RJ in Carson City

While living in Nevada’s capital, Carson City, Bob – a skilled photographer and car racing fan – began taking professional-quality photos of the races, the local quarter-mile oval track, and the trophy ceremonies.  He was soon discovered by the local newspapers – as well as by Racing Wheels Magazine. Bob wound up as the racing photojournalist – taking the photos and writing the stories – for a number of publications, often traveling in the race circuit, from California to Texas.  He had a custom van that he parked in the pit – the center of the race track, inside the oval – and had a crew to work with him, for shots that required him to be two places at once.

Having gotten quite a start as a working writer/photographer, upon his retirement, his wife Penny encouraged him to write his memoirs, which he did in a series of vignettes and stories of his time in the police and private investigator, as an ambulance crewmember, car racing photojournalist – even his time in Vietnam.  These stories were so successful that, at Penny’s urging, he turned some of them into his first novel, Gone But Not Forgotten, which he self-published. 

Mon Capitan

From the other room Joseph shouts, “I’m betting on seeing Katie.”

Gary shoots a side glance toward the other room. “Ignore the rude interruption; let me relay what Katie had to say. It turns out she dealt with Mathew on a couple of his visits to juvenile hall. She believes he is a basically good kid but weak willed. He tends to follow others, especially the wrong ones. In their counseling sessions, he told about his mom and his unsettled childhood. She knows his whole background.”

“Does she have any suggestions on what to do next?”

“Well she does have contact with a couple of juvenile officers in Vegas. Seems he isn’t the first Elko youth to skip out to Sin City. She is calling them for any help they can offer. The kid is not 21 yet, but if he gets into trouble, he is not a juvenile, as far as law enforcement is concerned. He will be dealing with real cops—not kiddie cops.”

With raised eyebrows I ask, “We are assuming he will run afoul of the law, sooner or later?”

“That’s been his history,” Joseph adds, leaning in my door.

I get another inspiration. Reaching for the phone, “I’m going to call Preston at Las Vegas Metro. Ask him to periodically check on Mathew’s name, see if it shows up in any of their reports. He’ll do that for me.”

“I though you said he was a homicide detective?” Gary asks.

“Yeah, he is. Preston is a good guy. I wouldn’t mind working with him again.”

Preston and I go back awhile, to when I was chasing the murdering trucker. Metro assigned him to help me. I always felt like I was standing next to Danny Glover when I was with him. Black, tall, six-four at least, with a shaved head, but a compassionate face. We connected right from the start. As did our wives when they met.

I give Preston a call. He is happy to assist when I tell him about the heartbroken grandpa.

“So, when are you and your charming wife coming down?” he asks. “You know how Marie enjoys P.K.’s company.”

Andy has called

I check my phone messages and YES, Andy has called. He says he has received the bank info and is perusing it. He will call when he has a clearer picture of what Jeanie was doing. He goes on to say it looks like she was laundering the dentist’s money into her own bank account.

We pull into the parking lot of the complex and locate the Cadillac. It is in a reserved spot, marked for Unit 123. I have Buzz park in the rear of the lot, get out, and walk around until he spots Unit 123. Jeanie would recognize me. She has not seen Buzz yet. He comes back and slips into the van.

“It’s the third door on the left side of the pool.” He points toward the swimming pool area. Perfect, we are already located where we can watch that door. We get into the back of the van and pull the curtains. Buzz gets the equipment on line and within minutes, the area around Jeanie’s door is on the monitor. Nothing to do now but wait and watch.

There is little activity. No one is using the pool today. The nights are now colder since winter is approaching, but at mid-day, it is still comfortably warm. From the soft layer of steam rising from the pool, I would say it’s heated. This is quite the upscale place. It’s a weekday so maybe the residents are all

working. Jeanie must be planning her next move. She must know the doctors are calling the police on her.

I’m getting thirsty, so I reach into the cooler and look for a water. There is nothing inside but bottles of green tea.

“Buzz, I told you to stock the cooler. This stuff is not fit for human consumption.”

“It’s healthy and good for you, plenty of antioxidants and nutrients.” He is defensive.

I call Gary and tell him to bring water when he comes for his turn.

“Green tea! Yuck,” Shouts Gary into the phone. “I’ll die if that’s all there is to drink. Besides, it makes you pee more. Last thing you want on a surveillance.” So true, but we will not delve any further into that subject.

