By day, I’m an anthropologist with a taste for bones. I measure them, massage the data, make my best guess about who they belong to, and sometimes try figure out how they got that way. Having worked on war crimes investigations, I’m mostly interested in the wholesale methods by which those bones are produced, but I’ve also done my bit at the scenes of a lot of domestic kerfuffles, and some of those were pretty peculiar.
By night, I’m a writer. I feed my work experience as a crime scene investigator into works of fiction. That means I’ve changed the names of the players and thrown in other elements, yielding everything from mystery to horror to fantasy to science fiction. The trick, of course, is to tell enough of a lie to keep it fictional, and to tell enough of the truth to get at the heart of the thing. Real life outdoes my efforts on a regular and rather frightening basis, however, and I feel compelled to take a harder look at that intersection – reality vs. story, good vs. evil vs. stupid, the layers that make up both characters and real people, and what true justice is. I warn you, I’m going to complain, and gnash my teeth, and sometimes scream about the justice system as a whole. Because I live in San Francisco’s Bay and Delta region, the cases I talk about will mostly have local connections -like my first series of posts, concerning a string of murders that stretched up and down the length of California. Some are world-famous and others are unsolved, officially. One, at least, happened in my home town.