Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Adventures in Research

Congratulations to "Willa", "b.Coffey2", and "Carol T.", the winners in Ann's giveaway. Please contact JUST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE to claim your prize!

My favorite part of being an author is the chance to live in the skins of my characters. Most of the time this involves flights of imagination. But sometimes I get the opportunity to step out of my head and play pretend in the real world.

This is the story of one of those times.

A few years ago, I participated in my local citizens’ police academy as research for my stories. The 10-week course gave me an idea of the training my police chief character Val Ryker (Pushed Too Far, Burned Too Hot, Dead Too Soon) and her coworkers went through as police officers. I got the opportunity to do things like lift fingerprints, interrogate suspects, drive police cars, and shoot weapons.

It was pretty cool.

One of my favorite experiences was defense and arrest tactics training, or DAT. We practiced de-escalating situations, giving orders in an authoritative tone, baton tactics, using physical holds to control and immobilize a suspect, and handcuffing.

At the time I was working on a scene that would eventually become part of my new release, VICIOUS. My hero in the book is an ex-convict out on parole, and in the scene, the police believed he was his father—a recently escaped serial killer. I wanted the scene to feel authentic, so I explained the scenario to the officers teaching the DAT class, and they were happy to help out… by arresting me!

And here’s the scene from VICIOUS, the fourth and final book in the series Small Town Secrets: Sins, available March 11, 2020.

“Police!” a voice barked, deep and threatening. “Hands up! As high as you can reach! Now!”
Curt’s mouth went dry. He raised his hands, stretching as high as he could. The familiar mix of adrenaline and humiliation tightened his throat.

Movement shifted and rustled from around the house and yard. Cops fanned out from their cars, semiautos and rifles leveled on him, Kevlar vests dark and oppressive in the early-September heat.

An officer approached Melanie and Ian. In less than a second, she whisked them away from Curt and out of the line of fire.

At least they wouldn’t be hurt. Curt could focus on that.

“Keep your hands above your head and slowly turn around.”

Hands high, Curt pivoted slowly, allowing them to see he had no bulges of weapons in the waistband of his jeans, no reason to believe he was dangerous.

As much as he wanted to ask why they were doing this, he kept his mouth shut. He knew how cops thought. He was an ex-con. He had nothing coming. Not even an explanation. And he sure as hell wasn’t going to rile them by demanding one.

“Keep turning.”

Curt turned another 180, until he was facing back toward Melanie.

She crossed her arms around Ian’s chest and held him tight.

The boy watched with wide eyes as if he’d never seen a scene quite like this. No doubt he hadn’t. It wasn’t a scene from his world.

It was a scene from Curt’s.

“Put your hands on top of your head,” the cop ordered.

Curt did, lacing his fingers together the way he’d been taught.

“Down on your knees. Take it slow.”

Curt lowered himself. One knee and then the other hit the pavement. He didn’t have to wonder how Ian saw him now. Curt just hoped it wouldn’t take the kid long to forget him.

“Down on your belly. Arms away from your body. Palms facing up. Cross your ankles.”

Curt had done this maneuver enough while in prison to perform it in his sleep. He flattened himself to the ground and crossed his legs. Cheek pressed against the hot driveway, he moved his arms wide, palms up.

Boots scuffed the concrete around him. A hand grabbed his arm and bent it behind his back. A steel handcuff closed around his wrist. The cop grabbed his other arm, cuffing it to the first. The inflexible bands of steel bit into his wrists.

Buy the Small Town Secrets: Sins series on Amazon or read free in Kindle Unlimited:

Giveaway Alert: 
I’m giving away a Kindle copy of Vicious to three lucky readers who leave comments.

Meet the Author: Ann Voss Peterson is the author of over fifty books and has millions of copies in print all over the globe. Winner of the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award and a Rita finalist, Ann is known for her adrenaline-fueled thrillers and romantic suspense novels, including the Codename: Chandler spy thrillers she writes with J.A. Konrath and her own thriller series featuring small town Wisconsin police chief Val Ryker.
She lives near Madison, Wisconsin with her family and their border collie.

Find Ann online:
Join Ann’s mailing list and get a free book:
Twitter: @annvosspeterson

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST March 12th. Due to GDPR regulations you no longer need to submit your email address in the comments. If you have been selected as a winner your name will be posted at the top of the post. You may then contact to claim your prize. Your email address will be shared with the author/publicist providing the giveaway. 


  1. The book sounds great! And I like the cover too. I don't think I have read anything from this author before. I look forward to reading this.

    1. Thanks, Carol! I agree about the cover. The artist who designed the covers for the series is fabulous.

  2. I'm also unfamiliar with this author, but the book description sounds great. Plus F. Paul Wilson recommended. That's enough to get me intrigued.

    1. Hi, Chuck!
      Paul is a wonderful writer and human being. He was kind enough to read my Val Ryker thrillers (many of those characters also appear in this series, including Val). In addition to that, Paul and J.A. Konrath and I wrote a book together called Fix, featuring Repairman Jack and Chandler from the Codename: Chandler series.

  3. Hi Ann, It was the title that caught my eye. Your cover is great too. This is my kind of book. I volunteered for Victim Services with the RCMP and it is interesting to see how the police work. I can see that you had a lot of fun writing this and am so pleased to see that it is a series.

    1. I'll bet that was interesting, Jan. How long were you a volunteer?

  4. I am quite interested in this book. It sounds like a ride I want to take.

  5. Ooh that cover is striking - the cover gods were smiling on you! Congrats on the release, I am a Ann Voss Peterson virgin so would be delighted to try your work!

    1. I was very excited about the covers for this series. Thanks, Willa!

  6. Tying the citizens police academy training and the book together was perfect. Loved seeing the photos too. Can't wait to read this book. I have the others!

    1. Thanks, Susan! It really was quite an experience.

  7. Thanks, Susan! It really was quite an experience.

  8. I LOVE the Val Ryker books as well as all your books I've read so far. This sounds really good so I'll buy.


Sign up to receive our newsletter