Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Kidnapped is now out in paperback!

For those of you who've waited for the paperback edition, it's out now. I hope you'll enjoy this most recent Irene Kelly book.

I hope to see some of you in Santa Barbara this Saturday at the book festival.

You've all been extremely patient with me this month, and I appreciate that. I have a lot to tell you about, but for various reasons, I need to wait a day or two to post again. Meanwhile, know that I am truly thankful for my readers!


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Calling All Californians -- Urgent Help Needed for Our Labs

Did you know that in the State of California, there are more minimum requirements set by the state for the training of the person who cuts your hair than there are for those who examine evidence in murder cases?

If you live in California (or are willing to contact a friend or relative there to ask for help for crime labs, please fell free to forward this message):

Legislation to help California crime labs is now on the governor's desk. Assembly Bill 1079 would create a task force to conduct a much-needed review of the state of forensic science labs in the state. AB1079 was passed in the State Senate and Assembly, but Governor Schwarzenegger has thus far refused to sign it into law. We hope to avoid a veto of this important bill, and your help is urgently needed!

Please call, fax, e-mail or write a letter to the governor as soon as possible!

Here's the contact info:

The Honorable Arnold Schwarzenegger
Governor of California
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814

Phone: 916-445-2841
Fax: 916-445-4633
E-mail via

Here is a sample letter:

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger,

I am writing to express my strong support for AB1079, which would create the Crime Laboratory Review Task Force.

California's eleven state and nineteen local crime labs provide a wide range of forensic science services. However, there are no universal standards for certification for criminalists in California nor is there a mandatory requirement that all crime laboratories meet minimum standards. These labs evolved over decades without any statewide planning, review, or coordination to maximize their capabilities and effectiveness.

Our labs play a critical role in law enforcement, justice, and public health and safety. I urge you to sign AB1079 so that we may make the best use of this invaluable asset to our state.


[include your name, address and phone number when signing.]

Thank you! Please send a copy of your letter or e-mail message to
"contact [[@ ]] crime lab"
(remove all brackets and spaces in anything between the quotation marks, and don't include the quotation marks, either.)

If you want to read the legislation itself, please click here to see the original version -- or to see it as amended, click here and search by Bill Number for AB1079.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Slowly but surely

I'm way, way, behind on all kinds of things. Posting here, for one.

But I'm trying to catch up, and slowly but surely I'm making progress.

For the moment, I want to respond to some comments left here, and decided it would be easiest to do that in one post rather than hope that people see my reply back in the archives of the blog.

So with apologies for the delay, I want to reply

to Mike, who is now already down in San Diego (and I hope you are enjoying that lovely city!), I can only hope you've already gone to Thornton's Irish Pub in nearby El Cajon and discovered that they have lots of parking, great entertainment, and wonderful food.

to Joyce, I can think of few ways to better waste time than 30 minutes of -- laughter is the best medicine, as they say.

to Louise, yes -- if you had told me a few years ago that I would be a big fan of an alligator, I don't think I'd have believed you. There you have it.

to Sharon, with thanks for asking, yes, Bloodlines is the next Irene Kelly book. Kidnapped after that. You can see the list of books in order on my Web site. The books with numbers as titles (Nine and Eighteen) are the only two not related to the series, although Eighteen (in some booksellers computers as 18) has two Irene short stories in it.

to Bill, thank you! I'm so glad you liked Kidnapped! I appreciate your taking the time to let me know -- hearing kind words from readers helps me through the days when I think my keyboard could be put to better use.

to Elizabeth, thank you. No need to feel guilt over the pleasure, though! ;-)
I can't really help people individually with their manuscripts or research problems -- I'm writing my own books, running the Crime Lab Project and the Crime Lab Project Foundation, and busy in other ways as well. You didn't tell me the nature of your questions, but if they are about writing a mystery, start with the MWA Handbook, Writing Mysteries.
If you can attend Sisters in Crime's Forensic University of St. Louis, go! It's a great opportunity. I'll be there, and that would be a great place to catch me to ask specific questions. I'll also be at the Surrey International Writers Conference. That's another good place to ask questions.
If you can't go to those events, and your questions are about police procedure, get Lee Lofland's new book. Questions about forensic science, read Doug Lyle's Forensics for Dummies and his new book, Forensics and Fiction. He also has a good course available on DVD. Hope this helps -- best of luck!

Photo of tortoise above used courtesy of bigal101 (Allan Lee), through