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Saturday, 7 November 2015

☀☄ The Right Wrong Thing: Dot Meyerhoff Mysteries [2] - Ellen Kirschman

Thank you for joining us on the Virtual Book Tour for The Right Wrong Thing, a Crime Mystery by (, Oceanview Publishing, 256 pages).

This is the second book in the Dot Meyerhoff Mysteries series.

PREVIEW: Check out the book's synopsis, trailer, and Prologue excerpt below, as well as our Q&A with author Ellen Kirschman.   Read the first chapter with Amazon Look Inside.

Ellen Kirschman will be awarding one Oceanview Publishing Thriller each month for one year to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.   Please do take part: comment on our post and follow the tour where you will be able to read interviews (ℚ), reviews (✍) and guest blog posts (✉).


Synopsis | Trailer | Teaser | The Series | Author Q&A | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops

Synopsis

Hesitate or Respond—Either Choice Can Lead to Disaster

Officer Randy Spelling had always wanted to be a police officer, to follow in the footsteps of her brothers and her father. Not long after joining the force, she mistakenly shoots and kills Lakeisha Gibbs, a pregnant teenager. The community is outraged; Lakeisha’s family is vocal and vicious in their attacks against Spelling.

Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and filled with remorse, Randy is desperate to apologize to the girl’s family. Everyone, including the police chief, warns her against this, but the young police officer will not be dissuaded. Her attempt is catastrophic. Dr. Dot Meyerhoff, police psychologist, plunges herself into the investigation despite orders from the police chief to back off.

Not only does the psychologist’s refusal to obey orders jeopardize her career, but her life as well, as she enlists unlikely allies and unconventional undercover work to expose the tangled net of Officer Spelling’s disastrous course.


Teaser: Excerpt

PROLOGUE

     Randy Alderson Spelling looks more like a girl than a woman. So tiny she’s nearly lost in the cushions of my office couch. Her legs jut out over the floor until she scoots forward and places her feet squarely on the ground, leaving a foot of space behind her. She waits for me to start, all the while pulling on her fingers, cracking each tiny knuckle. I’m the last hurdle between her and the job she covets— police officer for the Kenilworth Police Department. She’s aced the entire gamut of challenges: a background check that combed over all twenty-four years of her life; a medical examination; tests of reading, writing, and judgment; officer interviews; agility tests; and an interview with Acting Chief Jay Pence. Now she’s down to me, the department psychologist. I’m looking into the nooks and crannies of her emotional stability now that she’s received a conditional offer of employment from Pence; conditional, that is, upon my finding her free of any psychological conditions that would prevent her from fulfilling the role of police officer.
      Pence wants this woman on the force. He’s made that clear with his slightly overreaching and out-of-character enthusiasm. The truth is, women officers haven’t done well at KPD. None of the four women who were hired before my time worked out. One got pregnant and never returned from maternity leave. Another woman’s husband was promoted and the family moved to New York. A third decided to go to law school, and the fourth was flushed out of the field-training program after she totaled a police car. Pence needs women on the force. KPD is the only department in the county with no female officers, something the female-majority city council finds unacceptable. And since he’s in contention for the chief’s job, making nice with the city council is not just preferable, it’s a necessity.
      All of which is his problem, not mine. My job is to make sure this candidate has what it takes, psychologically, to be a cop, and given the results of her psych tests, she seems to fill the bill. All she needs now is to complete my interview and she’s on her way to the police academy. At this point, it would be rare for her or any applicant to flunk the interview process, but it happens. The person and the paper avatar are sometimes not the same, which is why state law requires me to do interviews and not just rely on the results of the candidate’s written tests.
      When Randy showed up a week ago to take the battery of tests I administer, she had long silky hair. Today her hair is cut into a short spiky cap, pixie style with little points and wisps. No fuss, no muss, nothing for a bad guy to grab. I take this new hairstyle as an expression of her confidence that I’m going to give her a green light. And, as far as I can see, she’s probably right. She seems like an excellent candidate. Psychologically stable, good impulse control, no problems with anger, not excessively vulnerable to stress or substance abuse, extraverted, and optimistic. Born into a law enforcement family, she was a star athlete in high school, completed college with a 3.0 and recently married her high school sweetheart who is a sheriff’s deputy.
      We go through the usual questions about why she wants to be a cop, and I get the usual answers— to make a difference in her community and to help people.
      “And your family? How do they feel about you being a police officer?”
      “They’re all in law enforcement, except my mom. She worries about me, of course. But growing up with my brothers, she knows I can take care of myself.”
      “Tough being the little sister?” I ask.
      “A little.”
      I take her candor as a sign that she isn’t afraid to admit to some weakness which suggests that she might be willing to get help if she ever needs it and— being a cop— it’s fairly certain that she will. Sometime, somewhere, she’ll run into something or someone that will give her nightmares. The sooner she talks about it, the better off she’ll be.
      “You know what they say, good things come in little packages, so does poison.” She smiles and then winces when she realizes that I’m as short as she is, and I’m not laughing. “What I mean is I gave it back as good as they gave it, which is why I know I can handle a bad guy. Not that I’d be aggressive, hit somebody for no reason or anything like that.” I let her trip over her own words for another minute to see where this leads and when she stops digging herself into a hole I move to my next question.
      “Your husband is a deputy sheriff. How does he feel about you becoming a cop?”
      She looks to the ceiling, gathering her thoughts, careful to take this question more seriously. She’s worried that I’ve taken offense at her spontaneous little joke. To the contrary, I’m finding her rather delightful, although I can’t show it.
      “We talked about it for a long time. He knows it’s what I’ve wanted to do forever. I mean, my father and brothers are all in law enforcement. How could I not be? What we agreed was that we wouldn’t work in the same department, that we’d try to work similar shifts so we could see each other more, and that we wouldn’t bring work home. Think that makes sense, Doc?”
      I’m tempted to dig deeper, probe the concern behind her question. Police marriages are complicated— too many variables. It works well for some and for others it’s double trouble, two overly stressed people living life in a fishbowl.
      Anyhow, this isn’t therapy, this is a pre-employment screening interview, and I have strict guidelines to follow. Any conversation beyond the purpose of determining her stability is strictly off limits.
      “I think we’ll be okay. I know we will. Rich and I have known each other since high school. We read each other like books. I helped him study when he was going through the academy: I made flash cards, tested him on his ten codes. I even let him put me in handcuffs.” A pink flush brightens her face. Some association between handcuffs and sex or domestic abuse. She shifts a little further forward. “Now he can help me. We’re a team.”
      Mark and I were a team once. We studied together, wrote together, taught together, and practiced together. The only thing he did without me was fall in love with his psychology intern. And then he divorced me, married her, and had the child he never wanted us to have together. I shake my head to loosen the clutch of old memories.
      “We’re just about through. Do you have any questions for me?” “Did I pass?” “I’ll have my report in forty-eight hours. As you know, I have no decision-making authority— all I do is recommend, thumbs up or thumbs down. The final decision belongs to Acting Chief Pence.” Her shoulders sag a little at yet another impediment. “But you’ll be relieved to know that I’m going to give you a thumbs up. Congratulations.”
      “Really?”
      “Yes, really.”
      She closes her fist, pumps her arm in the air and whispers “yes” dragging the esses out in a long hiss. I imagine she’d rather jump up and shout, but given the formality of the situation she shows admirable restraint and an appropriate reading of the social context.
      I stand. She stands. We shake hands. “You have no idea how much this means to me. I’ve wanted this all my life. Being a cop is my dream come true.” She shakes my hand again. “Thanks, Doctor,” she says, “I promise. You won’t be sorry.”

