The Graveyard Shift Blog

Since 2008, Lee Lofland has written over 2000 articles on his blog, The Graveyard Shift. Topics such as police procedure, forensics, criminal behavior, and what it’s like to be a cop has helped countless numbers of popular and aspiring writers.

His life’s mission – to remind writers that cordite is dead and gone. Just say no to cordite in your books!

Deputy Sheriffs: They're Just Cops Who Wear Different Uniforms, Right?

Many of us had our first real look at a sheriff's office back in 1960 when Andy Taylor and his fearless deputy, Barney Fife, patrolled the roads in and around Mayberry, N.C. Television took us inside the Mayberry jail, the courthouse, and…
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Is the Killer in Your Tale a Plotter or a Pantser?

Writers generally fall into one of two categories, panthers or plotters. Writers, you share these traits with killers, and this could be the reason your books are so devilishly delightful. The Plotter A plotter starts each writing project…
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2020 Writers' Police Academy/MurderCon: Mark Your Calendars!

2020 Writers' Police Academy/MurderCon. Mark Your Calendars! August 6-9, 2020. In response to a huge number of messages, yes, there will indeed be a 2020 Writers' Police Academy/MurderCon. In fact, the 2020 event marks a full dozen years…
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Veterans Day: A Tribute by The Oak Ridge Boys

"Sometimes she finds him weeping As he lay there in his bed The distant sounds of battle Still echo in his head" The Oak Ridge Boys ~ G.I. Joe and Lillie Thank you, Veterans. I am forever grateful. Thank you, too, Oaks, for your unyielding…
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The Johnson Vandyke Grigsbys of the World are Never Free

Depending upon which source is believed to be correct---Social Security or the census---Johnson Vandyke "Van" Grigsby was born in either February of 1888 or February of 1886, respectively. Grigsby, the son of freed slaves, however, said March…

Is Your Story One Round Short of a Full Brick: STOP Racking the Slide!

Like reading a really well-written novel, it's easy to step into the fictional worlds of crime TV shows. I mean, I'm there. I can hear the sounds of the police stations. I smell the gun oil. I hear the creaking of gun leather and the jingle…

Cops: To Do Or Not To Do ... and Common Sense

Common sense is a HUGE part of police work. You know, think before you act. Don't run with scissors. Don't talk with your mouth full. And ... And, of course ...  
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Human Soup: The Perfect Murder?

Okay, you're at your desks with hands poised above the keyboard. Thoughts of murder, chaos, and of your 100th six-figure book deal churn inside your head like the winds of an F-5 twister that's just touched down in a midwestern mobile home park.…
light 'em up jello

Cooking With Cops: Light 'Em Up Jello

Remember way back in the 70s when everyone's grandmother made her signature Jello dish? Yeah, you know what I'm talking about, that odd wiggly-jiggly bowl of red stuff with pieces of fruit cocktail living in a state of suspended animation. In…
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Captain Jim: Open Mics and Sex in a Patrol Car

Police work is certainly filled with unknown and unseen perils. Without a doubt, it's a job that comes with a long list of hazards. Aside from the obvious dangers---fights, stabbings, car crashes, shootings, etc.---one of the most gut-wrenching…
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Chicken Feet, Grave Robbers, and Safety Tips for Kids and Grownups

I've seen a few oddities over the years, especially during Halloween, the night when both kids and adults dress up as their favorite characters. It's also a night that a few ghoulish folks believe is the perfect time to commit the usual plethora…
My Aching Back: Gun belt

My Aching Back and Bathroom Breaks: What's On Your Gun Belt?

Admit it. You've complained at least once in your life about having to carry, lift, push, or pull something heavy while at work, right? Well, try this on for size ... suppose your boss told you that from this day forward you'd be required to…
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Murder, It Sucks The Air Out Of Everyone Involved

There's nothing in this world that can be compared to entering an abandoned house in mid July, in the south, to begin working a murder case. If the stifling heat, humidity, and smell of decomposing human flesh and organs don't get to you, well,…
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When Fiction and Real-Life Collide: John Grisham, Ray Krone, William Kent Krueger

I'm an voracious reader which means I'm rarely without a book close at hand. It's an addiction. I have to have my word fix every day. I have books in my office, on my nightstand, in the kitchen (I sometimes read while I'm cooking dinner, between…

Stuck on E-Flat: Patrolling Alone With Delilah As Your Only Backup

Working the dreaded graveyard shift is bad enough as it is, but when you add the extra stress of working it alone, well, then it sometimes becomes downright dangerous. But I've done it, and so have many police officers across the country who…
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No Rope, No Tree: Lynchings - A Bitter Crop

Lynching laws across the country vary, but the one thing they all have in common is that most people believe the crime and its legal definition absolutely must involve a tree and a rope. So here's a shocker---contrary to popular belief, one…
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Are You Killing Your Cop Stories?

The writer, a lovely woman who writes as Esther Neveredits and who shares her office with seven cats of various sizes and personalities, opened the first chapter of her first book with the following passage. "Detective Barney Catchemall followed…
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A Cop's Nighttime Melody: Sounds of the Graveyard Shift

Many writers have never, not once, set foot inside a police car, nor have they climbed out of bed at 11 p.m. to swap pajamas for a police uniform, Kevlar vest, gun belt, sidearm, and spit-shined shoes. And they've not headed out into the night…