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Showing posts by: Terry Shames click to see Terry Shames's profile
Jan 5 2017 4:00pm

Writing About Serious Issues

I once asked forensics specialist and author D.P. Lyle what he thought was at the core of criminal behavior. His answer was that most criminals are, in one way or another, trying to save face. Six novels later, I’m still exploring that concept. What is so compelling that it drives a criminal to take someone’s life? It almost never works, so why do killers still think it might? And how does this violent act affect the families and communities of both the victim and the perpetrator? What are the hidden conflicts that come to the surface after a violent act? I’m not interested in serial killers, but in ordinary people driven to the edge.

In my first Samuel Craddock novel, A Killing at Cotton Hill, I felt sympathy for the guilty party, who was driven by desperation to maintain his standing in his world. He deserved to be caught and punished, but I wanted the reader to have some understanding of the complicated reasons for his actions. 

[Read more from author Terry Shames...]

Dec 21 2016 11:00am

An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock: New Excerpt

Terry Shames

An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock by Terry Shames is the 6th book in the Samuel Craddock Mystery series (Available January 3, 2017).

When the Jarrett Creek Fire Department is called to douse a blaze on the outskirts of town, they discover a grisly scene: five black young people have been murdered. Newly elected Chief of Police Samuel Craddock, just back from a stint in the Air Force, finds himself an outsider in the investigation headed by the Texas Highway Patrol. He takes an immediate dislike to John Sutherland, a racist trooper.

Craddock’s fears are realized when Sutherland arrests Truly Bennett, a young black man whom Craddock knows and respects. Sutherland cites dubious evidence that points to Bennett, and Craddock uncovers facts leading in another direction. When Sutherland refuses to relent, Craddock is faced with a choice that will define him as a lawman—either let the highway patrol have its way, or take on a separate investigation himself.

Although his choice to investigate puts both Craddock and his family in danger, he perseveres. In the process, he learns something about himself and the limits of law enforcement in Jarrett Creek.


When I walk into the kitchen Monday morning, Jeanne is standing with her back to me, stirring oatmeal on the stove. She’s still in her nightgown, and the outline of her body is visible through

the sheer fabric. My breath catches. I walk up behind her, put my arms around her, and nuzzle her neck, where she says it always makes her feel weak. She shivers and nestles back into me. She smells like lemon and soap. I slip my hands up to her breasts, and she whispers, “Samuel, the oatmeal . . .”

[Read the full exerpt from An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock...]