TCP Ep. 4 Notes

In Episode 4 I talked to Frank Stanfield, long time crime reporter from central Florida. We covered everything from life on the crime beat, to a teenage vampire cult, alligators, and the amazing story of Dorothy Lewis.

Don’t forget Blood Red Ivory, the audiobook comes out May 3rd!

New Release Announcement: Blood Red Ivory

“Some Cases You Solve. Some Cases You Survive.”

Really excited to announce the pending release of my seventh novel, and the first in a series, following Special Agent Tyrone Benhoff, Blood Red Ivory.

Initially, I came up with Ty. Tyrone Benhoff, Special Agent, Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). Why NCIS? My former agency has a global presence. In my time with them, I traveled to nine different countries. I figured the wide range of locations would provide a great backdrop for a variety of exciting plots. Another aspect of NCIS that fit was the spectrum of cases an agent has the opportunity to work. Everything from fraud to homicide, to personal protection assignments, makes for a deep catalog of investigations I can touch on in my books.

Ty himself is kind of an amalgam of characters I’ve met over the years. Some of the most fun and frustrating traits from all the cops I’ve ever worked with went into his character. He’s a tenacious investigator, has developed a dark, and more often than not offensive level of humor. Like most cops, he’s been overrun by worthless bureaucracy so much that he has not even the slightest bit of patience for empty suits or weak leaders. That makes him really popular with management by the way. He’s dedicated to getting the job done no matter what the cost. That last part is probably the most common thread I’ve seen not just from the men and women I worked with at the state, federal, and local levels of law enforcement but cops, in general, want to serve and do their job the best they can. That’s Ty Benhoff.

As far as setting goes I picked Zimbabwe after reading about the International Anti-Poaching Foundation. A group of anti-poaching park rangers, all female, protecting endangered species in Africa. Their story is inspirational. Also, I’ve wanted to get back to Africa since I finished a deployment to Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti in 2011. The people there are great, the geography is great. Now that I have little kids, I don’t get to travel much anymore so for the time being, if I can’t go there, I can at least write about it. Someday I will get back to Africa though.

Anyway, I put Ty and these Rangers together, mixed in bad guys to include, ivory smugglers, poachers, some Chinese organized crime, and even a couple of terrorists-extremists for good measure. All this and a homicide investigation gives you, Blood Red Ivory. I hope you like it.

Big thanks to my publisher WildBlue Press. Check out their catalog of great true crime and fiction titles if you get a chance.

And more to come. Meanwhile don’t forget to check out the rest of my titles here.

Naked on a Golf Cart

A naked woman drove a golf cart into the middle of a standoff between police and an armed teenager. The teenager was apparently holding himself hostage on the roof of his home around midnight on September 6th (Happy Labor Day!) when Jessica Smith, 28, refused orders to leave the area and found her bare ass being booked for Obstruction.

On its face, this is one of those police stories where someone outside the job would listen and have no idea how to process what they heard. For me, this is one of those insane moments in policing that reinforces why patrol is the best job in the world.

Here’s how I want this to have gone.

Officer Maxwell and Sergeant Collins leaned on the fender of Maxwell’s cruiser looking up at the young man in boxer briefs pacing back and forth across an architectural shingled roof. He had a butter knife in one hand and a smartphone in the other. As he passed the two cops he stared at them, his eyes full of tears.

“You don’t back off I’ll jump!” he declared as forcefully as his screechy voice would allow.

“Guess he figured out the butter knife was a poor choice.” Commented Maxwell.

“It would speed things along too.” Added Collins.

The comments drew a furious eye from Sandra Harmon, mother of the Kyler Harmon, the teenager walking around the roof. Sandra stood in her backyard wrapped in a plush bathrobe and slippers. Next to her, Jim Harmon, Kyler’s father was in a matching robe and slippers. Jim looked pissed off.

“Kyler baby please!” Sandra shouted.

“Moron,” Jim said under his breath. That drew daggers from Sandra as well.

The two cops studied the dynamic between Kylers folks for a moment before Collins said, “Bean bag,”

Maxwell straightened, his eyes flashing with hope, “He’s not that high up there,”

“We can’t…yet.” Replied Collins. He checked the other two patrol cars forming a perimeter around the back of the house. The house sat on a fairway in the middle of a golf community. The roof-mounted floodlights affixed to the cruisers lit up the entire back yard, drawing onlookers from up and down the cart path bordering the fairway. He and Maxwell went to confer with the parents,

“So this is all over a girl?” asked Collins.

“Kaitlin Andrews unfollowed him on the social media earlier tonight. Then she wouldn’t return our calls, that little bitch,” Sandra spat.

“Did you say our calls?” asked Maxwell.

Collins suppressed a chuckle. He took another look at Kyler and immediately noticed the butter knife in his hand catch the light from the cruisers. Kyler’s full attention was on his phone.