Elko, Nevada

With no proof that it even was a murder, it becomes up to this detective to first prove that a crime was actually committed, and then to prove that the slick, smarmy dentist actually did kill his wife.

The eerie, remote far-western cattle town known as Elko, located on the banks of the Humboldt River – and roughly half-way between Reno and Salt Lake City – is a major character in this fast-paced, very human story of life and death and retribution.  I-80, one of America’s major east-west Interstates, which cuts across the great American desert as it follows the trail of the first intercontinental railroad – the Central Pacific. This Interstate angles right through the heart of Elko, and doing so, provides this small cowboy town with its primary connection to the rest of the world.  The desert around Elko is profoundly beautiful, especially if you like stark.  Remarkably isolated, Elko’s nearest town-neighbors of any size are each roughly 100 miles away – in Utah, Idaho and Nevada.

Told with a clear-cut, clean style and with details only a career police officer such as author RJ Waters could know, Cold But Not Forgotten is, as one reviewer said, “a compelling page-turner, a story of life, love, murder and death in a remote desert-town setting.”

Cold But Not Forgotten – the story of a murder so cold it makes your teeth hurt.

A cold-blooded murder is committed in sleepy little Elko Nevada, an isolated town in the Great American Desert.  The facts seem clear to the cop who discovered the body, but the evidence of a murder is apparently non-existent.  The wife of prominent and successful local dentist died, apparently while jogging in a county park. This park was just outside Elko’s city limits – and therefore, just a few yards outside the jurisdiction of the chief detective in Elko city’s police force.  Ruled death by natural causes by the medical examiner, who did not do an autopsy on the still-young woman, her body is buried without a lot of fanfare.  Later that same day, the dentist sells his home and his practice, buys his office manager a brand-new Cadillac, and relocates his practice (and his office manager) to Sin City, Las Vegas. 

When Real Life Becomes Grist for the Mill

Long before I dreamed of being a writer – let alone having the thrill of a lifetime by getting my novel published by a strong publishing house, The Wild Rose Press, I was living the life that would become grist for my novel-writing career.  Nobody knows how cops work in quite the way that cops themselves do. You can watch all the TV cop shows, read all the police procedural crime novels you can get your hands on, but it still is nothing compared to the fifteen years I wore the badge, back in California.  That experience helped me – a lot! – with writing my just published novel, Cold But Not Forgotten, along with my forthcoming prequel, Gone But Not Forgotten.

That wasn’t all, though. I worked as a PI – a private detective – as well as working casino security.  I got a great deal of insight into human nature when I became a detective with the state workers comp agency. It was my job to investigate recipients to see if they were truly injury-limited … a remarkable number of them were faking it. I documented their hard manual labor on film and video, and I got a remarkable degree of satisfaction exposing frauds and proving their deceptions.  I saved the state, and employers, millions of dollars by proving that hundreds of someones, assigned to workers comp with “soft-tissue back injury” – i.e., one that is real, but doesn’t show up on X-Rays – were actually able to re-roof a house, or jack up and work under a king-cab pickup truck, or schlep around 50-pound bags of concrete or compost.  The videos were as funny as they were damning – I got a lot of pleasure out of foiling these frauds.

Chapter 50

With Jeanie and Anna out of the way, we can continue our search of the premises and vehicles. There is a plethora of incriminating evidence located in the condominium—bank statements, printed forms for the phony business, and even a copy of the order to the printers for the forms, signed by Anna. Their computer yields a host of e-mails back and forth between Anna and Jeanie. Spelled out in black and white with incriminating details, is their swindle. My team takes the documents and computer but leaves the crime lab crew to see what else they can uncover. Anna also had a vehicle parked in the lot. However, neither car had anything of apparent evidentiary value inside. We did have them impounded, just in case.

D.A. Bates looks around the room and smiles. “Lieutenant, I am so proud of how you and your team have handled this difficult case. You know it’s my job to keep you within legal guidelines, so we can successfully prosecute. I am quite confident with the evidence in this entire matter.”

After that praise, back at the office, my team is enthusiastically writing their reports of the operation. Yeah right, not the fun part, but the whole case rests on our reports being written properly. Buzz is searching the computer to see what other secrets it may hold.

Crap, I work with Carl again tonight. Two days off

aren’t enough, if you are doing two jobs.