Monday, November 12, 2012

Maryann Miller Talks Police Procedural Mysteries

Maryann Miller

It's our pleasure to welcome Maryann Miller to our blog. Maryann has a long resume of sucess in writing and we are so happy she could find the time to share her knowledge with us.
First I want to thank Ruby Johnson for inviting me here today. What a neat place this is. I have  bookmarked the site and will come back.

 Even though I now live in East Texas, I spent many years in Dallas and was a founding member of The Greater Dallas Writer's Association. I miss those days of meeting with other writers and having the kind of networking that the Greater Fort Worth Writers' group has.

 It's no surprise that I decided to set most of my books in and around Dallas.
Me and Ed McBain (Evan Hunter)
 My interest in police procedural mysteries started when I discovered the 87th Precinct Series by Ed McBain (Evan Hunter). I was a huge fan and once followed an impulse to write to him. He wrote the nicest letter back, and we corresponded a few times after that. I wasn't brave enough then to tell him I was writing fiction. My bread and butter at that time was in nonfiction, but I always hoped that by the time I got my first book published I could contact him again and perhaps get an author blurb.

 That wasn't to be. Nor would there be any more 87th Precinct stories when Evan Hunter died in 2005.
What I learned from Hunter's Books
 One thing I learned from reading Hunter's books is the importance of the little details that set the scene in the police station as well as at crime scenes, as well as the importance of getting those details right. That is why I visited police stations, rode patrol with officers, interviewed numerous officers, and had everything I wrote vetted by a seasoned detective.
Interesting Areas of Research
 For Stalking Season, I also did a lot of other research that included visiting a gentleman's club, but I think my son, who is my research assistant, enjoyed the visit more than I did. He took copious notes of how the girls were dancing, just in case I needed those details for authenticity. (smile)

 Open Season, the first of The Seasons Series, was published in 2010 by Five Star Cengage Gale and the second book, Stalking Season will be released this month. The series has been called "Lethal Weapon" with female leads set in Dallas.

  Book Blurb:

In this second book of The Seasons Series,  Homicide Detective Sarah Kinsgly and her partner, Angel Johnson are pitted against another uncanny killer while still struggling to feel like real partners. Neither wanted the pairing in the first place, and it isn't getting any better.

A young girl is killed in a cheap motel, and when her identity is discovered, an influential Dallas businessman brings the heat down on the department. It isn't easy to work under the thumb of the mayor and the police commissioner, and it doesn't help that Leiutenant McGregor has his own issues with the brass.

The investigation takes the detectives inside an exclusive gentleman's club, a prestigious private school, and leads to a killer that surprises them all.


 Sarah stepped closer and tried to look dispassionately at the body of a young woman that was covered to her chin with a faded bedspread. It could have been a child lovingly tucked in by a parent, except for the russet stain of dried blood on her forehead.        

“What do you make of that?” Sarah pointed to the odd marking.

“Some kind of symbol?” Rusty shrugged. “Pretty weird.”

“I’ll say.”

The girl might have been attractive once, but death’s pallor was too stark against the dark puddle circling her neck and cradling her head. A sour odor of long-dead blood mingled with the distinct stench of feces and urine. Pressing a finger against her nose, Sarah fought the wrench of her stomach as she turned back to the officer. “Any ID?”

“Nothing in her purse. She was registered as Tracy Smith. But the manager said he doesn’t know her.”

“I bet half the guests here are named Smith.” Sarah forced her gaze back to the victim. She was young. Maybe eighteen, tops. And so innocent looking, with slim, smooth hands folded over her chest.

Sarah pulled latex gloves on and bent closer to the dead girl’s hands, lifting one finger. “She definitely wasn’t a two-bit whore. Not if she could afford to have her nails done like this.”

Rusty leaned closer.

“And look at this ring.” Sarah turned the stone toward the officer. “I’d bet my next paycheck that’s a genuine sapphire.”

“What do you think?”

“I don’t know.” Sarah straightened. “She could’ve had some rich patron. But then why was she in a dump like this?”

“Maybe he got tired of her and cut her loose?”

“Would you?”

Rusty glanced at the girl then back at Sarah with an ironic grin. “Not likely.”

Review Snippets:

 "So deftly plotted and paced that, although it’s certainly possible to grow impatient with the protagonists’ unwarranted impatience toward each other, they’re appealing enough to keep the pages turning."— Kirkus

 “ . . . gripping second mystery featuring Dallas, Tex., police detectives Sarah Kingsly and Angel Johnson. . . . The relationship between the women is just as absorbing as the search for the killer. Few readers will anticipate the closing twist.”— STARRED Publishers Weekly Review  


To see all of Maryann Miller's other books, visit her Book Page on her blog

 Visit her on her website, MaryannWrites
Purchase her books from and any other bookseller.Her publisher markets heavily to libraries, so you can also request Stalking Season at your local library. Anyone who wishes to purchase a signed copy directly from Maryann, or any of her other books in paperback, can contact her at maryann


Caroline Clemmons said...

Maryann, I am now eager to read your series. Thanks for sharing today. Wishing you continued success.

Thorne said...

I haven't read your books before, but I plan on going over to amazon and buying myself my first christmas gift. Thanks for sharing the excerpt.

Ruby Johnson said...

Maryann, thanks so much for sharing your research methods! Wonder what the girls thought about your son bring his mother along. I've read your first book and am looking forward to this new book. Good luck on your sales.

Anne said...

Thank you for sharing the author that inspired your writing. I often wonder what influences a writer has in the way of other authors.

Maryann Miller said...

So sorry I did not stop by yesterday to comment. I'm out of town helping my sister who had surgery and not online like I am at home.

Caroline, I hope you enjoy the books. I'd love to hear back from you if you do start the series.

Thorne, I've done the same thing when I have met an author and gotten intrigued by their book. Please let me know what you think after reading it.

Ruby, glad to hear you enjoyed my first book in the series. Hope to hear the same about Stalking Season.

Anne, I, too, like to know what inspires authors, whether it be what spurs a story or what spurs them to write. I think most of us have a favorite author that we want to emulate.

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