All posts by Detective Laura McCallister

About Detective Laura McCallister

Best damn detective you could find!

Book 4 Chapter 8

Hey, Sutter, I think it’s time we told the world who the real chickenshit of our group is. But if they’ve been reading along, they already know who. That would be me. Would you keep posting these for me? Unless, of course, the author gives you hell for it. Tell her I started it, because I did, and send her to me.


Chapter 8

Early the next afternoon, McCallister drove toward the department’s garage for her mandated oil change. When her phone sounded on the passenger seat, she grabbed it to discover an unfamiliar number. “McCallister,” she greeted.

“Hi, Detective. This is J.”

Her stomach lurched.

“Sorry to bother you, but I ended up with your jacket yesterday.”

“Oh, I guess you did,” she said. “I’ll get it Monday when I stop by to see you.”

“Okay,” she replied.

She did not like the sadness that came with the simple word. A pang of guilt forced her to ask, “Is something wrong? Did you need me for something?”

After some silence, she said, “I’m sorry I’m such a needy pain in the butt.”

“You’re not.”

“Oh, yes, I am, and we both know it. I just don’t have anyone else. You’ve been so kind to me, and this time, I actually have something good to share, and I wanted to share it with you. Maybe it will make all you’ve done for me not seem like such a waste of time.”

“It’s never felt like a waste of time. Tell you what—” She glanced to her wristwatch. “I was headed to the station, but I’ll swing by and see you first. About ten minutes?”

The woman eagerly affirmed, and McCallister swerved into a right-hand turn.

Continue reading Book 4 Chapter 8


Book 4 Chapter 7

It’s pretty easy slapping chapters up here. I don’t know why the author thinks it’s so tough. And Sutter wonders why she hasn’t locked us up in some room yet for doing this. Sutter’s a chickenshit. Has anyone else noticed that?


Chapter 7

Wordlessly, McCallister drove them down the country road. She minded the odometer and slowed to a crawl when she knew they were in the vicinity of the woman’s crash site. After spying the small orange flags planted by County, she pulled over and came to a halt.

Both peered out the passenger window into forest that seemed far too thick to have allowed the passage of a vehicle. Yet, it had. A burned area about a hundred feet in attested to that, as did a charred tree with a large chunk missing. Surreal ice sculptures stood as creations by fire department hoses.

She minded the woman’s ponderous silence and then tried to assure, “It was dark that night. Even someone with a perfect memory wouldn’t find this familiar.”

“What in the world was I doing out here?”

Continue reading Book 4 Chapter 7


Book 4 Chapter 6

Sutter, you big chicken, this isn’t so big and scary.

Proof positive:


Chapter 6

At 10:00, Holly had just rinsed the last ice cream dish when McCallister approached from behind and slid her arms around her.

“Hol, would it be okay if I borrowed your baby car?”

She nearly dropped the dish as she spun around. “My baby car? It’s not spring yet.”

“Close enough, I figure.”

“Does that mean I can drive it now, too?” 

“As long as there’s no snow or ice, you can.”

“Yes!” she screeched.

She savored the smile that spread across her face. When her car came out of winter storage, Holly experienced it as a glorious milestone, the surest sign of spring. She realized she was so lost in her excitement that she forgot the original question. She tried again, “So, can I use your car?”

“Of course, you can,” she answered as she placed the dish in the drainer and grabbed the towel. “Why do you need it anyway?”

“Because a little red sports car does not look at all like a cop car.”

“True, but what does that have to do with anything?” Suddenly, her face twisted with dread. “A stakeout?”

“Actually, I’m going to spend the night in it, um, by Granger Bridge.”

“Laura, you can’t—”

“Hol, I have to do something. After the other night, how close another came to jumping, I have to. We can’t let our guard down. The number of patrols drops at 11:00 on weeknights so I’m going to pick up the slack, off the clock.”

“Then I’m going with you.”

“No, you’re not.”

Continue reading Book 4 Chapter 6


Book 4 Chapter 5

And another…


Chapter 5

On one of the high school’s side streets, McCallister leaned against the hood of her car, impatience making her crave a cigarette, duty forcing her to resist. She tapped her foot and looked to the bike racks that lined a large parking lot. While she knew it was an unseasonably warm day, she ranked the thought of riding one up in the vicinity of a root canal.

