January 2012

January 8 HoTXSinC Meeting

Sisters in Crime Heart of Texas Chapter


Detective Ruben Vasquez

Criminal Investigations Division
Georgetown Police Department 


Murder Investigation Step by Step

Georgetown Police Department Criminal Investigations Division (CID) Detective Ruben Vasquez started his law enforcement career in 1992 for the Nueces County Sheriff’s Department in Corpus Christi, Texas. He worked as a patrol officer as well as in warrants and at the jail. He made a move to Georgetown, Texas, in 2003, and was a dedicated patrol officer for four years. He also serving as a field training officer, training new recruits.

Vasquez is now a major crimes detective and an investigator for sexual and physical child abuse. In addition to his regular duties, he is the lead Hostage Negotiator for the Georgetown P. D. and a mental health officer and instructor. He teaches other officers how to handle contact with people who have mental health issues, such as schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, and autism. He has worked in CID for four of the eight years he has been with the Georgetown P. D.

Sisters in Crime Heart of Texas Chapter, meets monthly on the second Sunday of the month at 2:00 p.m. at the Westlake Barnes & Noble bookstore, located at the southeast corner of Loop 360 and Bee Cave Road, in The Village at Westlake shopping center.

For information contact Joyce Arquette, Publicity, at (512) 266-6543.


Before & After the Meeting    

Before our meeting on January 8, 2012, we invite you to join us for lunch around 12:30 p.m. at Hangtown Grill, at The Village at Westlake Shopping Center–down the drive from Barnes & Noble Westlake.  They have a selection of burgers and sandwiches, and you can usually get a meal for about $10.00.

After the meeting we will be taking to dinner our speaker, Detective Ruben Vasquez, at La Madeleine Westlake, around the corner from Hangtown Grill, at the opposite end from Barnes & Noble along the same drive.  They have a selection of entrees, and a buffet with salads and quiche and soup and of course desserts.  You can usually get a meal there for $10.00-$15.00.


Time to Renew HoTXSinC Membership

HoTXSinC 2012 dues are due this month. Bring your $20.00 for the coming year’s membership to a meeting or send them to

Sarah Ann Robertson, Membership/Treasurer
Sisters in Crime Heart of Texas Chapter
13000 Hymeadow Drive #210
Austin, Texas 78729


Book Review

Left for Dead by JA Jance

Review by Elizabeth Buhmann

JA Jance’s latest mystery begins with the compelling story of a young runaway prostitute who is tortured, raped, and callously discarded in the Arizona desert. Not far away, Sheriff’s Deputy Jose Reyes makes what he thinks will be the last routine traffic stop of the day. It turns out to be a near-fatal ambush. Both victims are left for dead in the arid wilderness outside Tucson.

Ali Reynolds is an ex-TV anchorwoman featured in six previous Jance murder mysteries. She is also a friend and former classmate of Reyes. In the grim halls outside the ICU where Reyes clings to life, Reynolds comes across none other than her old friend Sister Anselm. Sister Anselm is there to serve as patient advocate for the unidentified and still unconscious rape and beating victim.

The plot soon thickens as drugs and cash are found not only at the scene of the Reyes shooting but at his home as well. The evidence suggests that the straight-arrow young deputy sheriff was shot in the course of a drug deal gone bad. Only his staunchest friends, including Ali Reynolds, refuse to believe it.

Meanwhile, Sister Anselm finds allies in her effort to identify and protect “Jane Doe.” The border patrol agent who found the girl can’t get the savagery of the attack off his mind. He teams up with the no-nonsense Tucson homicide detective assigned to investigate what begins to look like the work of a serial killer.

The violence escalates. Another murder victim – and more drugs – turn up in the tiny Arizona town where Reyes lives, and a killer breaches hospital security, looking to finish off the injured girl. Ali Reynolds and Sister Anselm join forces as the story races to a climax against the menacing backdrop of out-of-control drug traffic, sexual sadism, and old family grudges.

