Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Conflict of Interest


When the body of a missing cheerleader is found in a ditch, the local police turn the investigation over to the Pine County sheriff’s department, fearing that the girl’s relationship with the son of a local politician could compromise their objectivity.

Upon arriving at the scene, Sergeant CJ Jensen quickly finds herself embroiled in the politics of the girl’s murder and kidnapping. Calling in Pam Ryan to assist with the investigation, the two veteran officers dig into the girl’s obvious relationship with the politician’s son. While the boyfriend’s shaky alibi seems paper thin, their interviews with the victim’s friends have them questioning other aspects of her life.

A missing laptop computer piques their interest, making them think the murderer’s motive may be buried in her on-line activities.

Read an excerpt...

Deputy Teddy Lawrence, recently appointed Field Training Officer and senior Kanabec County night shift deputy was on patrol with the county’s newest hire. Teddy, a homebred Mora boy, was now in charge of showing the ropes to the sheriff department’s rookie, Kayla Peterson. She was fresh out of Alexandria Technical College’s nine week “skills” training course, and she was eager to be patrolling northwest of Ogilvie.

Kayla stretched and asked, “Why do we even check this dead-end road to Ann Lake Wildlife Management area? No one drives out here this time of year. There’s not even access to the lake from this side.”

 “I’ve caught high school kids drinking, smoking dope, and necking out here. It’s also the perfect place to ditch a stolen car or to dump an unwanted appliance or garbage,” Teddy replied. Noticing a rolled-up carpet lying in the ditch, Teddy pulled the unit over.

 Kayla looked around, trying to discern the reason they’d parked. “Why did you stop? All that’s here is some old carpet the road cleanup people will bag up when they come through. It’s not a police issue.”

 Teddy got out of the car and led Kayla to the ditch. “Life out here is boring, Kay. You might as well check this out. Maybe the owners rolled a piece of mail inside with their address.”

 “Yeah, right. Maybe they left a note admitting they were littering.” The rookie hesitated at the edge of the ditch, looking at the dirty water trickling down the gully. When she realized Teddy wasn’t following her, she asked, “You’re not coming with me?”

about Dean Hovey...

Dean Hovey is a Minnesota-based author with three mystery series. He lives with his wife south of Duluth.

Dean’s award-winning* Pine County series follows sheriff’s deputies Floyd Swenson and Pam Ryan through this police procedural series.

Dean’s Whistling Pines books are humorous cozy mysteries centered on the residents of the Whistling Pines senior residence. The protagonist is Peter Rogers, the Whistling Pines recreation director.

In Dean’s latest series  his protagonist, a retired Minnesota policeman, is drafted into service as a National Park Service Investigator after a murder at a National Monument.

* “Family Trees: A Pine County Mystery” won the 2018 NEMBA award for best fiction.


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