Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Crime children

The age of the 13-year old female protagonist in my novel, THE TRAZ, has raised the eyebrows of some readers unfamiliar with street life. It seems people hear in the news about child prostitution, child porn, run-aways, and juvenile crime but don't connect those news items to real children. It's easy to close our eyes to such things and pretend such events are happening in an alternate universe or, at the very least, in foreign countries an ocean away.

However, the kids in those headlines are quite real. Youngsters do get involved in street life for various reasons, not the least of which is often the lack of parental guidance. It was not long ago that the body of a young lad was found in a burnt out stolen vehicle not far from where I live. It took police a long time to identify the 14-year old victim because no one reported him missing for several weeks.  That is sad...and real.

It isn't only children with questionable parenting that are at risk. Problems common to all teens can cause some to seek out a life of crime. Some teens simply like the rush they get from engaging in illegalities. Others are depressed, trying to escape bullying, seeking to belong. Most have no idea of what they are getting into.

It is best to understand the dangers kids face, engage them in alternate activities to fullfil their needs, and get them medication and or counselling if they have mental health issues. Sometimes youngsters won't listen to our warnings about the dangers of a lifestyle they find alluring. That's where a good book like THE TRAZ can come in handy.

It's about the year young Katrina spends with THE TRAZ, a criminal biker gang. It's not preachy. It just tells her story. Bluntly. Complete with the coarse language of the street. It tells how a brilliant, beautiful and wealthy child gets sucked in by nefarious adults...and how it becomes impossible for her to escape. It tells of drugs, and weapons, and a murder. By book's end, the chrome on those exciting Harleys is a lot duller than when Katrina first clamoured on one.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Review: A Fair to Die For

A Fair To Die For by Radine Trees Nehring ISBN: 9781610091220 A 2012 release from Oak Tree Press 238 pages (without recipes) In spite of continual bumps in their road of life, Carrie McCrite and her second husband, Henry, forge onward. They both have healthy, positive attitudes. That’s mildly surprising for Henry. He’s retired from a career as a cop in Kansas City. They expected to live a quiet, typical retiree life in the Ozarks. Fate intervenes, in the form of a long-forgotten cousin named Edith Embler. Edith blows into town looking for family history and bringing behind her a variety of really bad dudes who seem to hang around craft fairs with evil intent. The story rests in a really clever idea, and the author handles the plot necessities carefully and responsibly. Her skill as a writer puts this novel very much in a positive cozy sort of grouping. Like a lot of traditional American mysteries, this story has a harder edge than is typically found in the classical, traditional, stories from the UK. Carrie’s experience and generosity of spirit in wanting to help Edith in every possible way play out nicely against her husband’s more suspicious and cautious nature. The novel is interestingly peopled with several unusual characters who add to the richness of the scene. I’ve been reading this author over a number of years and am pleased to recommend this novel. It is in the end a satisfying mystery involving nice people who are truly competent. In the end, one might view with a certain hesitation, if not suspicion, the abrupt arrival of long-lost relatives. -- Carl Brookins, Case of the Great Train Robbery, Reunion, Red Sky

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Escape from Wonderland

Canmore AB is a town with a rabbit rampage - it's riddled with a ridiculous amount of rabbit holes. If those wacky characters that live in Lewis Carroll's Wonderland were to run up a random rabbit hole, chances are good they would end up in Canmore!

And that's exactly what happened.

Do you remember The Queen of Heart's tarts? The Knave (Jack) of Hearts was accused of stealing them. But really .... he was playing in a poker game in Texas. So who really pilfered those tasty pastries? The answer is at the Shop Local Canmore Trade Fair taking place this weekend.

Mysteries are infinitely flexible in their 'cluetrail'. Mystery contests and parties can be tailored to fit any situation. Clues can be as tricky or easy as the participants. Investigating (oh that reminds me - What do you call an alligator wearing a vest?  An Investigator! Ha) can take as little or as much time as you want. Theme and prizes can be specific to any group. 

Mysteries really are the miracle of masterful entertaining.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Today I'm stopping here on my blog tour, which is winding down, but there are still chances to win prizes and see what's going on with Seamus.

