Saturday, September 10, 2011



On the show this week, the tables are turned – instead of Koop interviewing a guest, he’ll play part of an interview in which he was a guest on a radio show talking about the beginnings of the Cocktail Nation, retro culture, and a whole lot more. All this, plus Swank Advice will have some travel tips for all the jetsetters out there.


Hugo Montenegro ~ I Spy
Jack Costanzo ~ Man With The Golden Arm
Tiki Joe’s Ocean ~ Sacred Island
Julie London ~ Take Back Your Mink
Big Kahuna / The Copa Cat Pack ~ I Dream Of Jeanie
Combustible Edison ~ The Veldt
Diana Krall ~ Este Seu
DJ BoneBrakeTrio ~ Bernstein 007
Buddy Cole ~ Georgia On My Mind
Jackie Gleason ~ Lonely Is The Name
MR Ho's Orchestrotica ~ Thor's Arrival
Morton Gould ~ Serenade in The Night
Martini Kings ~ You Only Live Twice
Tikiyaki Orch ~ Hawai'i Nocturne


Friday, September 9, 2011





In general, The Drowning Machine publishes only winning fiction resulting from our annual Watery Grave contest. But some little while back, David Cranmer (aka Edward A. Grainger) promised me an original story to be published here first. Who would say 'no' to that offer? Like his fictional heroes, Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles, David is an honorable man, and his word is his bond.

He is also the author of the bestselling Kindle collection, The Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles. I am extremely proud to present here his excellent new Cash Laramie story, a tale about blind justice, Reflections in a Glass of Maryland Rye . . .





Reading James Sallis is a like listening to bebop jazz – there is a certain disjointed nature to the prose/music which can be off putting to the casual reader/listener, but ultimately rewarding to those willing to look deeper and explore the words/sounds and find themselves.

There are passages in Bluebottle that play like jazz riffs – interesting on their own, but on first look/listen having little to do with the story/music as a whole, but patience is rewarded with a dawning of wonder as everything comes back around to complete the whole.


As Lew Griffin leaves a New Orleans music club with an older white woman he's just met, someone fires a shot and Lew goes down. When he comes fully to, Griffin discovers that most of a year has gone by since that night.

What happened? Who was the woman? Which of them was the target? Who was the sniper? There are too many pieces missing, too few facts, and a powerful need to know why a year has been stolen from his life.

Weaving Griffin's search for identity – one of the recurring themes in this magnificent series of novels – with a sensuous portrait of the people and places the define New Orleans, Sallis continues not only to unravel Griffin's past but to map his future…and our own.

Somewhere in the Crescent City – and in the white supremacist movement crawling through it – there's an answer to the questions left by the shot that echoed through the night. But to get it, Griffin is going to have to work with the only people offering help, people he knows he should avoid: allies if he can trust them, and worse trouble for him if he can't.

Bluebottle continues the mysterious journey begun in Sallis's The Long-Legged Fly and continues, too, to show the growth and mastery of one of America's finest crime fiction stylists.

James Sallis is an acquired taste – hardboiled bebop is not for everyone, but for those who want to go beyond Chandler, Hammett, and those who dutifully followed, Sallis will challenge you, give you a different perspective, and take you to a different landscape beyond tradition.

Thursday, September 8, 2011



The big moment finally arrives as Abbey and the Danger Girls come face-to-face with Ash, the alleged "Chosen One" who may be their pivotal weapon in recapturing the Necronomicon. But when Ash reveals his own offbeat tactics to the world's most dangerous spies, will he be a weapon they'll rush to unload? Find out as the year's most explosive crossover event continues!





Garth Ennis' newest creation continues with Jennifer Blood #4. Jennifer Blood is a suburban wife and mom by day, and a ruthless vigilante by night! This issue...enter the Three Ninjettes!







The tall man in the black-leather chaps smacked himself in the forehead with the callused palm of his right hand. He did it again with his left hand. Again with the right. Again with the left. He shook his shoulders left and right, stamped his boots into the dust, and breathed sharply, making whooshing sounds through his mouth. Stall walking was the same for every rodeo cowboy; a time alone in the midst of activity, a time to center your "try" before taking your wrap.

The noise of the crowded arena behind him had become one monotonous background roar, and the rich, heavy sweat smells of animal stock settled around him with the comfort of an old overcoat.

Sharp words cut into his concentration.

"Keegan's up, Calico!"

Closing his eyes, "Calico" Jack Walker heard the chunk of the chute gate opening, and the rising screams of the audience drowning out the noise of a passing jet. In his mind he watched a ton and a half of Brahma bull buck and twist Bill Keegan into a living bruise, his imagination so intense he could almost feel the pain.

The eight-second horn sounded and applause exploded. Here we go! Calico said to himself. He didn't bother to listen to the announcer's metallic voice spilling enthusiastically from the P.A. system.

Jazzbo Brenner poked Calico in the ribs with an elongated finger. "Great ride. It was a great ride. You're going to have to go some to beat him, Calico," he said, emphasizing a point already abundantly clear. "You ready?"

Calico opened his eyes and looked at Jazzbo's greasepaint-smeared face and bright, baggy clothing. You wouldn't believe to look at the animated rodeo clown that he was the most reserved of the rebel cops on the morning watch. "Yeah, I'm ready. You just be ready when Number 98 decides to have me for lunch."

"I've never let you down before."

Calico smiled at his friend and headed for the bucking chute. Why in the hell was he still playing cowboy at fifty plus years old, he wondered silently. It was obvious there would always be some young turk, like Keegan, trying to bring down the old guard. Somehow, though, it went against everything inside him to give up without a fight.

The International Police Rodeo Association held five rodeos a year around the country with one more in Canada. Calico had made all of them since the inception of the association, but this one, held just outside Los Angeles in Burbank, was the largest and the most important. For the past three years running he'd snatched up the all-round cowboy honors given for the best performance in the three riding events: saddle bronc, bareback, and bull.

Calico had been falling off stock ever since he was five years old, when his father sat him on a donkey backward and jumped him over a picket fence. Later he'd followed the professional "suicide circuit" until the Marines felt it was time to teach him how to be a man and sent him off to Korea.

He caught the tail end of the "police action" there. It was enough. He'd served under Lewis "Chesty" Puller at the frozen Chosan reservoir. Twenty thousand Marines surrounded on all sides by North Koreans. Puller had told them to go out and kick ass, and they did. All the way home. More scared of Puller than of any enemy.

When he got back stateside, he'd hired on with the police force in Los Angeles. It was a stopover until he had enough of a poke saved to head down the rodeo trail again. Somehow that set of circumstances never seemed to arrive. Police work infected him, and working the street became as much of an addiction as the rodeo. When the International Police Rodeo Association came into existence, though, Calico became a charter member. It gave him a chance to return to an old lover without having to leave his current mistress.

The first time he had captured the all-round title it had been nothing more than staying the distance on all his stock. The following year the competition had been a bit tougher, the young turks on the rise, and the previous year he had been lucky to win. This year he felt he'd be lucky just to walk away.

Keegan had taken second in the saddle-bronc competition, Calico third. In bareback the positions had been reversed, and now it was all down to the bull riding. Keegan's ride had been well executed, his animal performing better than expected. As a result the two judges scored him high with a combined total of 188. It was going to take a hell of a ride to beat it.

Under a rain-threatening sky the whitewashed boards of the bucking chute creaked and bulged from the inside as Number 98 declared his presence. Calico looked at the bull through the cracks in the boards, seeing him for what he was: a rogue man-hater.

He'd sweated the bull after drawing its number from an old coffee can, and learned he couldn't have a better mount for what he needed to do. Number 98 had never been ridden for the full eight before, so there was no doubting the bull's performance. The responsibility for a high score rested on the rider.

"Fit?" asked Ray Perkins from the side of the chute where he was ready to help cinch up the bucking rigging.

"Sure. No problem," Calico replied tensely. "Eight seconds ain't any longer than eternity, is it?"

Perkins laughed as Calico pulled a rosin-soaked leather glove from his rear pocket and slipped it on his riding hand. The palm of the hand had a piece of skin the size of a silver dollar missing from the middle, and Calico saw Perkins looking at it with concern.

"Don't go worrying yourself, now, over something nothing can be done about," he told his old squad-car partner. "Tore it in the bareback, but it's gone as numb as a dick full of novocaine."

"Come off it! How are you going to hang on with your hand in that condition?" Perkins asked, using a shoelace to tie the glove in place.

"Guess I don't have much choice, do I? I'm going to use a finger wrap."

"Are you out of your mind? This bull spins toward your riding hand! If you come off on the wrong side you'll get hung up!" Perkins held onto Calico's wrist.

"It's the only chance I've got to ride this bastard."

"You're crazy!"

"Yeah, I know." Calico slipped his hand between the boards and climbed up to the top of the chute, swung his legs across it, and looked down at the most repulsive chunk of animal he ever wanted to see. Number 98 was 1,800 pounds of gristle and meanness, more than a match for an old cop's 200 pounds of aches and pains.

"Okay, hotshot," Perkins said from below him, just don't break up the ambulance crew's poker game."

Calico smiled briefly and lowered himself onto the hurricane deck of the bull's back. Number 98 snorted, giving him a faceful of fetid, steaming breath. Unlike broncs who are happy to just dump their rider and run, Brahma bulls tote a grudge, living for the chance to sink a horn into human flesh.

The flat, rosined braid of the bucking rigging slipped easily over Calico's riding hand, and Perkins pulled the rigging tight, like a man pulling a bucket out of a well, until Calico nodded his head. Taking the free end of the rope, Calico laid it across his palm. Then, instead of just wrapping it behind his hand and across the palm again, he brought the tail of the rope between his third and little fingers first. Ray Perkins shook his head sadly, but Calico ignored him. With the fist of his free hand, he pounded his riding hand shut around the rigging and pulled hard. There was no give in the rope, and the bell attached below the bull's brisket clanked loudly.

The voice from the P.A. system boomed out over the crowded arena. "Next up is IPRA's returning all-round champion, 'Calico' Jack Walker, on Number 98. He's going to have to turn in a tough ride this time out, folks, if he hopes to hang onto his title. Good luck, Calico!"

Hauling himself into shape, Calico dragged his thighs over the loose, wrinkled skin of the bull's hide until they were as close to his riding hand as possible. There was a second of time waiting for Number 98 to square himself, and then Calico nodded go; the fleece-lined strap around the bull's flanks was yanked tight, and the chute burst open.

One one-thousand. Number 98's first leap out of the chute was a spectacular aerial display worthy of the Blue Angels, ending suddenly with straight-leg impact designed to jar every bone of its human cargo. Calico held his shape, body hunched close to his riding hand, free arm grabbing air and balance. He was grinning from ear to ear. The storm engulfed him, leaving nothing between life and the devil except his own skill and determination.

Two one-thousand. With incredible speed and power the Brahma twisted toward Calico's riding hand, throwing its horns over its own withers in an attempt to gore a human leg. Calico reacted immediately. Anticipating the beast's move, he dug a good hold with the blunt spur of his inside foot, and clawed the outside spur high over the bull's shoulder. Number 98 roared in pain and twisted back the other way, trying to gore anything on either side, or smash something with the hard poll on the top of its head.

Three one-thousand. Calico's neck snapped backward, hard, as Number 98 bucked and jerked in a rage, but he still got in several good-scoring licks with his spurs before the bull began twisting again.

Four one-thousand. There was no way to dummy the ride out, Number 98 was like a firecracker with dynamite in both ends. He bucked skyward and sun-fished his belly, rolling it upward on either side toward the sun, like he knew his own reputation as a man-killer was on the line. His head fought left and right, his horns searching viciously for a target in the muscled form astride his back.

Five one-thousand. Vision blurred, head pounding, ears ringing, tailbone jammed halfway up the spinal column, riding hand tearing apart. No chance to change strategy as the bull twisted in instead of out like it had done in the past.

Six one-thousand. Calico's nose started to bleed, pouring red corpuscles down his chin and splattering the chest and arms of his white shirt as Number 98 twisted beneath him.

Seven one-thousand. The bull bucked, threw his belly up, hit the ground straight-legged, and spun toward Calico's riding hand. To compensate, Calico pushed out desperately with his riding hand. He was so, so close. Unwillingly his riding arm was fatally straightened, leaving no elasticity between himself and Number 98, who had the taste of victory in his mouth.

Eight . . . Calico lost his shape and started to slide, spurs clawing for any kind of purchase. His grip opened involuntarily, and the bucking rigging began to slip across his palm. No way! No way! Calico screamed internally, and then the rigging caught between his entwined fingers . . . one-thousand.

The time horn sung out like the coming of angels, but the Brahma didn't care. He bucked and twisted again as the burden on its back tried to jump clear. There was no grace in the dismount. Calico bounced off on the wrong side of the bull, nearest his riding hand, and found his fingers still trapped in the rigging strap. Like a rag doll in heat, he slammed into the bull's side and caught the flat of a horn across his ribs for the effort. There was no air in his lungs, and he was only vaguely aware of Jazzbo Brenner throwing himself with suicidal abandon on Number 98's back and pulling his riding hand loose. Free of the rigging, Calico dropped to the pulverized ground and instinctively rolled away from the Brahma's slashing hooves.

Jazzbo and Ed Martin, the other rodeo clown, drew the enraged bull away from its human quarry, and an army of helping hands dragged Calico from the arena.

"I got the ride ... He never touched me!" Calico told the confusion around him.

"You're crazy as a loon! You're an idiot! Why did you have to hang on?" Ray Perkins yelled at him.

"I got the ride, damnit! I got the ride!" Calico screamed back.

There was more confusion, more pain, especially in his ribs, as Calico was loaded on a stretcher and hustled to the first-aid room. The portable X-ray machine was wheeled in and radiation took a couple of steps closer to sterilizing the world. The doctor came, went, returned, and went again. Calico found himself pushed, poked, and bounced worse than a repeat ride on Number 98. Finally there was the bliss of silence and aloneness. He closed his eyes and gave over to the pain.

He didn't know how long he'd kept his eyes closed, but when he opened them there was a woman sitting beside him holding his hand in her lap. Her blond hair was thick and lustrous, cut in the page-boy style currently back in vogue. It framed a heart-shaped face with cool blue eyes and a Cupid's bow mouth. Her body was slipped into skintight jeans and a frilly blouse which emphasized the slimness of her hips and the swell of her large breasts.

Calico took one look at her and snapped his eyes closed again. "Oh, crap! I've died and gone to Hell!" He pulled his hand back.

"It's nice to see you too, Walker!" Her voice still carried the same whine which had grated on Calico for the entire ten years of their marriage.

"Marsha, don't you know ex-wives are supposed to leave their ex-husbands alone? That's why they call them ex-wives."

"When will you grow up and realize you're going to kill yourself if you keep playing these stupid, childish games?" Marsha's cheeks were filled with color, and her voice had risen quickly to a shriek. It made Calico smile.