“Whoa, stop right there!”

Collins saw the boy’s head snap up and turned to see a golf cart approaching from the cart path. Officer Carson, who was holding back the gathering group of onlookers, walked out into the path of the cart. His hand was up and he flashed his light at the driver. Collins blinked when he saw her.

No way.

The next pass of Carson’s light steadied on the woman, the absolutely naked woman.

“Seriously,” Carson called. He strobed his light in her direction to get her attention but was only successful in getting her to turn off the path and head straight toward the Harmon’s home. Collins noticed Kyler watching in awe from his perch. Collins had to sidestep as she came in at barely a crawl, a dying battery struggled to keep the thing moving. She had a vacant look in her eyes, hammered or high, Collins couldn’t tell which. Carson trailed her, his hands jutting out from his sides, exasperated.

“You fucking kidding me?” Maxwell hopped aboard as she passed and ripped the key out of the ignition. Collins put an eye on Kyler to make sure he wasn’t sliding any further down the spectrum of stupid than the level he’d already achieved tonight. The kid stood stock still watching the goings-on below. Now would be the perfect time for the bean bag, Collins thought.

“’ss there a prob’em officer?” the woman asked from behind the wheel of the golf cart. Her words slurred, her eyes mere slits.

“I could ask you the same thing,” answered Maxwell. He gently pulled her from the cart by the wrist. Unsure if she would be able to stand on her own. He looked at Collins.

“cover her up, book her for Obstruction,” Collins had seen a lot over the years, and this wasn’t his first drunk, naked suspect. But the absurdity of seeing a naked woman bust into his scene riding a golf cart was a new one on him. He surveyed the scene again to see if there was anything else, maybe bigfoot was going to make an appearance too. He accounted for everyone, Kyler, his cops, the new drunk chick, mom…

“Where’s the dad?” he asked.

Sandra started as if she were entranced by what was going on around her. She pivoted in her fluffy slippers like she was looking for her reading glasses.

“Dad! Don’t” Kyler screamed.

“There he is,” said Carson.

Collins and the others watched Kyler jumping and stumbling under an onslaught of cold water lancing at him from the garden hose in Jim Harmon’s fist.

“Get off the Goddamned roof, Kyler!” Jim bellowed.

“Why didn’t we think about that earlier?” Maxwell asked. Collins couldn’t help but notice the drunk in custody was leaning her sleepy head against Maxwell’s shoulder as he watched their disturbed subject call devolve before their eyes. Above them, Kyler was shivering as his father chased him back and forth from the ground soaking him.

“Okay! Okay! Stop!” the boy said, tossing the butter knife and his now waterlogged phone to the ground. He watched as Jim Harmon raised a ladder for his son to climb down and sighed. There was no amount of paperwork that was going to explain what just happened.

Probably didn’t go down that way but however the incident went, that story will be repeated at the bar for years to come.

References:

Naked Woman, 28, Drove Golf Cart Through Scene Of Armed Standoff, Cops Say | The Smoking Gun

Don’t forget to check out my newest releases in the Jackson Cole Series.

Jackson Cole is a newly minted homicide detective thrown head first into the grinder when he is ordered to investigate the grisly murder of three women.

The victims are marked with odd, occult symbols and the press is stirring up a killer cult frenzy in the media. The mayor, the Chief of Police, and Cole’s Captain want results to calm an increasingly fearful public; and Cole’s supposed partner is nowhere to be found. Cole has zero leads, he’s floundering under the scrutiny of his entire command staff until a stranger shows up spouting a wild theory: blood magic.

Floundering or not Cole won’t even consider it. There is no such thing as magic, no such thing as voodoo; and there are no demons roaming the Charleston Peninsula. There’s always a rational explanation for the evil humans commit upon one another. Then a demon tries to take Cole’s head off.

How do you stop a supernatural evil, something ancient and unencumbered by the laws of either physics or man? Especially when all you bring to the fight is a pistol and a pair of handcuffs. If Jackson Cole wants this case to close, he will have to take on a world of the impossible. Then he’ll have to survive it.

Detective Miles Otis pointed, “That’s an arm…”

Detective Jackson Cole sighed, “Yeah.”

Otis studied the random severed limb for moment, “You ever miss the good old days, dope and drive bys…?”

You catch one strange case and suddenly they call you the Freak Police behind your back. If the case is even remotely weird Cole and Otis get the call. Now they find themselves in a vacant lot staring at a forearm.

Fingerprints give them a name. Hardnosed police work generates a suspect. She’s a witch, so was the guy who’s forearm sits in a cooler at the coroner’s office. The witch says a hellhound killed her friend. And its hunting the homeless of Charleston.

Witches, magic, and a…hellhound?

