Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Review of Secrets to Die For by L. J. Sellers

After reading Secrets to Die For, I wondered if L. J. Sellers camped out for days in the Eugene Police Headquarters in Oregon, taking note of every step, procedure and conversation taken by their homicide detectives.  The second Detective Jackson mystery is so full of buzzwords, lingo and acronyms, I started looking for a Policeman/English dictionary.  I always thought a bolo was something men in the southwestern US sometimes wore in place of  a tie.  Apparently, it has a totally different meaning to law enforcement.
However, those added details are what sets Secrets apart.  Even if Sellers didn't hang out in the police department, I certainly felt like I was standing in the hallways, listening and watching as the story unfolded around me.

The novel opens with a social worker Raina Hughes visiting a young boy she's been assigned to.  The meeting is disastrous.  As she flees the family's home, she is raped and murdered.

At first it appears that the father of the boy but as Jackson and his team dig deeper, they find there may be a connection to a serial rapist preying on lesbians.

Jackson worries about the escalation in the perp's violence.  He's receiving pressure from the sergeant to solve the case quickly, despite the lack of concrete evidence pointing to any one suspect.  Then Rain's close friend disappears and Jackson fears it is only a matter of time before another victim is found.

Through all this, Jackson is experiencing upheaval in his personal life as well.  The case causes him to spend hours on the job, taking time away from Katie, his teenage daughter and Kera, the woman is he currently dating.  Unfortunately, Kera's estranged husband who dumped her via a 'Dear John' letter is back in town, sniffing around and making overtures that he wants a reconciliation.

In the end, it's the back-breaking, leg-work attention to detail and protocol that leads Jackson's team to find the serial rapist and the murderer of Raina Hughes.  The climax is page-turning excitement as Jackson puts the pieces together in a down-to-the-last-second conclusion.

Sellers snares the readers' attention with surprising twists throughout the story and keeps them glued to every page.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Fort McHenry, Baltimore, MD

We left Inner Harbor and drove to Fort McHenry.
The cannons.
Key Bridge in the distance.

The entrance to the fort.
The Ravelin Magazine. Near the end of the Civil War, several large cannon were mounted on the ravelin above, and in the adjacent water batter. The CO ordered that 1000 rounds of ammo be kept nearby for each gun. In 1866, this magazine and two others were built to safely store the additional gun powder.

Bombproofs: The arched chambers were built after the bombardment of 1814, when it became obvious places were needed. Fort McHenry was never shelled again and the bombproofs were never used for their intended purpose.

Guardhouses: During the Civil War, Fort McHenry served as a transfer point for Confederate prisoners of war. High-security prisoners were locked up here.

A British shell landed here about 2pm, on September 13, 1814, knocking the heavy cannon off its carriage and killing two; Lieutenant Levi Claggett and Sergeant Clemm.

Junior Officer's Quarters.

Federal Hill and Inner Harbor, Baltimore, Maryland

Dan likes cannons.

Ann, Dan, Robin and Fuzzy on Federal Hill with downtown Baltimore in the background.

Federal Hill park.

Monument to Col. George Armistead.

Mast from the Pride of Baltimore.

Monument to the Pride of Baltimore, lost in 1986.

The U.S.S. Constellation.

Smithsonian Museum of Air and Space and the National Mall

After a quick bite of lunch, we went to the Air and Space Museum and then walked down the National Mall.
A bird with unique coloring on the National Mall.
Ann, Dan and Robin with the Washington Monument in the background.

The original model of the USS Enterprise used in filming Star Trek! (I almost bowed down and worshipped it.)

Fuzzy in front of an old Eastern Airlines plane (one from long before his flight attending days)

The lunar lander.

The WWII Memorial with the Lincoln Memorial.

Ann and Dan in front of the Washington Monument.

I was surprised the fountains were still on despite the cold.

The WWI Memorial is almost forgotten it seems. I looked like trees have been trimmed back from around the memorial, but work on the Reflection Pool has limited access to it. We could've walked up to it but only by backtracking a ways.

A fox ran through the crowds on the National Mall.

The Korean War Memorial is one of my favorites. It's a very solemn and moving monument.

Robin, Dan and Ann pose in front of the wall with the ghost faces.

The Lincoln Monument.

Our last stop was the Vietnam Memorial.