New York Times best-selling author JA Jance has built a long and distinguished career writing multiple popular detective series, including the Ali Reynolds mysteries. She has written twenty books featuring Seattle Homicide Detective JP Beaumont and fourteen Joanna Brady mysteries. In all, Jance has published more than forty books in these three series alone, all still in print, some after more than twenty-five years, which makes her one of the most prolific and successful detective series writers on the current scene. She has also written four inter-related thrillers about the Walker family, set in the southwest.

Any mystery writer hoping to create a successful detective series would do well to study Jance’s work. Her many loyal followers will attest to her mastery of the art of reintroducing characters without boring readers who already know them, and of allowing those characters to evolve over time. Jance maintains continuity while at the same time delivering fresh stories and new twists on the old themes of murder, vice, brutal rage, greed and vengeance.

Mystery readers love an author they can turn to over and over. A mystery addict who has not yet connected with JA Jance might want to take a look at Left for Dead. For those who are already fans, it is enough to say that Jance’s newest book is due to be released February 7, 2012.

JA Jance
Touchstone, February 2012
ISBN 1451628587

FTC Disclaimer: The reviewer was provided with a free copy of this book; however, this did not influence the review.

Elizabeth Buhmann has recently completed her first murder mystery, The Made-Up Man. A member of HoTXSinC, she can be contacted at elizabethbuhmann (at) hotmail.com


Book Review

Veil of Lies 

A medieval noir by Jeri Westerson

Review by Gale Albright

Crispin Guest, a former knight, has been stripped of rank and wealth and is alone on the “mean streets” of 1384 London, trying to survive. In modern times he would be a private eye. In the American West, perhaps a bounty hunter. In medieval London, the ex-knight hires out as a “private sheriff.”

Skulking through the filth of London streets and alleys, trying to keep his pitiful wardrobe from falling to pieces, Crispin earns a few pence to pay the rent on his miserable hovel and keep food on the table. He has taken a young orphan under his wing, Jack Tucker, a pickpocket from the streets, who fancies himself Crispin’s squire.

Accused of plotting against his sovereign, King Richard II, Crispin is lucky to have escaped with his life, due to the influence of his former patron, John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster. Out of prison and definitely out of favor, he is persona non grata with his fellow nobles. He scratches out a precarious living by using his wits, doing investigations for those who can afford to pay. In Veil of Lies, the first novel in Jeri Westerson’s medieval noir series, Crispin is hired to spy on Nicholas Walcote’s lovely young wife.  Walcote, a wealthy merchant, thinks she might be cheating on him. Unfortunately, the next day, when Crispin returns to the merchant’s manor to give a shocking report on his wife’s behavior, he finds Walcote has been savagely murdered—inside a room locked from within. A mystery to be sure.

Although he thinks she might be a murderess, Crispin is attracted to Philippa, the merchant’s beautiful widow. She tells him her husband was murdered because of a holy relic he has hidden in the house, a “veronica veil” called the Mandyllon, which supposedly has the true image of Christ’s face imprinted on it. Her husband, fearful and nervous ever since he had acquired the relic on a trip toEurope, had added new locks to the doors. She wants Crispin to locate the relic’s hiding place and get rid of it.

During his search for the Mandyllon, Crispin is beaten up by London Sheriff Simon Wynchecombe and almost killed by mysterious foreigners. Against his better judgment, he becomes intimately involved with Philippa Walcote.

The psychological effects of Crispin’s banishment from the nobility add depth and dimension to the novel. Caught between two worlds, he is forced to rub elbows with the lower classes. It is very hard and painful for him to deal with them as equals. The lessons he learns and mistakes he makes are part of the growth of the character.

Readers who like historical fiction, action, and romance, will enjoy Veil of Lies and the other novels in the Crispin Guest medieval noir series. Jeri Westerson’s meticulous historical research brings the world of medieval London to life, adding to the richness and mood of the novel.

So, put on your cotehardie, grab your cloak and dagger, and take a walk on the dark side of old London—and watch your back.