Schedule: Peg Herring’s Blog Tour for May (and one post in June) consists of a mix of interviews with Seamus, the Dead Detective, and posts on writing. The previous stop was on May 16 at http://its-not-all-gravy.blogspot.comThe next stop on the tour will be on May 25th at A complete schedule is posted at Peg’s blog, When the tour is over (June 11th) the complete Seamus interview will be posted there.

Prizes: People who comment on any blog post on the tour will be entered in drawings for several prizes: Dead Detective T-shirts, copies of THE DEAD DETECTIVE AGENCY and DEAD FOR THE MONEY (paperback or e-books available), and the chance to be a character in the third of the series DEAD FOR THE SHOW. Multiple winners will be drawn.

Links: DEAD FOR THE MONEY (e-book)
Peg’s website:

Taking Stock
There’s a line of commercials lately that traces minor events in life that snowball and lead to disaster. In one, a guy frustrated by his cable service ends up beaten bloody in a ditch. I’m not sure that’s true for mystery writing, but the life of a mystery writer goes a little like this.
When you start writing a mystery novel, you want to know more about crime. When you want to know more about crime, you begin paying too much attention to television. When you pay too much attention to television, you begin to think that every action has a secret motive. When you think every action has a secret motive, you suspect everyone. When you suspect everyone, scenarios form in your brain. When scenarios form in your brain, you write them down. When you write them down, you have a mystery novel!
When I take stock of who I am today and who I was before I started writing, I see major growth in the area of in-brain storytelling. Passing a person on the street who’s fumbling through his clothes brings up the idea that he’s the victim of pickpockets, when it’s likely he just forgot where he stashed his keys. A sighting of an armored car brings up visions of armed gunmen pulling the driver to the ground and driving it away before anyone can stop them. A story in a newspaper of an unidentified body found in the woods of northern Michigan creates a whole list of possibilities, none of them as mundane as the truth, that it’s some pitiful Alzheimer’s victim who wandered away from home and couldn’t get back.
It isn’t life that’s changed; it’s me. Mystery writing is an addiction, and like all addictions, we can recognize it, admit to it, and struggle against it, but it’s always there. It’s partly the fault of others, those who say, “Oh, that was such a clever twist in your last book!”
“Oh,” I say to myself, “they think THAT was clever—wait till they see what I do next time!”
Friends in the mystery-writing community confess to the same thoughts. We start viewing the world in terms of plot-lines, people in terms of character possibilities, and even aspects of nature in terms of a great line for the next book. We don’t look at the world the way others do, or maybe even the way we used to: it isn’t just life anymore: it’s all fodder for the next book or the one after that.
I sometimes feel that I should warn my friends. Like a karate expert who must register his hands as lethal weapons, maybe all mystery writers should be made to wear that T-shirt you see at conventions that says: Be careful or you’ll end up in my next novel.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Searching for the truth...

A recent murder case in Canada which eventually saw Michael Thomas Rafferty convicted of killing 8-year-old Victoria 'Tori' Stafford raised eyebrowss and fears when evidence found on a computer during the execution of a search warrant of the suspect's vehicle was thrown out of court.  This decision once again pitted tried and true criminal law against modern technology.

If evidence had been found in a suitcase or briefcase in the car, would it have been allowed as evidence? Why is it that computers require a special warrant to access their content? Does the content of cell phones, Smart phones, CD's or DVD's lie outside the parameters of a search warrant of a place or vehicle? What if a camera had been found in the car with incriminating pictures stored in it? What about a sketch pad with a map of the crime scene drawn in it?

Is there something sacred about digital information that requires special warrants and why should that be?  If investigators can open a dresser drawer to look for evidence during a legal search, why can't they open a file on a hard drive? If they can peruse a diary, why can't they look at the search history on a computer?




FATAL ERROR eBook in the UK

FATAL ERROR paperback in the UK

The nation heaved a huge sigh of relief when the jury returned a guilty verdict, even without the incriminating evidence that had been disallowed by the judge. But it could have been different...and terrible.

Undoubtedly the reasonable grounds used to obtain a search warrant for the suspect's vehicle could have been used to get one for the computer as well, but it's understandable why the police didn't think they needed another warrant--at least it's understandable to me. Obviously, the judge in the case thought differently.

The nation now waits for a review of the law and ruling as it ponders if digital privacy is more special than the less-virtual kind.

Eileen Schuh, Author 

Web site: