Out And About In Auckland, New Zealand

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Photos courtesy of Paul Beecroft

Paul Beecroft has spent a good deal of his life in law enforcement, in England. He’s worked Foot Patrol, Area Car, Instant Response Car and also as a Police Motorcyclist. He currently serves as a coroner’s investigator and has traveled all over England, Wales, Scotland and even Germany to investigate crimes.


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Friday’s Heroes: Remembering The Fallen

The Graveyard Shift extends our condolences to the families of the officers who sacrificed everything to keep us safe.

Deputy Sheriff Christopher Schaub, 47

Broward County Florida Sheriff’s Office

9-26-12 – Deputy Christopher Schaub was killed when his motorcycle collided with a car at an intersection. He is survived by his son and daughter.

Sergeant Mary K. Ricard, 55

Colorado Department of Corrections

9-24-12 – Sergeant Mary Ricard was killed when she and another female officer were attacked in the prison kitchen during the preparation of the morning meal. Sergeant Ricard was stabbed in the neck by a convicted child rapist. The other officer received serious wounds during the attack, but survived.

Detective Sergeant James G. Hoopes III, 40

New Jersey State Police

9-12-12 – Detective Sergeant James G. Hoopes III suffered a fatal heart attack while participating in his department’s annual physical training exercises. He is survived by his wife and two children.

Officer Jason Edward Gresko, 32

Willoughby Ohio Police Department

9-21-12 – Officer Jason Gresko was killed in an automobile crash while responding to an emergency call. He is survived by his wife, a 2-year-old daughter, parents, three brothers, and a sister.

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2012 Golden Donut Short Contest Winner and Runners Up

The Golden Donut Short Story Contest is a real test for writers. Not only do the authors have to write a complete story about the photo we post, they must tell their story in exactly 200 words, including the title. We received a mountain of stories this year, and I understand that all were superb, which made judging extremely difficult.

Still, a top tale had to be chosen. So, it gives me great pleasure to announce the winner of the 2012 Golden Donut Award….Ann Kellett, for her story, “Closure.”

Ann Kellett with the 2012 Golden Donut Award


by Ann Kellett

 “Frankly, we were surprised at how low your bid was,” the woman said.

“Tearing down this old place will be our easiest job all month,” the man said. “And it’s the neighborly thing to do, after all you’ve been through.”

“We’re definitely ready to move on. Closure, you know. Bob’s already started his new job in Chicago.”

“We’ll be back tomorrow to haul off the debris and car.”

“She got that the day she turned 16,” she said. “Would’ve been 18 last Wednesday. Cops say there’s always hope, but not much since she’s been missing for a year.”

 The woman sighed and blinked several times. “Should’ve done this years ago. It’s a real eyesore.” She managed half a smile. “At least your property values will go up.”

 The man smiled back. “Guess I’ll get to work. Good luck to you both. The neighborhood won’t be the same without you.” They shook hands.

The man counted to fifty before entering the shack and unlatching the door to the thick walled crawlspace. The young woman, bound and gagged, looked up with dead eyes and shifted slightly on the sleeping bag.

He got the knife. “This shouldn’t take long. Closure, you know.”


First runner up


by Bob Doerr

“Come out and get what’s coming to ya! I know you’re there!”

Nothing stirred in the old ramshackle cabin. Even the fat crow devouring a large beetle a few steps away ignored me. I considered throwing something at it, but I wanted to conserve strength, and I didn’t want to let the pistol out of my grip. The bullet wound didn’t hurt anymore.  Propped up against a fence post, I stared at the cabin waiting for their ugly faces to appear.

The broken door swung open, and two men emerged.

“Take this, suckers!” I yelled and tried to lift the pistol.  My arm didn’t respond.

Grisler, the fatter of the two, stared at me and spit.

“Leave him there?” Johnny asked.

“Yeah, he ain’t going nowhere.”

They gunned the dark sedan and left in a whirlwind of dust and flying pebbles.

“Fools! I’ll track you down!”

Maybe the cabin had a phone, but before I could get up, I heard an approaching car. Did they forget something?  No, a police car appeared.

“Get lost, coppers!”

They looked at me and then each other. I kept my mouth shut.

“Been dead for at least a day,” the older one said.


Second runner up


by  Cynthia Barwin

It wasn’t supposed to end like this. Not as a rundown, sagging eyesore.

I was a home. Mary planted flowers to brighten my yard. My windows were whole, and clean, letting in the sunshine. Children played here, laughing, running up and down the stairs, into the yard and back. My floors were traipsed and worn with love.

Love and laughter filled my walls.

That was before he came.

The laughter was the first to leave. He called it noise, and stopped it.

There was still love, for a while. Quiet love, but love nonetheless. When he was gone, Mary encouraged the children to laugh, and sing. But when he came home, when the lights from his metal carriage swept across my walls, it stopped.

Love died away too. Because truly, how can love survive where happiness has disappeared?

My walls still stood, solid and proud, but sorrow filled the space within.

The pain came next. Pain for Mary, and the children. Tears stained my floors, and scrubbing could not erase the blemishes.

It all stopped one night, after angry words, broken hearts and a shattered banister.  Rivulets of red, sticky and warm, covered my white walls.

And then, silence.


Honorable Mentions

Old Partners

by David Swords

The old man teetered as he walked through the tall grass and, approaching the ramshackle old cottage, spoke to his old partner.

              “This one always bothered me, George.  That sweet little girl, covered in blood.  Since I retired, it still haunts me.”

              “I don’t know why you brought me back to Morgan’s old shack.  We know he did it, but we couldn’t prove it.  We never could find that one piece of evidence to link him.   I wish we had.  I saw him three weeks ago. The bastard smiled at me.”

“Why’d you bring me here, George?”

He felt George’s hand on his shoulder, urging him toward the old space heater.  “What?  I thought you looked in there.”

The old detective reached in and felt the handle.

“Don’t tell me.  It couldn’t be.”

His hand trembled as he withdrew the blood stained knife; partly from age, partly from twenty years of wondering.

              “My God.  We can take this in.  With DNA nowadays, maybe we’ll finally know.  That sweet little girl,” he whispered as the tears began.

              He turned and looked into the empty room.

              “Thanks, George.  Ten years you been dead, but you’re still showing me the way.”


Turn of the Key 

by Andrew Italia

Both the car and the battered shack behind it looked murky through the scope of my rifle.  The squeal of brakes, followed by opening car doors and heavy footsteps, shattered my trance.

“FBI!”, the swarming agents screamed with commands I had used back when I carried the badge, “drop the weapon!”

Before I knew it, there were hands on me and I was staring Ned, my old supervisor, in his forlorn face.

“Sarah, it’s over.”

“Ned, you don’t understand; I’ve finally got him!  He’s in that house!”

“Sarah, you’ve been running for three years.  It’s time for you to get some help.”

“He murdered my children!  I’ve been chasing that car-”

“To Chicago?  New Orleans?  Pittsburgh?  I know.”

He shook his head sadly.

“Sarah…that’s your car.  You’ve been driving it around this country shooting people ever since you lost your family.”

It couldn’t be; the person driving that car had killed my kids.

I snorted in derision.  Damn bureau, always thinking it was omnipresent.

Ned pulled unfamiliar keys from my pocket.

“I’ll show you”, he said, walking to the vehicle.

I’d been tracking that car for years…

I heard the ignition start –

And began to cry.


The judge for the Golden Donut contest is Kristen Weber.

Kristen most recently worked as a senior editor for Penguin’s New American Library (NAL), where she helped launch Obsidian, their dedicated mystery imprint. Besides running the day-to-day operations of Obsidian, Kristen edited approximately 30 original titles per year. She was also in charge of NAL’s movie/television tie-in program and edited numerous original novels based on TV programs such as Burn Notice, The Unit, Criminal Minds, and Psych.

Kristen now works as a freelance editor, helping authors prepare their books for the marketplace.



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Just Another Lazy Day At The Writers’ Police Academy

Sure, our classrooms sometimes get a bit warm…

…so we open the sunroof, allowing the gentle southern breezes to flow freely.

Always accommodating, our staff opens the window of your choosing.

Our uniform dress code makes it easy to spot staff members.

The pursuit of knowledge is the quest of all WPA attendees.

Our staff takes pride in their clear and concise instructions…

…that are quite easy to understand, and follow.

Some, however, require a bit of one-on-one tutoring…

…but they eventually get the point.

Some WPA instructors utilize a “show and tell” method of instruction.

While others encourage meditation.

Sometimes, a “swift kick” approach works best.

Most instructors, however, prefer a more hands-on method.

Workshop spaces are large and airy.

Quiet times are available for those who wish to stretch out and relax.

Outer wear is provided for those chilly North Carolina mornings.

Special accommodations are provided upon request.

Our lost and found department is second to none.

Instructors always welcome applause for a job well-done.

Recess is always a fun time.

Games, such as the ever popular, “Find The Gun On The Pool Bottom,” can stimulate the mind.

Now, don’t you wish you’d joined us last weekend?

*Photos by Julie Goyette and Patti Phillips

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Castle: After The Storm – A Good Cop/Bad Cop Review

Well, IT finally happened. And, from the looks of things in last night’s episode, we could be in store for a few good laughs due to the newly-added twist (hiding Castle and Beckett’s steamy-hot relationship).

The season opener also delivered closure (sort of) to the never-ending “who killed my mother” saga, another storyline that had been beaten to death by the writers.

This season, though, has the potential to be fresh and exciting, and I hope the writers take full advantage of the situation they’ve created. And, speaking of excitement… I sensed Melanie’s squeals of delight as each scene played out last night. Now, there’s no holding her back after five full days joy (four at the Writers’ Police Academy and Castle on Monday night). So let the season of our good cop/bad cop reviews begin. Melanie, the floor is all yours…

Melanie Atkins

This has been a l-o-o-o-n-g summer for me. A long, hot summer with no new Castle episodes after that delicious scene near the end of Always, last season’s bittersweet finale. I lost count of how many times I watched Kate and Rick kiss against that door. Not only did I almost wear out my Tivo, but I also read many wonderful post-Always fan-fiction stories. The Castle fandom has a plethora of excellent writers, and I think all of them wrote at least one.

Finally, however, the first day of season five arrived, and I was not disappointed in the new episode. Andrew Marlowe treated us to the morning after that riveting scene from last year… complete with proof that Beckett and Castle spending the night together was not a dream. They did indeed sleep together in Rick’s bed, and they made love. Not just once, but… how many times? And can you say “hair porn”? Kate’s hair looked darn good after she showed up so wet the night before at Rick’s door. I had to grin at that.

Kate is confidant, yet tentative about their new relationship, and Rick is cautious but ecstatic. Yes, they’re a couple now, but during that first scene they abruptly decide to keep their union under wraps — for a while, at least — a difficult task, even though it’s fun for viewers. I cracked up as Kate tried to sneak out of the loft without Alexis or Martha catching her. Too funny. Keeping the secret from Ryan and Esposito will be even more difficult, I fear. Difficult, but fun.

I enjoyed this fast moving episode — the morning after scene, the race to find the file, Ryan’s desperation, Esposito’s anger, and Kate’s kickass moment with the senator — but I also wanted Rick and Kate to kiss. I mean, seriously. We were treated to lots of heated looks and small, intimate moments between them, including a sweet hug when Rick offers to take Kate away somewhere to keep her safe and Rick waking up alone in her bed the morning she goes after the senator, but we didn’t see them share a single kiss. Bah, humbug.

At least kickass Kate came up with a solution of sorts to neutralize the threat against her — a jerk senator who wields power like a club to get what he wants. I call it “a deal with the devil”, but hopefully it’ll work… and will allow Kate and Rick to concentrate on each other instead of the case.

Kate also made a deal with Gates to allow Kate to return to the precinct after she finishes serving her suspension. We knew, of course, she’d eventually go back to the 12th.  I mean, after all, the show is about a writer shadowing a detective… and Kate has such drive and derives so much pleasure from giving victims closure, I can’t see her doing anything else. Although I’m sure Rick would be happy even if she sold magazine subscriptions, because they’re together now.

I’m reeling with happiness, too. Finally, after years and years of being disappointed, a show is giving me what I want. A true romance. The previews of next week include a kiss, too. Wahoo!

Is it Monday yet?

Lee Lofland

Sure, the lovey-dovey, mushy-gushy stuff was great. And it worked well, I thought, for the show. After all, those two have been in a “I love you, do you love me, check yes or no” junior high relationship for so long… Well, long enough that I’d begun to pray for Lanie to make an appearance on screen just to give me a different pain in my…um…side to worry about. And you all know how I feel about the Voodoo M.E.

Anyway, on with the show, as they say.

– Beckett resigned, therefore she was no longer a police officer. So…when she kicked in the door of a private apartment she had committed breaking and entering, a felony. Next, I’m assuming it was Beckett or Castle who called EMS to attend to the badly beaten Mr. Smith. But where were the cops? EMS would have immediately called them to the scene, fearing for their own safety—door kicked in with patient badly beaten and tied to a chair…

The good thing about the scene was that someone had taken the time to be sure the doorjamb broke in all the right places when Beckett kicked it.

– Beckett and Castle paw through Mr. Smith’s files. I guess they weren’t concerned about leaving fingerprints in the apartment of a badly beaten man. You know, since they were there when EMS arrived, which would probably be a red flag to the first responders…like maybe those two were the people who inflicted the wounds on their patient.

– Some things never change. Beckett got kidnapped again, losing her gun to the same guy she lost it to last season. At what point does she become a liability to the department? Losing your gun ten times in a few weeks? Getting kidnapped the same number of times? Placing a civilian in the same dangerous situations? Of course, it’s the civilian (Castle) who usually gets her out of the tight spots.

– One thing has already changed this season. Someone, Espo I think, used the term BOLO in lieu APB, as they’ve said for the past four seasons. BOLO is the acronym for Be On the Lookout, the term that is most often used by today’s law enforcement officers. APB = All Point Bulletin. I haven’t heard that one used in many, many years, well, except on Castle.

– So Mr. Smith, in pain and agony and on the verge of slipping into either death or coma, utters an address to Castle. And we all know what happened when the dynamic duo arrived there. Yep, Maddox, after taking Beckett’s gun, triggered a bomb hidden in the floor, a bomb I’m guessing that Mr. Smith had placed there. So why, then, did Mr. Smith send Castle and Beckett there? Did he want them to blown to bits like the file?

– The file. Blown into a thousands of pieces. Scattered everywhere, among tons of debris that included body parts. And what about the huge fireball that came with the explosion? Yet, in spite of all of the above, Beckett and crew were able to piece together just the parts of the file they needed to nail the Senator, the guy who killed Beckett’s mother. Puhleeze….

– How and where did Beckett get all the stuff one the whiteboard she so conveniently had at home. Remember? Montgomery’s photo, photos of the other players, etc.

– How did Beckett get by the police guard stationed at the hospital. Don’t you think the officers might have at least asked for her name and/or ID?

– Why were the bad guys (the Senator and his evil sidekicks) only after Beckett? After all, Castle and crew also knew everything Beckett knew.

Still, the show was okay. And I’m truly glad that Beckett and Castle finally got together for a little “quality time.” Maybe, just maybe, we’ll see the show get back to its roots, with the funny and quick banter. After all, that’s what this show does best.

We’ll see…

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Writers’ Police Academy 2012: The Secret Recipe

What’s the secret to a successful Writers’ Police Academy? Actually, the formula is quite simple…Place 200 writers in large bowl bowl. Add dozens of police officers, firefighters, EMS folks, Sirchie Fingerprint Laboratories, and other experts. Stir in Lee Child, Marcia Clark, Dr. Beth Murray, and Dr. Katherine Ramsland. Sprinkle in a few generous sponsors. Add a very large dollop of SinC, and then mix ingredients well. Place entire concoction into a pre-heated police academy and wait for the excitement to boil over. Works every time!

Marcia Clark receiving briefing from WPA instructor Stan Lawhorne

Kathy Isaaics, Lee Child, and forensic anthropologist Dr. Beth Murray ready for a possible shootout with armed thugs.

The surprise mystery guest at the 2012 WPA was none other than The Mayberry Deputy along with his famous “one bullet.”

Lt. Randy Shepherd led WPA entry teams on building searches, looking for desperate criminals.

Joy waiting for her time in the limelight.

Lee Child in the driving simulator.

Lee Child and Marcia Clark with the “star” of the Shallow Grave workshop.

*More to come!

*The WPA thanks everyone who participated in the 2012 event. You guys are the greatest!


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