To find out more about author Jeri Westerson and her collection of medieval weaponry, check the following link:   http://www.bookpeople.com/event/mysterypeople-presents-costume-party-w-jeri-westerson-troubled-bones

Jeri Westerson
St. Martin’s Press, 2008
ISBN 978-0-312-37977-3

FTC Disclaimer: HoTXSinC received a free review copy of this book from the publisher. Receiving the book did not influence the review.

Gale Albright is a member of HoTXSinC, a former Barbara Burnett Smith Aspiring Writer, and a 2008 Writers’ League of Texas Manuscript Contest Winner, YA Division. She is working on a historical novel for middle grade readers and a mystery novel.


The Word on Our Members and Friends

Sylvia Dickey Smith’s A War of Her Own was named one of the “Top Five Books of 2011” by Chick Lit Cafe.



Kaye George’s story, “Henry, Gina, and the Gingerbread House” was
included in the Grimm Tales anthology, which came out in December from
Untreed Reads. It made the top ten bestseller list for December for
the publisher. The volume is available in digital form only at Untreed Reads.



Writing-World.com lists contests and more for mystery writers. Subscribe to the Writing-World.com newsletter here.


For a list of writing contests, consult In Reference to Murder.



For more about Jeri Westerson’s presentation at BookPeople last October, see “Pilgrimage to Canterbury,” on Travels with Kaye.


“How Do You Know If Your Agent Is Any Good?” Jane Friedman asks and answer that question on her blog.


“Recent advances in DNA testing have made pet hair a valuable weapon in a prosecutor’s arsenal, and it’s being introduced in a growing number of court cases.” Sandra Parshall writes about “Animal Forensics” on Poe’s Deadly Daughters.


Lloyd J. Jassin discusses a new way to look at contracts on his blog CopyLaw.


A. B. Emrys writes two posts about Vera Caspary, the author of Laura, on the SINC blog, December 29 and 30.


Kristy Lahoda posts “Forensics Q & A: Explosives Crime Scene Investigation,” on QueryTracker.net.


Check out the new MysteryPeople blog here.



1/11/12 @ 7:30 p.m. – The Mystery Book Discussion Group will discuss Last Car To Elysian Fields by James Lee Burke.


1/18/12 @ 7:00 p.m.-  Taylor Stevens will speak and sign the second book in her Vanessa Michael Munroe series, The Innocent (Crown; $26.00; 12/27/11) – MysteryPeople @ BookPeople


1/22/12 @ 3:00 p.m. – James Carlos Blake will speak and sign his new novel, Country of Bad Wolves – MysteryPeople @ BookPeople


1/23/12 @ 7:00 p.m. – Bestselling author Nevada Barr discusses and signs copies of the 17th book in the Anna Pigeon series, The Rope – Barnes & Noble @ the Arboretum. Seating is first come. Wristbands for the signing line will be handed out starting at 9:00 a.m. on the day of the signing. The Rope must be purchased at Barnes & Noble to be signed. For inquiries, call 512-418-1013.


1/27/12 @ 7:00 p.m. – R. J. Ellory will speak and sign his award-winning novel, A Quiet Vendetta (Overlook Press; $25.95; 1/5/12) – Mystery People @ BookPeople


HoTXSinC 2012 Program Schedule

  • January 8 – Detective Ruben Vasquez: “Murder Investigation Step by Step”
  • February 12 – Gordon A. Bowers: “Property and Evidence Management”
  • March 11 – Durriyah Chinwalla: “Banking as You Don’t Know It, or Laughter Is the Best Medicine
  • April 8 – Easter: No Meeting
  • April 14 or 21 – Possible Workshop
  • May 20 – Barbara Burnett Smith Aspiring Writers Event


Nolo Contendere

Please send news for the February 2012 issue of HOTSHOTS! to katherine.waller68 (at) gmail.com by January 27.


As always, if you find errors or omissions in this (or any other) issue of HOTSHOTS!, please notify me at katherine.waller68 (at) gmail.com. Blogs are forgiving–I can easily make necessary changes.


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