By Diann Adamson
City Police—Chase Gangs out of Neighborhoods
Rural Police—Chase Cows off roads.
City Police—De-escalate situations before they turn violent
Rural Police—Disentangle Bob and Bettie after a night of distilled-partaking before they kill each other.
Wanting to offer a setting to my readers somewhat exotic, where most tourists don’t set their vacation plans, I chose Iowa. My root family has lived in the Iowa City area since the 1860’s. My family has had great characters—from a Grandfather who was in vaudeville to another Grandfather who raised hogs and read Whitman.
I work little to create my characters, I know my characters. I embrace their dialects, nuisances, elations and irritations. My protagonist, Lillian Dove in the Lillian Dove Mystery series, works to discover what life may have been like should she never have taken a drop of alcohol at the age of twelve. Living in Frytown, at the age of thirty-six, she finds herself enamored by the Chief of Police, sought after and seduced by playboy Jacque Leveque, Detective of Major Crimes, while pushed close to insanity by her convalescent mother, Dahlia Dove, queen of denial and the trigger to most of Lillian’s angst.
The Frytown Police may be rural but that doesn’t mean they don’t hold to high standards. Dispatch Operator Donna Stockman uses State Police Codes as well as offers personal advice: (Admit to Mayhem, first book in series)
Garth Davis, rookie parole officer, rescued me from Donna’s interrogation by calling to ask for a ten-zero. Donna said, “You asked for one not more than fifteen minutes ago, Garth. What’s up?”
He groaned. “Ah, Mary Beth cooked meat loaf last night.”
Donna’s voice now sounded like a naughty finger. “I should call Mary Beth’s mother and tell her to start teaching that girl how to cook, or we’re going to have to hire a new rookie.”
Second book in the series, SUPPOSE, widens the criminal element from Frytown to Davenport, from local police to Federal Agencies. Lillian is accused of a crime by someone from her “dysfunctional past,” blackmailed, pulled deeper into games played by good guys (FBI) and bad, taking her to a breaking point where she has to decide to join or die playing it safe.
I stared at the shed where I’d been kept. Setting it on fire wasn’t beyond my thoughts. I twisted around. Pane’s house could use a good smokin’ too. I wasn’t about to go back inside and wait. What if hearing that his shipments were being stopped, Cole came back to hide at Pane’s?
I wanted to go back upstairs and take a shower. I stripped, throwing my underwear in the bushes. Shook out my jeans as best I could and tugged them back on.
Better? Of course, I could no longer smell myself.
I went over to the lawnmower. Leveque left the keys in the ignition. I started up the machine and headed down the road at a rate of maybe fifteen, twenty miles an hour.
I use paradoxical themes in my work—humor-tragedy, good-evil, love-hate, because I think human behavior is full of irony. I want readers to worry for the protagonist but then laugh with her when she finds herself in awkward situations.
Award Winner at the Midwest Book Festival and Nominated for a Clue Award in Suspense, DJ Adamson is the author of the Lillian Dove Mystery series and the mystery/science fiction trilogy Deviation. Author, instructor, she is also Vice President for the Central Coast Sisters in Crime and Membership Director for Sisters in Crime, Los Angeles.
She also reviews authors and their work on Le Coeur de l’Artiste which can be found on her web page: http://www.djadamson.com
5 replies on “Guest Post: Rural Characters, Rural Cops”
I believe stories of police in a rural setting can be even more interesting than the more common big city tales. That’s why I set my Sticks Hetrick series in a fictional small community near Harrisburg PA. Enjoyed the read.
I agree! I also set my Nick and Meredith Mysteries in rural Sonoma County, California. The setting becomes another character.
Prefer out of the way, isolated environments. Takes you away–as a reader and writer. Enjoyable post!
Loved the post and the intro to your books–and of course you know I love rural settings.
Marilyn, your Tempe series is more rural than most!