Her mind then wandered again to the woman in the hospital, to their outing, to the prospect of taking her to the scene of her crash. To banish the intrusive thoughts, she retrieved her cell phone and texted Holly, a simple note to let her know she occupied her mind. Holly’s quick reply grounded her.

Soon, the school bell rang, and within seconds, the entire campus morphed into ordered chaos. Teenagers poured out of every door and headed in every direction. Voices rose. Doors slammed. Cars revved and hurriedly took positions in the processions that led to either exit. She wondered how, in this human haystack, she would find the three needles upon which her plan depended.

Madly, she scanned the faces of everyone moving in her direction. She felt nearly defeated until she saw three young men halfway down the block. Their steps lacked exuberance; their expressions possessed no pleasure from the school’s unshackling. They strode more out of mechanics than freedom.

Sure in her assumption, she focused on them. Right before she watched them turn toward the bike racks, she called, “Jonathan Morales, Lyle Keene, Neal Collier.”

In near unison, they stopped dead in their tracks and slowly pivoted.

Continue reading Book 4 Chapter 5


Book 4 Chapter 4

Yet another punchline.


Chapter 4

The next morning, McCallister stood just outside the hospital room and reminded herself to maintain a cool, professional distance. She would keep her word and take the woman out into the city, and that would be the end of it.

She braced herself and knocked.

“Detective!” the woman nearly yelled when she looked to the doorway. “I thought maybe you were going to back out.”

She glanced to her watch to discover that her reluctance made her uncharacteristically late by 20 minutes. “I’m late. I’m sorry. I’m not backing out,” she said as she entered. “But are you sure you’re up to it?”

“I’d be absolutely thrilled to get out of here.” She rose from the side of the bed, and with a gesture of presentation, she asked, “How do you like my outfit?”

She noted pink sweatpants, green tennis shoes, and a white T-shirt with a large flower on it. A mauve jacket hung over her arm, concealing her bandages. Fortunately, the woman did not await her reply.

As she put on her jacket, she said, “A nurse was kind enough to stop at a thrift store for me. I sure hope this was not how I liked to dress.”

Trying not to laugh at her remark, she assured, “You look fine. I’ll just make sure we don’t stop anywhere that requires formal attire.”

The woman sniggered as she neared her, and McCallister almost gave into a reflexive move backward. Except, this was the first time they stood face to face, and McCallister was taken aback to discover they were close to the same height. And indeed, her eyes were blue—not as blue as Holly’s but blue nonetheless.

“Last chance to back out,” the woman said.

She shook her head. “I don’t need it. Let’s go.”

Continue reading Book 4 Chapter 4


Even Even More Laura Book 4

Sutter says my attempts to look as though I’m not stealing are a joke. Here’s another punchline, then.


Chapter 3

McCallister peered inside the hospital room to see the woman sitting on the side of her bed, looking toward the window, seemingly deep in thought. The afternoon sun streamed in, and a swathe of it touched her leg.

After a deep breath, she lightly rapped on the door.

Immediately, the woman’s head turned, and a smile spread across her face. “Detective! Please, please, come in,” she eagerly invited.

McCallister did so, informing, “Dr. Lythegow said you wanted to see me.”

“I did,” she replied and pointed to the chair by the window.

“How are you feeling?” she asked as she took the seat. “You look much better.” She quickly studied her to determine whether her remark proved anything more than polite. A deep red mark replaced the bandage that had been on her forehead. Her split lip had nearly healed.

“Physically, I feel a ton better. The other stuff, though…”

“You still haven’t remembered anything?”

She shook her head defeatedly and looked out the window.

“What can I do? What do you need me to do?”

“I’m not really sure,” she answered. “I’m sorry I bothered you, but I keep going back to your business card. I keep trying to figure out why I would have had it.”

She wasn’t sure what to say to her. She was curious herself, but listing the unverifiable scenarios she had run through her own mind did not seem a wise choice. Whatever she imagined came fastened to Dr. Lythegow’s description of the woman’s terror upon awakening. She did not want to be the one to send her back to that place, and so, she said nothing.

“It’s scary not to know who I am,” the woman told her. “It’s scary not to know where I belong in the world. They bring in a meal tray, and I stare at it, trying to figure out if I like green beans before I taste them. How do I know they’re green beans but not remember what they taste like?”

She shook her head, feeling bad for the woman’s frustration and frustrated herself for not being able to supply any answers.

“And how did I know your business card was printed in blue but not remember why I even had it?” When McCallister again shook her head, she added, “How did I know what blue even was?”

Because you have blue eyes, McCallister thought to say as she looked into them a bit too deeply. She nervously cleared her throat. “Deputy Nichols checked Missing Persons,” she assured. “There’s no one matching your description.”

Continue reading Even Even More Laura Book 4


Even More From the Laura Book

Okay, Chapter 1 apparently wasn’t enough to jog anyone’s memory. Here’s Chapter 2. Maybe it will help.


Chapter 2

McCallister’s cell phone sounded with the opening of the elevator door on the ground floor. Upon answering it, she learned that someone found the body of the teenager who had allegedly jumped to his death from Granger Bridge three days prior.

This was the third suicide in Granton in the past two weeks. All of them were adolescent boys, all from the same school, and all choosing the very same spot on the very same bridge to end it all. With young people, suicides were often like dominoes, and the community had procedures in place to keep those dominoes from falling. This time, they had not been so lucky. The professionals called them “suicide clusters,” and she hated the term. Stars clustered—flowers, diamonds, even peanuts. In her mind, it sounded too quaint, as though proximity was the gist of it, not cause and effect, not pain compounding pain.

She was a member of the Crisis Intervention Team that went into schools after such an occurrence. Her role was not seen as the supportive ones provided by the mental health workers. They were the nouns; she was the verb. She forced a dose of reality into minds that had yet to fully develop foresight. She carefully told the tales of cutting a noose, of trying to identify a young man’s face when half his head hung in little bits on the wallpaper, of telling parents the devastating news that the life they brought into the world had left. Now, fishing teenage bodies out of the river would one day land in the index of children’s stories that should never be told.

The first boy, Erik Scott, had been the backbone of a group of seeming outcasts. They were sophomores, into comic books and video games, and not one of them had ever been in trouble. Scott had been respected by his friends, and when he plunged over a hundred feet to the river, there occurred a lethal mix of pain and hero-worship. The second boy, Bradley Dake, followed within a week, and now, another one waited on the shore for his own body bag.

She sped to Riverine Park, juggling sadness and anger. Death was bad enough, but when it manifested itself in children, it took abhorrent to another level. Her anger came from a sense of failure, that the extra patrols the department ordered on Granger Bridge had not stopped this one. The press would have a field day.

She pulled her car through the array of squads and parked next to the coroner’s van. For a long moment, she simply sat there, absorbing everything and every face she could. She knew the coroner’s determination of drowning would come about through a process of elimination. Was he alive when he hit the water? Did he hit the water intentionally? Until those questions had answers, it was a crime scene.

She disembarked and headed for the uniformed group on the river’s shore.

“Is it him?” she asked.

“Fits the description, Detective,” an officer informed her.

She had hoped the boy had simply run away, leaving some of his belongings and a note on the bridge just for the sake of drama or the instillation of worry. She looked to his battered, discolored face, and she scarcely recognized him from the photos displayed on his parents’ wall. His clothes matched the portrait his mother had tearfully painted of the last time she had seen him.

Loathsomely satisfied, she turned her gaze to the medical examiner and asked, “Anything out of the ordinary, Hastings?”

Continue reading Even More From the Laura Book


More From the Laura Book

The prologue I posted a few weeks back from what Sutter calls the fourth “Laura book” was apparently not enough. Not one soul called with any information regarding its rightful owner. At this juncture, I have no choice but to post Chapter 1.

(Sutter, are you at all catching on to how this is done?)


Chapter 1

With a loud ding, the elevator opened and completed its delivery of Detective Laura McCallister to the second floor of St. Michael’s Hospital. Its disinfectant smell and hushed voices always made her nervous. She recalled keeping vigil some months back after Officer Phil Jansen had been hit in the head by the serial killer they hunted. She remembered more recently pacing the hall when her reporter friend, Kate Sutter, had emergency surgery for a ruptured appendix. But, she also knew she’d never forget Officer Rick Jessop’s face as he pointed out his newborn son in the nursery. Still, to say she detested hospitals would have been a delicate but wasteful choice of words.

After an uneasy scan of the hall, she swiftly approached a county deputy standing at the nurse’s station completing a report.

“What’s up, Nichols?” she asked him with a slight nudge to his elbow. “What do you need?”