"I became a policeman so I wouldn't have to grow up," he replied, and was suddenly aware again of the pain in his ribs. "What does the doctor say this time?" he asked.

Marsha stood up from beside the first-aid cot and straightened her designer jeans over her eel-skin boots. "Nothing serious, he claims. Half a dozen bruised ribs, couple of hairline cracks. There may be more but you'll have to wait for the swelling to go down before anyone can tell for sure. You were lucky, again."

Calico nodded his head and groaned. Lucky, right. "Have they announced the all-round champion yet?"

"Calico! You piss me off so much I can't stand it! You're laying there, all busted up inside, and all you're worried about is some stupid rodeo championship!"

"I love it when you talk dirty, Marsha. How come you never did that when we were married?"

"God, you're a bastard. I hate you." Marsha had her voice under control again, and just stood glaring at Walker.

He grinned. "So that's why you divorced me. I thought it was because I left the toilet seat up or something."

"Ooooh!" Color rushed back to her cheeks, and Marsha looked around for something to throw. Anticipating her, Calico sprung off the cot to grab her. He didn't make it, the pain in his ribs driving him flat again.

"Calico!" Marsha knelt down over him, anger replaced by concern.

"I'm all right, woman. I'm all right." He coughed and pushed himself gingerly to a sitting position. "Just what are you doing here anyway?"

"I came with Sal Fazio."

"Oh, come on! Not Sergeant Sally. Haven't you realized yet he only takes you out because he thinks it gets to me?"

"Did you ever stop to think maybe I only go out with him because I know it gets to you?"

"Yeah, well ..." Calico paused to rub his ribs tenderly. "That still doesn't explain why you're dithering over me here. You told me once you'd had enough of that when we were married."

"I did and I'm not here for a booster dose. I came to give you this." Marsha picked up a voluminous carry-all bag from beside the cot and extracted a legal-size buff envelope. She dropped it in Calico's lap.

"What's this?"

"It's a subpoena. I'm taking you back to court. I want my share of your pension."

"What! You can't do that, Marsha. I bought you out of my pension when we got divorced eight years ago. You got a cash settlement. That's all you get." Calico's color was up now, and it was Marsha's turn to smile. She did it sweetly, like a cat twisting a barbecue stick into a canary.

"Sal says I can get more. He says there's been new legislation and if I take you back to court I can get half your pension for the ten years we lived together."

"And just where did Sweet Sally get his information?"

"Don't call him that! He's just passed his bar exam and was at a lawyer's business luncheon."

"A regular Conan the Rotarian, huh? Come on, Marsha, we don't need to do this. If you're hurting for spare change, I'll keep sending you the child-support money you'll lose when Ren turns eighteen next week."

"I just want what's mine, Calico. I don't need any handouts from you."

"Oh, right." Calico stood up in exasperation. "You just want half of the pension it took me thirty years to earn, and which I paid a huge chunk of change to buy you out of. Is that what you mean by getting what's yours?"

"I earned ten years' worth of that pension as much as you did!" Marsha angrily shoved her face toward Calico's, the four-inch heels on her boots making up only part of the size difference. "I put up with all the crap you and your partners pulled, like that time you and Wild John got drunk after work and you had him call me and tell me you were dead!"

Calico couldn't help but laugh at the memory.

"You bastard!" Marsha swung a closed fist and struck Calico on the arm. He backed away, fending her off while still laughing. "We'd only been married two months! I almost killed myself before you came home, I loved you that much!" Marsha struck out at him again, tears running down her face.

"And there was that time, when I was pregnant with Ren, and you and Wild John raced to Tijuana and back in the police car during morning watch. Had your pictures taken with the little Mexican man and his moth-eaten donkey. It was a stupid thing to do. You jeopardize your whole career, our life together, for what? A few laughs, a reputation? You never stopped doing those things. You and the rest of your Peter Pan buddies!" She hit him again and again in the arms until he grabbed her hands and forced them down.

"Okay. Okay." His ribs felt like they were being torn apart. "You're right, I've done some crazy things, but I don't regret one of them. And don't ever try to make out you didn't know what you were getting into. You loved the wildness. It was why you married me."

"People change, Calico."

"Only if they want to. I never have."

"No, you never have." Marsha had calmed down somewhat, but she still pulled her hands forcefully out of Calico's grip before turning away to pick up her purse again. She took out a pack of Kools and a lighter.

"I'll see you in court." She followed the statement up with a puff of smoke, a turned back, and a scuffling of high-heeled boots.

"Do you know how much your ass wiggles when you stalk around in those boots?" Calico called after her before she got out the tent exit.

"Drop dead!"

"Then you'd never get my pension."

"Screw you!" came the final note from outside.

Calico grunted and sat back on the cot, throwing the subpoena on the floor. The doctor came back in looking harried and disgruntled. He produced yards and yards of ace bandage and began wrapping it around Calico's torso.

"Ace bandages, the universal cure-all, huh, Doc?" Calico asked. "I understand you can get them in prescription strength now for acne and nose colds." He winced as the diminutive doctor pulled the bandages tight and then handed him a slip of paper.

"Here's a prescription for pain killers. You'll need them by morning." The doctor's bedside manner was terse to say the least.

"I've got to go to work in the morning. Eleven o'clock tonight, actually."

"There's no way you're going to be up to that. You'll be lucky if you can get up to go to the bathroom by tomorrow."

"Doc, I haven't taken a sick day off work since I got on the force, that'll be thirty years next Sunday, and I ain't about to take one now because of a few bruised ribs."

You're crazy if . . ."

"Why does everybody keep telling me that?" Calico interrupted. "It's my body, I know what it can take."

The doctor shook his head and moved out of the tent without further comment. Cowboys and cops, there was no arguing with them. Calico followed the silent exit with his eyes and saw a familiar figure standing by the tent flap.

"Hey, Ren. How you doing, boy?" Calico threw the doctor's prescription on the tent floor next to the subpoena, and waved his son inside.

"Better 'n you by the looks of it," Ren Walker answered his father. "Berserko come by and give you a bad time?" He was as tall as his father, but graced with his mother's slimness. His fine brown hair was cut short, and businesslike glasses protected his washed-out blue eyes. Like his father, his face wasn't model handsome, but instead was made up of lines and angles, giving it a rugged appearance. Most women liked it.

"How many times I got to tell you not to call your mother that?" Calico reached for his shirt on the back of the cot and struggled to put it on. Ren didn't offer to help. He knew better.

"I've lived with her for eighteen years. That's seven more than you did. I think I've got a handle on what she's really like," Ren retorted sharply.

"It still don’t make it right, you calling her names. She never let you want for anything."

"Let me tell you something, Pop. Most kids get all broken up inside when their parents get divorced. After ten years of seeing how Mom treated you, I couldn't have been happier when you two split."

"She loves you, Ren."

"Only when it suits her."

The two men were silent as Calico did up his shirt buttons and stood up to tuck it in.

"Anyway," Ren said eventually, "I've got another surprise for you." He handed his father a sheaf of papers.

"This is my day for surprises. What is it this time?"

"It's the charter license for King Harbor."

"You mean we got it?" Calico's face lit up with a huge grin.

"Yeah, we did. I found a boat too."

"No kidding. Where?"

"Newport Beach. It's an Egg Harbor. A forty-six footer, high bow and low stern, supercharged Caterpillar twin diesels, and forward fly bridge. Draws three feet. Everything we've been looking for." Excitement danced behind Ren's glasses as he spoke.

"How much?"

"With full instrumentation, a hundred and ten thousand. You got to come down and have a look at it. It's beautiful."

"You got it. How about tomorrow after I get off work? About ten o'clock okay?" Affectionately, Calico reached out and grasped his son's arm. "Ren, are you sure this is what you want to do? Helping your old man get started in the charter fishing business ain't exactly riding in the fast lane. And what about your writing and the job with that fancy newspaper?"

"Pop"— Ren turned serious—"I can't wait for you to retire next week and get into something new. I've been planning it for as long as you have. It will finally give me the chance to catch up on all those years when you weren't there. I'm doing this for me, not you. I can still write, and the newspaper will always be there. I need to get some college behind me before they take me seriously anyway, and I can do that while we're working together."

The two men smiled at each other and then Calico's expression changed.

"Hey, who won the all-round?"

Ren laughed. "Was there ever any doubt? Number 98's a beaten bull. You scored 191. Beat that young upstart, Keegan, all to death."

Calico smiled again. "Well, then. Let me get out of here and pick up my prize money. I need the cab fare home."

As they walked out of the tent, they both saw Sal Fazio entering one of the portable toilets. Calico looked at Ren who grinned mischievously back at him.

"No, we couldn't do a thing like that, could we?" Calico asked his son, both working on the same wavelength.

"No. It just wouldn't be right," Ren responded. Both men, though, had turned away from the rodeo arena and were sneaking up on the occupied convenience.

Giggling like naughty school boys, they silently slipped a discarded length of rope around the cubical and tied it securely with a couple of half hitches. They laughed louder.

"What's going on out there?" asked Fazio from inside. "Is that you, Walker? I'll have your ass if you do something stupid!"

Calico and Ren had tears of laughter flowing down their faces as they pushed the toilet over onto its door. Fazio screamed from inside. "Walker, I'll kill you!"

Around the two men, other cowboys, tired from the day's events, stopped loading their horses and joined in the laughter. The police band in the background was playing "Good-bye, Old Paint" as the sun broke partially through the purple-gray sky. Ren and Calico saluted the now bouncing, overturned convenience as if it contained an admiral gone down with his ship.

Calico snapped off his salute and grabbed the exposed collection bag beneath the toilet and shook it vigorously. "Watch closely, boy. You have to make sure the contents get distributed evenly. It's a fine art, but, if you work hard, you too can become a professional sphincter."

Ren couldn't stop laughing. "Where the hell did you get your mean streak, Pop?" he asked, gasping for breath.

"Mail-order catalog. Came free with a complete collection of Elvis records."






Wednesday, September 7, 2011







Even before he turned the black DEA sedan through the cemetery gates, Lew Sutton knew his partner was not going to play ball. Gordon Fontaine hated all drug dealers, but he was obsessed with Zachary Arceneaux. In his bones, Lew could feel trouble brewing. It always did when Gordy was around.

"Are you going to be a good boy?" Lew asked, as he stopped the car next to a curb overrun with crab grass. Worn and discolored headstones tilted at higgledy-piggledy angles all around them.

"If I was going to be good, would I even be here after getting chewed out by our boss for the disturbance I caused last night at the rosary?" Gordy was slumped down on the passenger side of the car with his feet up on the torn and battered dashboard. He wore dark glasses and a loud Mexican guayabera shirt. The shirt hung out over his jeans to hide the gun on his hip. Two toothpicks moved cynically back and forth across his lips. Gordy's version of cool.

Lew laughed quietly. "I thought I was going to have a heart attack when you started trying to haul the body out of the coffin and Arceneaux's goons had to restrain you.

"Yeah, and a fat lot of help you were. I'm telling you that was no cadaver in that coffin. At least it wasn't Arceneaux's cadaver.

"Come on, Gordy," Lew implored. "Arceneaux is dead. You saw the body at the viewing last night. Let it go, man. Don't let him ruin your career from beyond the grave."

Gordy shot upright in his seat. "He ain't dead and you know it. If that body we saw last night was any more waxy, it would have had a wick in it. You saw it yourself – the body was sweating."

"Yeah, yeah. You've told it all to me before," Lew put up a hand to interrupt. "Dead bodies don't sweat, but wax ones do."

"Hey, pal," Gordy said. "Nobody twisted your arm to make you come here today. The director is after my badge not yours. If you want to split and go chase street junkies, just drop me here." Gordy started to get out of the sedan, but Lew reached across with a long fingered claw and grabbed him by the shirt collar.

"Damn it, Gordy. Don't screw with me." Lew hauled Gordy back into the car. "We've been partners for a long time. I wanted to put Arceneaux away as much as you did."

"No way! Nobody wants Arceneaux as bad as me."

"There you go with that present tense stuff again. The man is dead. Gone! Finito! Crossed over to the other side! He's gone for a cruise down the River Styx!"

"In a parallel universe maybe, but not in this world. I'm telling you Zachary Arceneaux is alive! I can feel it."

Lew threw up his hands. "Next, you'll be telling Jimmy Hoffa is still alive."

"Yeah, well, you probably bought all that crap about Paul McCartney being dead. Play Abbey Road backward – 'Paul is dead, Paul is dead.' What a load of crap!"

"Gordy, we saw the body!"

"We saw a body. It wasn't Arceneaux's."

Zachary Arceneaux was known in New Orleans as King Cajun. His organization ran drugs through the Louisiana bayous and swamps with the ease and viciousness of a gator running down its prey. The Mississippi River had become Arceneaux's personal drug artery to the rest of the country.

Arceneaux was a merciless, sadistic taskmaster with a finger in every profitable pie – prostitution, gambling, politicians, real estate, and every other hydra-head of corruption. Drugs, however, were his power base. Anyone who threatened that area of his empire felt the bone crushing bite of King Cajun.

Gordy's father, Max Fontaine, had been one of those caught in Arceneaux's jaws.

Fifteen years ago, Max Fontaine had been the Drug Enforcement Agency's top undercover agent. His job had forced him to be away from home a lot. Since Gordy's mother had died in labor, this meant that Gordy was left with an aging and childless aunt and uncle to raise him. Gordy didn't mind. He idolized his father, and his aunt and uncle were good to him.

As Gordy grew up on stories of his father's exploits, he came to believe Max was invulnerable – a champion who was far more interesting than any comic book superhero.

When Max told his son he was going undercover in the bayous, Gordy figured it was just another routine assignment. Max would be gone for a few months and then return with another batch of thrilling tales. This time, though, things were different. Max didn't come back. When Arceneaux chewed Max up and spat his tattered body out on the shores of the Mississippi, Gordy's future became locked in. Arceneaux was going to be taken down, and Gordy was going to do it.

Trading on his father's old contacts, Gordy joined the Drug Enforcement Agency as soon as he was old enough. His abrasive personality did little to endear him to his DEA peers, but his impressive arrest record kept his career on track.

For the past ten years, he had been playing gator and mouse with his father's old adversary. And just when the mouse had been about to turn the tables, the gator had been declared dead.

Gordy was convinced, however, that the gator was only playing opossum.

"We going to do this, or what?" Gordy asked.

"Yeah, yeah." Lew shook his head and put the car back into gear.

Gordy slumped down in the car seat again and returned his feet to the dashboard. He adjusted his one-way aviator sunglasses and a thin smile ran across his lips.

The DEA sedan moved further into the cemetery.

Around the next bend, the two agents could see a huge crowd of mourners gathered on a grassy knoll. The area was far better tended and much less congested with headstones than the rest of the cemetery. The day was hot and sticky, but the mourners all wore long dark coats.

"Would you look at that," Gordy said. "King Cajun even gets a burial plot in the middle of the ground reserved for families and descendants of the city's founding fathers. It's disgusting."

"Maybe so," Lew said. "But it is appropriate. This city was founded on vice, and Arceneaux's legacy certainly fits in."

There was a long line of black limousines park along the curb below the grave site. Uniformed chauffeurs lounged against bumpers or huddled in small groups. Lew tagged the DEA sedan onto the end of the line. The DEA radio under the dash crackled, and several of the chauffeurs turned in the agent's direction as the sound reached their ears through Gordy's open window. Aside from the clustered chauffeurs, other hard looking men stood in pairs located at strategic points around the area.

"Looks like they're expecting us," Lew told Gordy.

Gordy shrugged. "And why not? After ten years of being Arceneaux's personal pain in the butt, you would have thought we'd earned the right to a front row seat." The twin toothpicks traveled rapidly back and forth across his lips as he spoke.

Lew laughed softly in agreement. "Arceneaux must have been fit to be tied when we took down his last five shipments. He must have taken his organization apart looking for the source."

"We had him, man," Gordy said. "He was going down for the long fall and he knew it. I've waited years to slap the cuffs on him, and when I finally get him bang to rights –" Gordy's voice trailed off with a sound full of choked emotion.

"– Arceneaux up and dies of a heart attack," Lew finished the sentence for his partner. "Damn inconsiderate of him."

"Don't make fun of me, partner. There's no justice if Arceneaux is dead. Death is too good for him. He deserves to be put away in a hell hole of a jail. A place where he could end up as desperate as all the runaways he hooked on junk and then put on the streets to peddle their asses."

The two partners sat and watched the scene in silence for a few minutes. A Catholic priest was intoning low mumbles over the grave.

"How do you want to play this?" Lew asked eventually.

"By ear, my man, by ear." Gordy flipped the toothpicks out of his mouth and put his feet down. "Why don't you start out by getting the license plates off of all the cars in the funeral party? It might be real interesting to see who's who."

"What are you going to do?"

Gordy opened the door on his side of the car and started to slide out. "It's cool," he said. "I'm simply going to go and pay my last respects."

Lew followed Gordy's lead and exited their vehicle.

Physically the two DEA agents couldn't have been more opposite. Lew was tall, slender, and dyspeptic looking – like a constipated Japanese crane. He was all elbows and knees, angles and bones. His casual clothing hung on him like Goodwill castoffs, and his lightweight black jacket did little to hide the bulge of the 9mm automatic he carried in a worn shoulder holster.

By contrast, Gordy was a five foot six inch bantam rooster. He'd only made the DEA's height requirements by taping flesh colored foam wedges under his heels for the entrance physical. He was neat and confident, his full black hair flowing in deep waves across his skull. He was the same age as Lew, thirty-one, but looked ten years younger. It wasn't that Gordy looked all that young, but more the fact that Lew was not aging gracefully.

The two men were a good team because Lew was constantly in awe of Gordy's ability to never be at a loss for what to do or say next. However, Gordy certainly had his share of detractors in the agency – old partners or supervisors who despised his cocky attitude and king-size ego. Whenever the booze began to flow at agency parties, everyone knew who was being talked about when "Walking Small" was mentioned.

While trying to keep one eye on Gordy, Lew took a slim notebook out of his inside jacket pocket and began to write down license numbers with the stub of a pencil.

"What the hell are you doing, buddy?" asked a limo chauffeur when he saw Lew bend down behind one of the cars for a closer look.

Lew flashed his DEA identification toward the man like he was trying to hold a vampire at bay with a silver crucifix.

"Don't you guys ever take the day off?" the chauffeur asked with disdain. "Ain't you got no respect for the dead."

Lew fired back a line he'd picked up from Gordy. "Crawl back under your rock, scumbag, before I book you for filth and ignorance in the presence of a federal officer."

The chauffeur held up his hands in a placating gesture and backed off. He wasn't being paid to handle cop grief. That job was reserved for the hardmen who were dotted around the cemetery.


On the other side of the grassy knoll, where the mourners had gathered to see Arceneaux put to his final rest, was a higher rise. A small pathway, barely wide enough for a car, led to the top of the second rise and then down again on the other side. At the crest, a lone limousine sat overlooking the funeral ceremony.

In the rear seat of the limo, a dark man close to fifty years old sat on the bench seat staring intently out of the side window. He had a face like a bowl full of elbows, all knots and cheekbones. He wore an expensive blue pin-striped suit with a white carnation attached to the stylishly narrow lapel.

Across from the dark man, one of the two men sitting on the limo's jump seats eyed the older man surreptitiously. He figured the price of the silk tie tucked into the pin-striped suit would equal about a month's worth of his own GS-12 government salary.

"I told you he would be here," the dark man said in a gravel voice. He pointed out the bulletproof glass of the window to where Gordy was advancing on the funeral party. "He's going to interrupt the best part. You told me he had been controlled. I want him stopped. Now!"

The young man who had been figuring the price of the tie grabbed a two-way radio from the floor below him and began to talk rapidly into it.

Two of the hardmen near the grave each put a hand to their ear, looked around with slitted eyes, spotted Gordy and began moving toward him.

Gordy saw them coming and slowed his advance.

"You're out of here, Fontaine," the first hardman said as he approached Gordy.

"You and what two armies?" Gordy asked with a cocky smile slapped across his face.

"These two," the hardman said. With his right hand he pulled back his sport coat to reveal a gun in a shoulder holster. "Army number one," he said. With his left had he fished out and flashed a set of credentials. "And army number two."

Gordy squinted at the government pasteboard and the crackerjack prize badge the hardman was showing. "The FBI?" Gordy said in mock awe.

"I'm Agent Jordan," said the hardman. "And this is Agent Lambert." He indicated the second hardman who had moved up behind him. "We've been told to escort you from the area."

Gordy shook his head thoughtfully. "What in the hell are FBI agents doing playing security guards at a drug king's funeral? Has the world gone mad? Now, I know there's something fishy going on. And I'm going to prove it!"

Catching the agents off guard, Gordy faked a move to his left and then dodged back to his right. When Jordan reached out to grab him, Gordy kicked the FBI agent hard in the shin and then savagely pushed him backward into Lambert.

Jordan, who was sarcastically nicknamed "Lucky" because everything always seemed to happen to him, cried out as both agents crashed to the ground in a tangled heap. Showing a clean pair of heels, Gordy ran past them and started up the grassy knoll to where the casket was being lowered.

Lew Sutton looked up from his license gathering when he heard Jordan's shout. He saw Gordy running away from the two men who were sprawled on the ground, and he knew his partner had really blown things wide open this time. When he noticed a half dozen of the other hardmen in the area converging on Gordy, Lew also started running in the same direction. Gordy was his partner, and come hell or high water, you never let your partner hang in the wind.

Shoving his way through the startled mourners at the grave side, Gordy stopped beside the small winch that was lowering the casket. "Federal officer," he said, waving his DEA credentials over his head with one hand while trying to find the off switch for the winch with the other. "I want this coffin opened, and I want it opened now!"

"Please," said the shocked priest. "This is a funeral. Show some respect in the presence of God."

"Listen, padre," Gordy said, turning toward the priest. "God wouldn't waste his time showing up at a funeral for Zachary Arceneaux. This piece of dog excrement you think you're burying isn't worth pissing on. But don't worry about it because Arceneaux isn't even in this fancy box."

The coffin was suspended over the grave by two nylon lowering bands controlled by the winch. After securing the winch, Gordy stepped over to the coffin and knelt down on the edge of the turf next to it.

The burial box was an ornately worked piece of art. Fashioned from hand rubbed teak, it was bejeweled with intricate Sterling silver handles and overlays. Gordy reached out and began to unscrew the silver angel-shaped wing nuts that secured the lid. The mourners at the grave side began to wail and moan. None of them, however, wanted to interfere with the madman in their midst.

"Please stop," the priest implored again. Anger at Gordy's blasphemy suffused his face with color. Swirling his robes around him, he grabbed Gordy's shoulder and tried to pull him away from the coffin.

Gordy, knowing he didn't have much time, turned from his efforts to undo the coffin lid, pulled his gun off his hip and pointed it at the priest. "Back off, padre. This is the last time I'm going to tell you."

Shocked beyond belief, the priest backed away. Gordy returned to his precarious balancing act over the coffin and began unscrewing angels again. They seemed to be multiplying.

Looking around him, the priest spotted the quick release button on the winch. Placing his hand together, he closed his eyes and quickly mumbled the final lines of the grave side service. "Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust. May this body be received into the loving arms of our heavenly and most merciful Father. Amen." The priest's voice rose loudly as he intoned the final word.

"Amen!" responded the mourners in unison.

Gordy was removing the last of the angel-shaped wing nuts, leaning fully across the coffin lid to do it, when the priest hit the winch's quick release button. Gordy and the coffin disappeared into the grave like a spooked rabbit down a hole.

The muffled thump of the coffin as it hit the dirt six feet below acted like a signal to the mourners. As if a switch had been thrown, the grave side onlookers suddenly energized, shucking off their long black coats to reveal beautiful multi¬colored clothing beneath.

Brass instruments appeared as if by magic, and the sounds of cool Bourbon Street jazz pierced the shimmering heat of the day. A drum picked up a back beat and the mourners began to dance. Moving their sinewy bodies to the fast paced music the close packed revelers hugged each other in celebration of the dead's departure for a higher plane – a tradition older than jazz itself.

In their enthusiasm, several brightly clad women hindered the progress of the dark suited FBI agents, who were attempting to converge on Gordy, by sweeping them into the dance. The agents tried to get clear, but it was like swimming against a red tide.

Inside the open grave, the lid of the coffin had bounced clear and was resting upright on one edge. Gordy hadn't been so lucky. He was lying half-on and half-off the exposed corpse. Blinded by swirling dust and earth, he pushed out a hand for leverage and found his fingers sliding across the wax on the corpse's face. He yelled out in horror as the features of Zachary Arceneaux were wiped away to reveal the dead face of another man underneath. The corpse wasn't Arceneaux's, but it was still a body, a dead one, and Gordy wanted to get as far away from it as possible.

Fumbling for his gun, which had bounced away from him when he was dropped into the grave, Gordy stood up sputtering and swearing. Even standing on the corpse with his weight crushing the brittle bones beneath him, his head barely rose above the level of the grave mouth. He grabbed the sides of the grave to pull himself out, but the loose earth kept falling in on him.

Finally, using the lid of the coffin for a boost, Gordy rolled out onto the cemetery turf. All around him, the legs of dancers swirled and kicked to the beat of the jazz that filled the air.


"I want him dead! do you hear me? Kill him!" The dark man in the back seat of the limo was screaming at the two FBI agents sitting across from him on the jump seats.

The smoke black window separating the front seat from the rear of the limo slid silently down. Senior FBI Agent Dwayne Bowman sat on the passenger side of the front seat next to the liveried driver. Bowman was wearing a ten year old suit that had been out of style since he'd purchased it at a J.C. Penney's two-for-one clearance sale. In his thirty-five year career with the bureau this was the most distasteful assignment he'd ever pulled. He turned in his seat to look into the back of the limo.

"The FBI is not in the habit of murdering other federal law enforcement officers, Arceneaux. If you ask me, this whole scenario of indulging your whim to attend your own funeral is a stupid waste of taxpayer's money. You're a scuz-bucket of the first order, and should be treated as such."

Arceneaux turned his piercing blue eyes on the older agent. "Nobody talks to me that way. You will pay for your insolence."
"I'm not one of your flunkies, Arceneaux." Bowman was unfazed even though his younger counterparts had turned pale under their tans. "You came to us, remember." He pointed a thick, scarred thumb in the direction of the debacle by the grave side. "Gordon Fontaine may have the personality of an exhibit at a proctologist's convention, but he's a hell of a cop. He destroyed your empire almost single-handedly, forced you into a corner, and survived your assassination attempts long enough to convince a Grand Jury to indict you." Bowman chuckled ruefully. "You had two choices," he continued. "Go to jail, or turn State's evidence. So, you came to the FBI because you couldn't stand the thought of going to the DEA and having Fontaine gloating over you every time you turned around. If you ask me, though, the witness protection program is too good for you. We should have told you to go pound sand instead of setting up this elaborate con-job."

Arceneaux was on a slow boil. "Your superiors seem to think the information I can provide them with is worth the effort. I'm sure they will greatly frown on your attitude. I will make sure that they squash you like a bug, little man."

"What are they going to do to me?" Bowman asked. "Delegate me to assignments where I have to protect sheep-dip like you?" He brought out and lighted a thin cigar, blowing smoke in Arceneaux's direction. "What you don't understand is that me and the Bureau director have a lot in common. We're both as high as we're going to go on this job. I'd never make a good area supervisor anyway. I couldn't take the operations."

"Operations?" queried one of the younger agents in surprise. He hoped to be promoted in the very near future.

"Didn't they tell you in the academy at Quantico?" Bowman asked seriously. "Before anyone can become an area supervisor they have to have their spine sucked out. And if you get promoted any higher then you have to have a plate glass window installed in your stomach so you can see where you're going with your head up your ass." Bowman broke out in peals of laughter.


Gordy felt a hand grab at the back of his neck. He rolled away and kicked out catching Agent 'Lucky' Jordan on the shin again.

"Look for yourself," Gordy yelled at Jordan. "That isn't Arceneaux in the coffin!"

Other FBI agents had surrounded the grave mouth. They were all facing outward in an effort to keep back the reporters and photographers who had come to cover the funeral.

The revelers who had been so mournful at the start of the funeral were forming themselves into a conga line. Hanging onto each other, they began to wind their way through the headstones and out of the cemetery to continue the wake elsewhere.

"You're under arrest, Fontaine," Jordan said. He was still bent over rubbing his shin. "You're going to lose your badge behind this."

"Arceneaux is not dead!" Gordy screamed at the man. Several other agents began to move toward him. Gordy began rapidly backing away from the grave and started up the second grassy knoll toward the limo. Jordan and the others began to chase him.

Seeing the limo at the top of the second knoll, things suddenly became clear for Gordy. Instinctively, he knew Arceneaux was inside the long, black vehicle, and with speed born of desperation, he picked up his pace.

In the front of the limo, Bowman saw Gordy coming and spoke rapidly to the driver. "Get us clear of here."

Arceneaux watched as Gordy ran toward the vehicle. All his anger toward the DEA agent welled up inside of him. Fontaine may have won another round, but Arceneaux was far from taking a ten count. With the cunning instincts that had kept him alive for years in the middle of the drug wars, Arceneaux decided to make sure Gordy wouldn't be around for the next round.

Depressing the electric window button with a finger from his left hand, Arceneaux snaked out his right hand and snatched the revolver out of the holster of the young agent nearest to him.

Gordy saw the limo's window slide down to reveal the face of the man he'd hated for so long. He saw the gun in Arceneaux's hand as it stuck its ugly snout out of the window and spat fire. Stone splinters exploded from a headstone directly in front of Gordy, but before he could react he was tackled from behind as the gun fired again.

"Stay down," Lew Sutton shouted at his partner, his hands wrapped around Gordy's knees. Though he appeared long, lean, and awkward, Lew Sutton could run like the wind. He'd passed Jordan, Lambert, and the other agents in pursuit of Gordy like they were running in quicksand.

Another hand appeared in the window of the limo to grab at the gun, but not before it fired again. The shot went wide of Gordy and Lew, but 'Lucky' Jordan stumbled and fell as the projectile slammed into his thigh.

"You've got to give it up, Gordy," Lew said.

"Lew," Gordy was desperate, "Arceneaux is in that limo." He pointed at the rapidly disappearing vehicle.

"You need help, Gordy," Lew said. "Arceneaux is dead."

"Lew, they're going to put me away for this. You have to help me."

Lew looked at the rapidly approached FBI agents. One of their own had gone down and it was clear they thought Gordy had fired the shots. Hadn't they seen the gun in the limo window? "Please, Lew?"

Lew released Gordy's legs, and the two men stood up. Lew had his back to the onrushing agents. "One chance," he said to his partner. "Punch me and run. And God go with you, buddy."

Gordy didn't hesitate. He delivered a roundhouse punch to Lew's jaw that sent the skinny man reeling down the hill.

"Strike!" Gordy yelled in triumph as Lew crashed into the FBI agents, knocking them to the ground like a scene from a Keystone Kops' movie.

Gordy hit his afterburners and began running for his life.




The season finale of Take The Money And Run took us out with one of our most suspenseful episodes. Hiders Kathryn Waltz and Anthony Fanelli ran Mary and I and our detectives, Mike Byrne and John Scalise, all over Chicago in a chase for the briefcase . . . But we were almost there, folks – 200 yards away from the briefcase with $100,000 when time ran out.

But here’s the dirty little secret about Episode 6: Our season finale of Take The Money And Run was actually the first episode shot – as the series pilot –
over a year ago!

While the producers had done some partial dry runs and simulations of the Take The Money And Run format, this episode was the first time the game was being run for real, and there were still a few bugs to be shaken out. As a result, there were some specific differences between this episode and the others, which we started shooting six months later.

First, our local detectives in this episode were not contestants. Even if Mike and John had managed to snag the briefcase at the last second, they wouldn’t have won the money. Nobody would have won the money – which would have left the episode with a very flat feeling. Realizing this, the producers adjusted the format for all the following shows – making the detectives contestants and ensuring a winner every episode. This new wrinkle also gave added incentive to the local detectives.

Second, how many of you noticed we didn’t get the GPS route in this episode? All we were given was the start point and the end point (along with the usual phone records and receipts) of the hiders’ route – talk about lost in the woods – and we still managed to get within 200 yards of the briefcase by the end of the 48 hours. Realizing the difficulties we encountered in this episode, we were given the GPS route (without showing any stops) in the following episodes.

Thirdly, you couldn’t tell it from the way this episode was edited, but there was another member of or investigative team – our very own computer guru. This fine young man (you can see his back in a couple of scenes) did all our computer searches (social networks, real estate records, public phone indexes, etc.). However, once the detectives became contestants, game show legal rules dictated they would have to do all the computer work themselves – thus, our computer guru from this episode found himself on the cutting room floor.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, this was the first time Mary and I were thrown into the middle of the Take The Money And Run madness. We were literally flying by the seat of our pants and making things up as we went along. Knowing we didn’t have true guilt or the threat of long-term incarceration to use as interrogatory hammers, we were having to clean the rust off of some of our more subtle interrogation techniques to get to the information we wanted.

A shout out to Kate and Anthony who played the game as seriously as we did (and to John and Vinnie – you know who you rascals are). We appreciated them and their subsequent friendship once all was said and done – even if one of the hardest things Mary and I have ever had to do was put smiles on our faces when Zen walked in and gave them the money . . .

By the time we were filming the two San Francisco episodes in January of this year, Mary and I had found our sea legs. We realized there was some wiggle room within the interrogation parameters of the game we didn’t have legally in the real world – things we could take advantage of in breaking down contestants like Paul Bustamante (who was a lot tougher than he looked in the episode edit).

So, we walked out of San Francisco with two wins under our belts, feeling a little cocky, only to run into Jimmy and Zuly in Miami in February who really played hardball against us to win the money.

However, with the help of detective contestants George and Manny, we came back again in the second Miami episode against the South Beach sisters, Rebecca and Jenny. Then, in March, our luck held against Beau and Ron back in Chicago.

Finishing the season with 4 wins in 6 episodes made us feel pretty good – professional pride intact – a record we couldn’t have achieved without the help of the local detective contestants, some almost sleepless nights during the 48 hours of the games, and a lot of prior experience cracking suspects in the real world.

Much thanks to everyone who has watched and supported us this season. Mary and I have enjoyed interacting with you on ABC’s live chats, on the various call-in radio shows we’ve been participated in, on our blogs, and on all the various social networks, especially Facebook and Twitter. Please stay in touch. It has been a blast.

We are still awaiting word from ABC about a second season – our fingers are obviously crossed. As soon as we know, we’ll let you know.





Traveling to Venice to investigate the mysterious death of his father, David, a famous archaeologist and diver, unearths a killer secret that lies beneath the Venetian waters.

When a ruthless mob boss discovers his findings and kidnaps his girlfriend, David must brave the dangerous, shark-infested waters once again to recover the treasure and rescue his girlfriend.

A dark and mysterious chase ensues and secrets are revealed in this sci-fi thriller.





video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Tuesday, September 6, 2011






I am a very lucky guy.

For over twenty years, I've been able to pursue two careers that continue to excite me and reward me—putting villains in jail, and putting words on paper. As a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department specializing in sex crimes, I continue to chase bad guys and solve crimes. Under the cover of darkness, however, I slip into my writer's cloak and find cathartic release by telling stories in the form of novels, screenplays, and short stories for a (hopefully) growing audience.

Such a deal.

There is no doubt each profession feeds the other, occasionally colliding in a mix of coincidence no fiction reader would ever accept. The first time it happened, I was the investigating officer during the trial of a child molester. In court, potential jurors were being asked if they knew anybody connected with the case. A frail, older lady in the back of the jury box answered by stating, "Does it matter if I'm reading Detective Bishop's book?" With that, she reached into the stereotypical knitting bag at her feet, removed a copy of Citadel Run, and waved it over her head with a flourish. The defense attorney immediately removed her from the jury. Order was eventually restored and the trial proceeded. After the lunch recess, however, five other jurors and the judge returned to the courtroom with copies of the book and asked for signatures. The defendant didn't stand a chance.

On another occasion, my partner and I responded to a suspect's residence to arrest him for rape. It was early by dirtbag standards and we were forced to rouse the suspect from his slumbers. Wearing only a tattered robe over his birthday suit, the suspect failed to follow the rules (admit nothing, deny everything, demand proof) by helpfully acknowledging his guilt and effectively talking his way to jail.

Since he was cooperating, the suspect was given the chance to get dressed before being unceremoniously dragged off to his reservation at the Gray Bar Motel. This involved having the handcuffed suspect stand in the doorway to his bedroom while directing my partner to what clothing he wanted to wear. Attempting to retrieve a pair of grubby undershorts from the far side of the bed, my partner (a trained observer) noticed a paperback copy of my novel Kill Me Again splayed open on the nightstand. He held it up and showed it to me with an amused look on his face. We both knew it would be at least twelve years before the suspect had a chance to finish the final chapter.

