Monday, July 02, 2012

Monday Mystery- Deadly Legacy

Deadly Legacy - Deadly Procedure

My name is Alison and I am a research addict. This is my story.

When I started the book that would become Deadly Legacy, I didn’t set out to write a police procedural. I had a couple of characters who needed a mystery that would bring them together. I knew that Kate Garrett was a police detective and Jake Carmedy used to be in the military police, but I thought I’d be writing a cozy. Still, I knew that if there was a murder, there would be an active police investigation and I’d need to get my facts straight.

The Ontario Provincial Police, Toronto Police Services, and RCMP have marvellous websites, chock full of useful information. But that wasn’t enough. I wanted first hand information. I wanted to get a feel for what it was like to be a police detective and the nitty-gritty of homicide investigations. I didn’t want to rely on TV as my source of information, especially since most of the police shows were set in the States and my book was set in Canada.

I got my first big break in a car accident. Strapped to a backboard, I gave my statement to a pleasant OPP constable. When it was completed, he asked me if I had any questions. “Well yes,” I said. “But not about the accident.”

I owe that man a coffee. He referred me to Constable Mark Cloes who was kind enough to visit me at home for an interview. Fortunately for me (since I was a bit dopey from painkillers), Mark didn’t need much prompting. He was a fountain of great stories.

I met Detective Bob Strathdee’s wife Joan in the pool of the hotel where we were both attending a conference. Also a writer, Joan and I chatted as we swam lengths. She talked her husband into letting me interview him. After that, I was unstoppable.

At the same conference, while taking a coffee break, I met a police academy dropout. We talked for about an hour on the patio at Starbucks.

At a reading event, I met a retired private investigator turned author. I grilled him and talked him into joining Crime Writers of Canada. I drew the line at questioning my ex’s cousin-in-law at a funeral, but I gave him my card.

By then the writing was on the wall (and the page of course). Which brings us to the excerpt.

In 2018, rookie detective Kate Garrett lives in the shadow of her near-legendary father Joe. When Joe dies unexpectedly, he leaves Kate half interest in Garrett Investigations, his last case that ties to three murders, a partner she can't stand and a legacy to live up to.

Kate spotted something in the thorny heart of a wild rose bush. She snapped a couple of images with her eCom. Then she retrieved the small glass bottle, suffering a dozen painful scratches in the process. The jar was the type used to store beads, sequins or other tiny items. Whoever was distributing the stolen medication had acquired a case or more of these containers. They were turning up all over. This one had a couple of little blue pills left inside.
"Got something! Looks like one of the morphine derivatives." She backed out of the bushes, holding the container with as little contact as possible while the crime scene photographer logged the event as a digital video sequence. As soon as she straightened, she pulled a clear bag out of her pocket.
"Don't seal it yet!" Kate's partner strode over, her black leather trench coat fanning out behind her. Mercy wasn't a tall woman, but her personality lent her height. Handsome and dark-skinned, she was a conservative dresser, favouring the neo-gothic look of unremitting black, spider web lace and silver jewellery.
Morgan Zigfeld, the field medic and forensic pharmacologist following her, favoured the universal geek look complete with black-rimmed glasses and pocket protector.
Ziggy took the container from Kate, carefully opened it and retrieved a sample. His eCom scanned the blue pill—he had the app for that.
"The hospital needs this info now," he said, never taking his eyes from his work. "Knowing exactly what they're dealing with may help them treat the victim. She isn't doing well."
Kate nodded. She dropped the bottle into an evidence bag, sealed it, then marked the bag and passed it over to Mercy.
It shouldn't take long to tie the illicit medication to the three young men waiting in the squad cars. It might also link them to the death of two other neighbourhood girls, one kidnapped two nights ago and the other a week before. Their DNA would be mapped and compared to evidence collected. That would take longer. Forensic evidence gathered at the hospital would be the clincher, of course. Defensive wounds, angle of penetration, epithelial and other trace evidence would paint a picture so graphic it should convince a judge to try the suspects as adults.

Alison Bruce describes herself as a genre novelist because she has a hard time sticking to one genre at a time. She is author of Deadly Legacy, a detective/procedural/scifi mystery and Under A Texas Star, a western romance/mystery. Her day jobs include freelance copy writing, editing and design, and she’s the publications manager for Crime Writers of Canada.


Devon Matthews said...

Alison, this conjured an image of you strapped to a board with notepad and pencil in hand. You should write a character based on yourself. :)

Alison E. Bruce said...

You should have seen me in the ambulance trying to ask questions about the apparatus while staving off tears. (Lots of pain to deal with.)

Alison E. Bruce said...

Apologies to Paty and all for being late to drop in to my own guest blog, but in Canada, July 2 was part of our holiday weekend and the beginning of summer holidays for my kids. I kinda got sidetracked. :/

Melodie Campbell said...

Alison, this is hilarious! It gives us another point for "You know you're a writer if..."
And a reminder that EVERYTHING is material! Love your humour.

Alison E. Bruce said...

Thanks Melodie!

Momentrabbit said...

"I got my first big break in a car accident." Not sure if I'm wincing more at the accident or the pun. n.n

Alison E. Bruce said...

Believe me, I winced more at the accident. :)

Concentrating on details like how different the world looks when you're flat on your back and "Where is that paramedic putting my hand?" helped me deal with the pain and nausea.

(BTW, the paramedic was just taking my blood pressure and pulse. My hand really had nowhere else to go but on his upper thigh.)