Any other two detectives would laugh at a story like that. But Cole and Otis have faced the supernatural before. It almost killed them.

There’s a reason they call them Freak Police.

But can they face the darkness again?

The Mature Blue Stilton, Worth Going to Jail for…

This is almost as bad as when a fugitive falls for the old, “You won a radio contest gag,” which, by the way, I am proud to say I pulled off in the far distant past. But that’s another story for probably never so moving on.

When we look at this story there are a couple of things that stand out. The first being complacency. Complacency is a real concern for anyone working in an operational capacity. Whether undercover protecting an alias, a diplomat working abroad, or even yes, a drug dealer.

Operational Security is the same regardless of what side of the game board you’re on. If you’re on the side of government, law enforcement or intelligence, OPSEC is drilled into your thick skull almost before the ink is dry on your appointment letter.

I guess if you’re a dealer you don’t get that kind of formal education, more of an on-the-job training situation. The story here shows Mr. Stewart, that’s the guy, was wise enough to keep his comms out of the public air, via an encrypted chat service, but became so comfortable in the digital shadows that he thought casually discussing his favorite cheeses on the platform wouldn’t put him at risk. That’s where complacency lies, when things get a little too comfortable. Complacency kills, as the saying goes, or at least in this case it costs you, a lot…like a decade of your life lot.

My question in this whole thing isn’t how the authorities got his prints off the photo. That’s been done. A couple of photo filters, adjust the gradient, sprinkle in a little contrast, and BAM! Forensics. My question is context. This was not a solitary, random post about a cheese no one has ever heard of (or maybe I’m not enough of a connoisseur). This strikes me as the secret squirrel equivalent of taking food selfies. Or maybe he was hosting an underworld dinner party that night and wanted to check with Ecstasy Erica, his MDMA source, to make sure she wasn’t averse to the Mature Blue Stilton. Perhaps he had already had so much trouble with Heroin Karen over her gluten allergy that he was sick of it and decided to run the menu by everyone- menu mystery be damned! Problem was Erica had no idea what the Blue Stilton was and when overwhelmed with frustration he sent her a photo.

“Here!” he could be heard bellowing through the grocery, “It’s a God-Damned cheese! Uncultured heathens…I swear!”

That’s probably not how it happened. But the story seemed more fun this way.

Reference:

Liverpool man latest to be jailed as part of national Operation Venetic | Merseyside Police

You Remember to Ditch the Gun, but Forget the Weed Up Your Ass?

You are a thirteen-time felon by the age of twenty-seven.

You shoot yourself in the junk.

Despite the pain and shock you are cognizant enough to have your girl ditch the gun.

But you forget about the bag of weed up your ass?

The report said Cam, Cameron Wilson but we’ll call him Cam, shot himself through the testicles. If that is true, Cameron Wilson might be the world champion of pain tolerance. As in, “You’ve suffered enough bud, maybe the judge should let you walk on this one.” If he just put one through the bag though, this is incredibly irresponsible journalism.

Here let’s not worry about trajectory, damage, etc. Let’s consider whether or not Mr. Wilson, knew he had weed up his ass when they were prepping him for surgery. If you’ve ever had surgery, you get all those forms and questions before they put you down. The nurse standing over you,

“When was the last time you ate?”

“When was your last bowel movement?”  and on and on.

I’m no expert on smuggling via asshole, but I have to imagine that at some point before the lights went out Cam realized the bag of weed was up there. Maybe the initial adrenaline, fear, and pain might have let things slip his mind in the moment but at some point Wilson remembered where he put his weed. And he must’ve made the decision: I’ve got this, what they don’t know won’t hurt them. Its already up there anyway.

Then they start pushing the meds and the world turns into cupcakes and unicorns.

“I’ve got this,” he giggles without realizing he spoke out loud.

The nurse administering the medication responds, “Yeah, you’ve got this,” trying to be helpful while thinking, this num nuts sterilizing himself is probably the best thing to happen to Wenatchee in the last year.

Cam realizes just as they push the, anesthesia meds, “Wait, did I say tha…?” Snore.

In the blink of an eye Cameron wakes back up. Everything is blurry but he feels awesome. He slurs, “Knew they’d never find it,”

A guy in a dark blue uniform and a broad mustache leans into his field of view. He’s a little blurry too but Cam can see the badge and a Ziplock bag he’s holding up for him. It contains another smaller, dark colored plastic bag,

“Find what, find this?” he asks. The cop gives the bag a little shake for emphasis, “Don’t worry, you’re all cleaned out kid, found the meth in the car too. Lucky fourteen bud. You sit tight,”

“Fuck,” Cam slurs, again not realizing he’s actually talking.

The cop doesn’t miss a beat, “Not with that junk you’re not,”

Reference:

Trouble snowballs for man who shot himself | News | wenatcheeworld.com

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