“Sorry about getting you dragged in on a Sunday night, Detective,” he said as he cautiously looked up at her. “We’ve got a woman who just wrecked her car. No ID, but she had your business card in her back pocket. We’re hoping you recognize her. The doc says he needs next of kin, and I’d like to finish my report.”

Nodding her assent, she followed him to Room 217. He held the door for her, but she hesitated. She wiped her hands on her sweatpants and took an inconspicuous deep breath. With a stretch, she leaned her head into the room. The dim light did little to provide an adequate glimpse; she figured as much, but she had hoped nonetheless.

“Why don’t you go finish your report?” she suggested. “I’ll go take a look at her.”

He stood there, awaiting her passage, and when he realized she was not budging, he retreated. “Yell if you need me,” he said and headed back to the nurse’s station.

She forcefully wiped her hands again, berating herself for being ruffled by something undeserving of such a swell of emotion. Again, she took a fortifying breath and then entered. Slowly, she approached the bed, her steps marking every third beep of the machine that validated a beating heart.

Continue reading More From the Laura Book


You Will Be Damned, Sutter!

Hey, Sutter, you nimrod. Don’t you know anything about criminal behavior? If you swipe something, you do not announce to the world—in writing—that you swiped something. Plus, you made everyone who read the prologue guilty of receiving stolen property. I should arrest your ass. Instead, I will give you a demonstration.

See, my book has a prologue, too. I think it’s far more interesting than yours, but then, I understand why she writes what you call “Laura books.”

But my prologue I did not swipe. No, it just happened to fall into my hands. I am putting it here in case someone happens to know its rightful owner (or when the damn book will be finished). If you can help with this important identification, please call the Granton Police Department @ 555-INYOURF-INGDREAMS.


Burning flesh. Stench. A stench that wafts through the nostrils and right into the soul. The stench of mortality.

When one’s own flesh is burning, the stench should motivate. Life or death. Fight or flight. But it didn’t motivate.

The stench should warn of harm to the body. But it didn’t warn, and it didn’t hurt.

It simply befouled everything.

When one’s own flesh is burning…

She exhaled through her nose, trying not to vomit from the stench or the seeming motion sickness from the whirling sensation. The steering wheel jutted out at a strange angle. A bucket seat perched overhead. A seatbelt dangled. A spent air bag hung. Everything was upside down except the ever-upward flames. She had to be spinning. She had to be. Or in hell.

A hand reached in through the broken window of the upended vehicle. Its grip gave her the first sensation of pain, as though the hand squeezed so tightly on her arm that it touched the bone. Maybe it did.

“Your car’s on fire!” the gritty voice yelled. “You’ve got to get out!”

Finally, fight or flight kicked in. Somewhere in the back of her mind she knew that flight was the correct response; a split-second flash of terror told her quite clearly. But this had to be fight. A fight to the finish.

She hoisted herself as best she could, which wasn’t much. She drew away from the pulling hands fighting to separate her from what she needed. Frantically, she scrabbled the area for the book.

“You’ve got to help me!” the gritty voice yelled again. “You’re going to die if we don’t get you out of here!”

“Then let me. Just let me.” Her words sounded breathy and odd, as though they didn’t belong to her.

Her hands groped. There it is! There’s the journal! She knew its shape, its raggedy worn exterior. Her quivering hand clutched it, stuck to it, but it seemed it weighed far more than she could lift. She reached once more, but the hands forcing themselves through her armpits heaved so hard that it was quickly out of her reach.

The hands pulled so fast that it felt as though she was being catapulted away from the earth, away from the truth.

Her heels dragged on the ground as the hands continued their mission, eventually setting her down. The big car now seemed little in the distance, angled against a tree, its dead leaves on fire and spitting busy orange stars against the blackened sky.

“An ambulance is on the way,” the gritty voice said. “Just rest.”

She surrendered.



Hey, Riders of the Short Bus!

While you’re all busy with the Lesbian Adventure Club, I go out and earn a living! As your local homicide detective, I solve crimes, and then Roz gets ahold of my prowess and puts that in a book, too. Perhaps I should arrest her; she’s thieving from the lot of us.

Anyway, Secrets and Sins will be available this fall. If any of you haven’t read Woman Justice yet, do it now so that you are up-to-speed when the new one comes out!

Secrets and Sin Lesbian Mystery book cover
Coming Fall 08

You can read the first two chapters here.