Category criminal justice

F Street Boarding House Murders

In the late 1980’s, the discovery of a bizarre serial murder caught the Sacramento area by storm. Nine deaths were attributed to the killer. It wasn’t the kind of murder that made people lock their doors at night fearing the return of the Night Stalker, or the East Area Rapist. This one was different and […]

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 […]

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. […]

5 Things I Learned in Prison

Time in prison is supposed to “teach” you things, right? That’s why it was originally called the penitentiary — as in penance. A place to reflect on one’s life and the path not taken. Some lessons are learned the hard way. The weak, meek and mild won’t survive in prison. Inmates quickly develop survival mechanisms […]

It’s Just A Word

Remember the old children’s verse; sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me? Well, I’m calling bullshit on that one. One ill-chosen word has weight and is capable of inflicting a hurtful sting. String a few of these words together and lives are impacted. Last week I posted about a setting […]

The Prison You Don’t See

I’m writing a new story and part of the new piece involves prison — specifically mental health treatment in prison. It’s a strange thing to witness a prison mental health crisis first hand and after working around correctional mental health units and activating one in a maximum security prison, it occurred to me that most readers don’t […]

Doing Time: My Path to Publishing

This week, Author Holly West, offered a guest blogging spot over at Do Some Damage, a crime fiction blog hosted by a really talented bunch of authors. If crime fiction is your thing, or if you’d like a look at the insides of the crime fiction game, this is a site you should check out. Thanks for […]

50 Shades of Grey Matter

Have you been around that person, the one with the brain that operates on an entirely different level than the rest of us? This guy (or gal) is the one doing their sudoku puzzles in ink along with their morning herbal tea. They are the ones who do math equations for the fun of it and […]