The Right Wrong Thing
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The Series: Dot Meyerhoff Mysteries

Click on the book cover to Look Inside the book on Amazon and read an excerpt.

Burying Ben [1]

Dot Meyerhoff has barely settled into her new job as a psychologist for the Kenilworth Police Department when Ben Gomez, a troubled young rookie that she tries to counsel, commits suicide without any warning and leaves a note blaming her. Overnight, her promising new start becomes a nightmare. At stake is her job, her reputation, her license to practice, and her already battered sense of self-worth. Dot resolves to find out not just what led Ben to kill himself, but why her psychologist ex-husband, the man she most wants to avoid, recommended that Ben be hired in the first place. Ben's surviving family and everyone else connected to him are determined to keep Ben's story a secret, by any means necessary. Even Ben, from the grave, has secrets to keep.

Right from the start, Dot's investigation efforts get her into trouble. First she alienates Ben's training officer, who is barely managing to hold onto his own job. With the police chief watching over her shoulder, she tries to help the officer with disastrous consequences. After reaching out to console Ben's pregnant--and slightly sociopathic--widow, Dot winds up embroiled in the affairs of her incredibly dysfunctional family. Dot's troubles are compounded by a post-divorce romance, the ex who still has a hold over her, and an unwelcome visit from his new wife. By the time she uncovers the real reasons behind Ben's suicide and brings the people responsible to justice, Dot has not only resurrected belief in herself, she has also acquired some surprisingly useful new skills: impersonating a public official, burglary, and assault with a deadly weapon.

[Published by Aakenbaaken & Kent, 2 August 2013, 245 pages]

About the Author

Ellen Kirschman, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in independent practice. She is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Society for the Study of Police and Criminal Psychology, the American Psychological Association, and the International Association of Women in Law Enforcement. She is the recipient of the California Psychological Association's 2014 award for distinguished contribution to psychology as well as the American Psychological Association's 2010 award for outstanding contribution to the actice of police and public safety psychology.

Ellen is the author of the award-winning I Love a Cop: What Police Families Need to Know, I Love a Fire Fighter: What the Family Needs to Know, and lead author of Counseling Cops: What Clinicians Need to Know (2013). Her debut novel, Burying Ben: A Dot Meyerhoff Mystery (2013) is about police suicide told from the perspective of the psychologist.

Ellen and her husband live in Redwood City, California.br />
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