How strange to be reading a book by an author at night, only to have him turn up to arrest you the following morning. How much stranger for the detective/author to attempt to get additional charges filed for cracking the book's spine. Some things deserve severe punishment.

As a detective, I often get calls from other writers looking to enhance their knowledge of police procedures. I experienced a twist on this scenario after reading The Devil's Waltz by bestselling author and child psychologist Jonathan Kellerman.

The morning after finishing the book, I began an investigation of a bizarre child abuse case. Fresh in my mind was Kellerman's detailed description of a rare disorder known as Munchausen by proxy (a parent who purposely and repeatedly injures or makes a child sick in order to get sympathy for themselves). In short order, I realized what I was up against and called Jonathan for an expert's confirmation. The collaboration led to the arrest and conviction of the suspect, and a new life for the victim. Satisfaction doesn't get much better.

In November of 1993,1 sold the second book in my Fey Croaker series, Twice Dead, based on a twenty-page outline. The storyline, which was set in the LAPD's West Los Angeles Division where I work, involved a series of murders possibly committed by a black ex-football player turned actor. I was halfway through writing the book when, on June 12,1994, the O. J. Simpson case exploded. Not only were the inner workings of the virtually unknown West Los Angeles Division suddenly thrust into the national consciousness, but the parallels between the two stories would make the book look like nothing more than a headline rip-off by the time it was published.

I scrambled to restructure the novel. The black ex-football player turned actor became an NBA star rookie, the victims male instead of female. As this was the second book in an ongoing series about a female homicide supervisor assigned to West Los Angeles Division, the background of the character had to stand.

Near the end of the book, a subplot involving audio tapes of my main character's psychiatric sessions being made public has a bearing on the outcome of the story. The day I turned the book into the editor, the controversy over the Mark Fuhrman tapes broke in the OJ Simpson case. As usual, fiction couldn't stay ahead of real life.

Inspiration also strikes at inconvenient times. During the LA riots in 1992, all detectives were back in uniform, working twelve-hour shifts, three to a patrol car. We spent our time confronting looters, facing down angry mobs, and racing up ladders behind firemen to protect them from snipers (as we had body armor and they didn't—a situation since rectified). I was in more physical confrontations in those five days of civilian rage than any other intense period during my career.

Four days into the debacle, I found myself in the passenger seat of the patrol car scribbling madly into my two-inch by three-inch officers' notebook. When my partners demanded to know what I was doing, I tried to explain I had to do a brain dump—get the images and impressions of the prior days onto paper—so I could continue to focus without fear of losing my writer's edge. They thought I was nuts, but by that time in my twin careers, writing had become a habit. Four days away from the word processor and I was going through withdrawals.

Even minor career crossovers can cause problems. In 1988, while assigned to a nationwide terrorist task force, I was interrogating a suspect with the assistance of a southern FBI agent. After the suspect had told a particularly bald lie (we knew he was lying because his lips were moving), the southern FBI agent moved in close and drawled, "Son, that hound just won't hunt. And if you don't tell me the truth you're gonna find yourself taking a dirt nap." What did he say? What a great couple of lines!

I knew I'd forget the verisimilitude of those statements if I waited any length of time before writing them down, but I had an obligation to concentrate on the interrogation—not on the perfect place to put the words. Thinking fast, I unobtrusively excused myself from the interview room and scribbled down the lines of dialogue on the back of a candy wrapper. I then returned to the continuing interrogation safe in the knowledge my two masters were being served.

And so we come to the stories in this collection. A couple are from the early days of my fiction career, when I struggled under the misconception that writing short stories was a good way to learn how to write a novel (in actuality the reverse is true). Most are from other points along the way, with the title novella written especially for this collection. Many, however, were conceived from an idea or a what if? generated by a scenario from my day job career crossover of the best kind.

As you read, remember truth is always stranger than fiction, and the realities learned on-the-job are the strangest truths of all. Enjoy.

Paul Bishop
North of LA


I’ve been a runner all my life, or at least as much of it as I can remember. At one point, I became obsessed with marathoning, putting in 120 mile weeks in preparation for qualifying for and then running the Boston Marathon for my 50th birthday. I still squeeze in five to eight miles a day, every day. A day without running and I get pretty prickly to be around. I’d always wanted to write a story around a runner, but it wasn’t until a real life incident involving an LAPD officer who went running in the Santa Monica Mountains and never returned that I found the heart of Running Wylde…



"Where are you, Dev?"

"Out here," Devlin Wylde called.

Following the sound of Her husband's voice, Hanna stepped into the enclosed patio at the back of their house. Beyond, their backyard swept through a natural meadow to the base of the Santa Monica foothills. Deer often grazed at the edges during twilight.

"Let's go," Hanna said. "Before the phone rings."

"Almost with you," Devlin said. He popped heel inserts into his Brooks, slipped the running shoes on and pulled the laces tight. "Any last minute glitches with the race preparations?"

"That’s an understatement. What was I thinking when I started this project? It was supposed to be a simple 10-K fun run to raise money for the cougar habitat, and it has turned into this monster with a life of its own." Hanna was wearing a brilliant white t-shirt with a stylized line drawing of a cougar on the front. The words 1st Annual Cougar Run were emblazoned on the back across a simple map of the Santa Monica mountains. Hanna worked the area as a park ranger. Below the t-shirt, she wore pink running shorts cut high on tanned, muscled legs. Her own running shoes were battered veterans of the trail. With short, chopped hair, she looked fast even standing still.

"I told you not to volunteer," Devlin chuckled. ignoring the gibe, Hanna stretched her thighs, alternately pulling each foot up behind her buttocks.

"Let’s run up Old Boney,” she said. “ I want to be sure the trail is clear. It shouldn't take over an hour."

"No problem," Devlin said. He bent slowly from the waist, placing his palms flat on the ground. He was lean and wiry, his legs sun-hardened, gnarled muscles. "But let's stretch it out, do ten or fifteen. I need to get some distance in."

As he stood up the phone rang. He looked at Hanna.

"Don't answer it," she said.

"I have too. I'm on-call."

"You're always on-call."

"It's a small unit."

"Let another homicide detective handle it."

Her words came too late. Devlin had already entered the small house and picked up the kitchen phone.

"Wylde." His voice moved an octave lower to its professional range. He listened. "Okay, I'm rolling." He checked his watch. "Forty-five minutes." He hung up.

"Hanna, honey, I'm sorry --" Stepping back into the enclosed patio, Devlin cut his apology short. Through the screens, he saw his wife sprinting away, her legs moving with the speed of anger.

With a rock in his heart, he stood watching as she disappeared into the mountains like Jonah down the whale's gullet.


MAY 30, 2008


SANTA MONICA (AP) -- After three months, the search for a missing woman has been called off by authorities. Hanna Wylde, 30, wife of Los Angeles Police Department homicide detective Devlin Wylde, disappeared February 18th in the Santa Monica Mountains Recreational Area while running. A park ranger, Ms. Wylde was training for an upcoming 10K race she had organized.

Extensive searches of the trails and surrounding regions did not recovered a single trace of the missing woman, and a police spokesman stated resources are currently being redirected to other pressing issues. A number of possible reasons behind the disappearance have been investigated, but have also met with negative results.

The 10K Cougar Run conceived and organized by Hanna Wylde was run on schedule earlier this month. Responsibility for the event, produced to raise funds to protect the local cougar habitat, was assumed by several of the Santa Monica Mountain park rangers with whom the missing woman worked. The event was staged as both a fund raiser and a way to keep the fate of Hanna Wylde at the forefront of public attention.

At this time, the missing woman is feared dead, however, foul play has not been indicated, but has not been ruled out . . .