K-9 CHARACTERS

pups in wagon These fuzzy faces seem to be enjoying a ride in Mom’s early birthday present. Three of our six. It’s always a swirl of tails and tongues whenever we come back from an outing. They keep us young, and real busy. Coco (2) is in the back supervising the puppies (5 months) Ollie (left) and Abby. What a joy they all are, even our Annie (16 1/2) who can no longer see or hear but is in the kitchen every day at 1 PM waiting for lunch. Bless her heart.

My very first novel begins with the howling chase of Beagle and rabbit in the cold November hills of upstate Pennsylvania. A shocking double murder soon unfolds and the humans bring what they may to the pages. Dogs have been featured as characters in all of my novels. Their eyes and tails tell a story if you pay attention and add to the telling.

Hard to remember and then hard to write was the story of the murder of a young policeman on my department when I was just a recruit in the police academy. I finally decided to do a modernized fictional version and tried to bring some of the raw emotion, fear, anger and poignancy to the story. SIDE SLIP brings back some of the characters from the previous two novels in the series and a new fuzzy face and tail.

From the third in the SAM DELAND CRIME NOVEL series, SIDE SLIP:

The arena lot was overflowing with police cars of all descriptions. Christie knew that the roads leading into Sarasota would be funneling more in, likely with lights and sirens blaring, trying to get here in time. Gunther looked tired but dignified in his dark suit and white shirt. He tried to talk to her on the short ride from the SO but only managed just a few words. There just wasn’t much to say.

They had to walk a ways but made it inside and found the seats set aside for the detectives. The PIO probably hadn’t gone home at all and was moving through the crowd with a clipboard playing funeral director. Someone had to do it.

The murmur of the crowd suddenly stilled and heads turned as Janey and the parents came through the door and started down the center aisle to the front row seats marked by black crepe ribbons. Gunther’s chest heaved with sobs as he watched little GiGi on a pink leash walk happily in front of Doug’s parents trying to keep up with the ashen Janey.

The crack of the double doors opening silenced the crowd again. Six of the youngest, biggest deputies Christie had ever seen carried the casket in through those double doors and only the clicking of their polished shoes on the floor could be heard as they moved ever so slowly down the center aisle.

The deputies turned at the makeshift altar and placed the casket on a stand set there to accept it. The PIO was off to the side anxiously watching. Audible sobs started all across the room and Christie’s phone began to vibrate. Somehow she’d remembered to silence the ringer before coming in.

Gunther let out a whispered, “Oh, God,” next to her and many gasps were heard as GiGi broke from Doug’s mother’s grasp and ran, trailing the pink leash, through the legs of the young deputies up to the casket, spun twice and curled up beneath it.

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