Category Crime

Getting Your Hands Dirty–Prison Reform

You hear the expression all the time–“Getting your hands dirty.” A yuppie call to get in the trenches and act like you’re doing the work, just like the common folk. It’s a trite little phrase used frequently by the likes of Martha Stewart, political figures, and CEO’s who haven’t looked at an assembly line since […]

The Corner Office

I’ve been pretty fortunate over the years to not only maintain gainful employment, but also to do that work in some pretty glamorous settings. As I sit at my desk and figure out which project is going to get my attention today, I think back to other desks, and other times, where I did have […]

Blurred Lines – the true crime connection

Crime fiction is a strange place. Crime writing takes advantage of a basic human flaw–the willingness to see the victimization of others as a spectator sport. It seems that it’s been part of human nature since we “civilized people” would gather together for a rousing session of Christians Versus Lions–The Ultimate Cage Match. Fast forward […]

Crime Under The Big Top

Wherever there are seedy gatherings, crime will inevitably find its way in. Wander down the garish circus alleyways filled with overstuffed clowns, who bark and beg at those with pockets filled with cash, and you’ll find greed and corruption. Sideshows offering a peek at the naked lady or the promise of a fortune told are […]

Writing Sacramento Crime

Sacramento Crime Sacramento as a setting for crime fiction? The sleepy state capitol town doesn’t get a great deal of attention from the hardcore crime community. Crime fiction relies on–well, crime. Naturally, the first places you think of are New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Newark, Detoit, Baltimore–You get the idea, places where crime is […]

Is Sacramento A Serial Killer Friendly Place?

Location, location, location… I’m often asked why I chose to set my crime fiction in Sacramento, California, instead of one of the more well known west coast crime magnets of Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Fresno. Michael Connelly and Robert Crais have L.A. locked down with their Harry Bosch and Joe Pike series. But, Sacramento is an […]

Prison and Literature

Lord of the Flies The social aspects of what goes on behind prison walls are really kind of fascinating. For those who worked there, we recognize the yard dynamics are something out of William Golding’s, Lord of the Flies. In the 1954 novel, a group of boys are stranded on an island and quickly devolve into savage […]

Is Life Really Life?

Life in prison. The judge hands down the sentence and most people think that’s the end of it. The convicted man (or woman) will spend the balance of their natural life behind bars. Life sentences are reserved for the worst crimes–kidnapping, murder and habitual criminals. well…maybe. I recall, early in my career, going into a […]

Who’s On The Gun?

Little things on the inside If you haven’t worked deep in the bowels of a prison, you might not know there a whole host of things that occur everyday that determine how your shift will unfold–uneventful, a grind, or worse. Some take it for granted, but if you’ve worked there–you know better. Most seasoned prison folks […]

In Prison — Seeing Is Believing

What happens in prison usually stays in prison. Kinda like a bad Las Vegas honeymoon. Nobody wants to know the depths of the debauchery that goes on in either place. When I worked as a department of corrections administrator, we were often burnt at the stake when a criminal decided to do a bad thing. […]