More


Inside Folsom Prison-The Toughest Beat in the State

on May 6, 2010

Last Friday, I was lucky enough to tour Folsom State Prison with alumni from the FBI Citizens Academy. At least, a small part of it. They call it the “Toughest Beat in the State” and after walking it, I would have to agree. Every cop puts his life on the line when he puts on a uniform, but putting on the uniform within the walls of a maximum security facility with 4,000 felons carries additional risks. The prison itself is huge, split between “new” (1986) and “old” (1880) Folsom. Both are still fully operational. We were at New Folsom Prison,… Read More


NO WAY OUT

on October 8, 2009

My first Lucy Kincaid book will be released in October of 2010 and I turned in the proposal three weeks ago. Lucy Kincaid is a character from my NO EVIL series. In FEAR NO EVIL, she was kidnapped before her high school graduation by a man she met on the Internet. She’d met him through a group she believed was only Georgetown students and prospective students as she prepared for college, thinking he was a freshman. He gave her a false name and false picture. She gave him a real name and real picture. Hence, he had no problem snatching… Read More


Allison's Great SWAT Adventure

on July 30, 2009

It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it. That’s right: role play with SWAT. Sure, I know, it’s a day away from writing, a day away from the kids, a day away from email, but somebody has to make the sacrifice, and because I wouldn’t want to force this on anyone else, I stepped up to the plate. I volunteered to be a victim. Yes this is my foot. This was my second role playing adventure. About five weeks ago, I participated in a tactical training as a “bad guy”–or, more accurately, as the white trash wife of… Read More


Allison’s Great SWAT Adventure

on July 30, 2009

It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it. That’s right: role play with SWAT. Sure, I know, it’s a day away from writing, a day away from the kids, a day away from email, but somebody has to make the sacrifice, and because I wouldn’t want to force this on anyone else, I stepped up to the plate. I volunteered to be a victim. Yes this is my foot. This was my second role playing adventure. About five weeks ago, I participated in a tactical training as a “bad guy”–or, more accurately, as the white trash wife of… Read More


Online Safety

on November 15, 2007

My oldest daughter wants a MySpace page. The first time she wanted one, she was 12 and she did it on her own, then because she’s a basically good kid and a good Catholic, her guilt festered and less than 24 hours later, she told me. I praised her for her honesty, didn’t punish her (as I would have done if I discovered the page on my own), and promptly deleted her account. Now she’s almost 14 and she just learned I joined the ranks of MySpace. She doesn’t think it’s fair. She pointed out all the safety measures, that… Read More


Pedophiles Online

on May 31, 2007

You can’t yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater. You can’t talk about bombs in the middle of an airport. Some speech is prohibited because the end result can be fatal. I am a staunch supporter of the First Amendment. I abide by Voltaire’s statement, “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” In my former life as a legislative consultant, this came in handy. I was a good listener. I didn’t have to be convinced that someone was right or I was right or they were wrong (I,… Read More