Friday, July 18, 2014

Arson Dogs

I love doing research for my books.

For Red Tide, I learned about Human Remains Detection Dogs, sometimes referred to as Cadaver Dogs. I purchased a couple of reference books about training and techniques. 

I also learned about Karenia brevis, the name for saxitoxin, sometimes called harmful algal bloom (or HAB), but more commonly called red tide. Fascinating stuff.

With The Missings, I needed to know about organ donation: how it worked and why so many lives were at stake. It was a sad eye-opener.  I also needed to learn a little about undocumented people living in our country. Another sad eye-opener.

Learning more about police procedure was critical, and I will be forever grateful to the crime scene investigators and detectives who helped me make the details shine. And for the police chief of Aspen, Colorado, for helping me with a critical plot point.

In The Missings there's another possibility early in the book explaining deaths in the area, and I had to research cults. The little bit of information I obtained made me want to shut down. The normal presentation of some very dark material bothered me, and I was glad the story I was writing wouldn't be in that place very long. 

But because cults both fascinated and repelled me, I knew that The Sacrifice would have one front and center. I learned about Santeria. 

And I wanted to help bring depression out of the closet. To make depression both real and unashamed, my wonderful, strong, primary male character shows how he's living with it day in and day out without dwelling in it. To me, Mex Anderson and everyone who battles those demons, are heroes. I learned a lot.

And now, I'm writing Flame Game, with a wonderful new dog named Kaji, Japanese for fire.

Here's something I ran across this week. Check it out:

It's all better with friends.


  1. September of last year I was able to witness an arson dog in a demonstration of it's abilitities. At the Great Lakes Westie Rescue Meet and Greet in South Bend, IN. They brought in a dog from Michigan to show what they can do. I was the "arsonist", a couple drops of gasoline was put on one of my shoes and the dog brought in. The switched "suspects" three or four times and each time the dog came sat by me.

    1. Love westies!

      I'm so impressed with detection dogs and their level of skill and dedication. I also like that while it's work, it's also a game for them.

      I appreciate your comment. Thanks.