Category Archives: mystery

Radio Interview with Baron Ron Herron

I was interviewed this morning at 7:35 PST today by KZSB AM 1290 in Santa Barbara, California, on Baron Ron Herron’s radio. We talked about Lost Witness, the second Niki Alexander mystery following Less Dead. The program airs in Santa Barbara , Goleta , Carpinteria, Ventura , Thousand Oaks and Los Angeles County . In addition, the show is rebroadcast on KNRY AM 1240 in Monterey , Salinas , Santa Cruz and Pebble Beach ; KNWZ-II AM 1270 in Palm Desert, Palm Springs , Indio and Rancho Mirage. The program is delayed broadcast in Australia on 99.7 FM in Queensland and to another 30+ radio stations via ComRadSat. Have no idea when the delayed broadcasts air.

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LOST WITNESS Raises the Stakes

LOST WITNESS is now available on Amazon, Fictionwise and Barnes&Noble.
ISBN-10: 160318144X
ISBN-13: 978-1603181440

A lost little boy wound up in the world of homeless teens and in the arms of counselor Niki Alexander. Did he witness a gruesome murder?

Homicide Investigators Luis Perez and Nelson Spalonetti suspected a woman found murdered in an alley was a drug mule from Mexico. Could the child who appeared at the same time be her son? The traumatized boy wouldn’t speak; the police needed to find and question Barky, the street teen who found him.

Several years ago Niki quit the police force to work with troubled teens like Barky, not young children, but she couldn’t help getting involved in the case of this sad little boy. Working at the Open Palms shelter gave her connections to street-wise people like Tara Barlow. The teens trusted Tara and they might provide helpful information she could share with the police.

Clues leading to the drug world brought Niki to some old friends for help. This also brought increased danger as she got closer to the truth. At the same time, Niki also got a lot closer to Nelson Spalonetti, Luis Perez- new partner. She had avoided close relationships since her husband died, yet there was no denying their mutual attraction.

It seemed strange to Niki and Nelson that so many people were interested in finding the lost child. They had to sort out the complicated case fast, before the boy disappeared forever.

Researching this book took me deep in the world of homeless teens. I wanted to know how they managed to survive. One evening, a friend invited me to join her at the street church across from Covenant House. On a vacant parking lot on a Wednesday night, teens and young adults, some with their own children, came to listen and be counseled and comforted by the non-denominational preacher, have a free meal, do some dealing of various wares, and commiserate with each other. Some laughter, some tears, some recriminations.

This night made such an impression on me that I had to include what I saw and heard and felt in Lost Witness. It represented, to me, a piece of their world that I wanted to understand. I knew some of these people. My own son ran away for a short time when he was about fifteen, an age that is filled with angst and rebellion, a breaking away from the familiar, hoping to find an identity of their own by flailing out like blind puppies. He came back home, but others weren’t so lucky. Some didn’t have a home to which they could return. Some fell into the abyss from which there is no escape.

I could not ignore the ever present world of illegal drugs and the desperate men and women who are willing to kill for power and money. Trust and betrayal in a life that turns brother against brother, friend against friend. Those who seem invincible or above the dangers of the drug underworld can be crushed in the system.

Throughout the life and death dramas that Niki deals with every day, she needs a personal life as well. She craves love, while at the same time, brakes at the caution signs. As a young widow, she is not eager to fall in love with another cop, but she can’t deny the physical attraction she feels for the homicide investigator who replaced her in the homicide division of HPD. Only fulfilling a need, she tells herself, dreading the inevitable knock on the door and the words “officer down.” If she doesn’t commit, she can’t be burned. Again. Yet, how can she stop her heart from feeling?

The Hero I Live With

Niki Alexander had to fight for everything she achieved in life. Her college education was cut short when her father stabbed a member of the Mexican Mafia and they had to run for their lives. After her father went to trial and was released because no one showed up to prosecute, they left California for Houston, Texas. Niki applied to the Houston police academy. There she met and fell in love with a motorcycle cop. A year after they married he was killed in a traffic accident. She worked hard to overcome the initial hostility from fellow officers, but she finally applied to homicide and partnered with an older officer who became her friend and mentor and the father she never really had.

Then the unthinkable happened. A shootout with a 17-year-old, high on PCP carrying a gun, who aimed at her and she shot first, killing him. Everyone told her it was a righteous shoot, but she couldn’t live with it. She quit the force, got in her car and roamed the country for six months, stopping only to blot out the memory with booze. She finally return, sobered, and went back to school to finish her education and become a psychologist.

But fate intervened when she took a part time position as a counselor for a teen shelter. Part time quickly became full time as she realized why she ended up there. She was meant to save the children so they would never end up facing the wrong end of a gun. Her whole life had purpose now. Her calling in life was to counsel the runaways and throwaways, teach them self defense, and rescue them when they got into trouble.

To her kids, she became a hero.