Friday, March 2, 2018

Please Excuse My Badge: A Guest Post from Author Isabella Maldonado

We welcome Isabella Maldonado, author of the new Phoenix Burning (the second book in the Veranda Cruz Mystery Series), to Midnight Ink's blog today! Here she shares some of the quirks that remain after retiring from the force.

As a retired police officer with over two decades in uniform, transitioning into civilian life has been…challenging at times. It seems that being a cop requires certain behaviors and skills that don’t transition well. Here are a few examples:
  • Driving fast–Full disclosure: I love to drive fast. I've also had the training to be able to do it. Getting to a dentist appointment, however, is not considered a valid reason for doing so. This fact has led to some tickets. Had to learn how to slow wayyyy down. Now I drive at a sedate pace most of the time. Safer, but not as much fun.
  • Taking charge–When I retired, my rank was Captain. I had been in some sort of supervisory role for over ten years. Before that, even as a patrol cop, people looked to me to handle the situation when I arrived at a scene. After all, that's why people call the police, right? Well, when you're a regular person—and a woman to boot—such behavior can earn you the title "pushy broad." I've had to learn to bite my tongue and let situations play themselves out rather than offer suggestions.
  • Investigating–Police are taught to ask a lot of questions. We dig for information from witnesses, suspects, victims, and even passersby. This is good police work. But when your well-honed cop curiosity comes out in regular life, it's called "being nosy." I had to shut that down immediately upon leaving the force.
  • Gallows humor–I don't think this will ever go away. After getting a few hard looks, I've learned to keep the jokes to myself. Kind of a shame. Some of that stuff is hilarious.
  • Jumping when the phone rings–Years of being on call 24/7 have conditioned me with the Pavlovian response to snatch the phone every time it buzzes. In the shower. On the toilet. In the bathtub. Pushing my cart down the aisle at the supermarket. Yeah, I need a 12-step program for this one.
  • Constant vigilance–Cops incessantly plan for worst case scenarios and imminent attack. This keeps them alive while on the job, but has a weird effect when grocery shopping. A friend of mine (also a retired cop) once dropped into a crouch and reached for his gun when a small child's balloon popped at a play park. Turns out he wasn't wearing his duty weapon–because he was no longer on duty–so he ended up patting his empty waist band. I think he would have cleared leather if he'd been wearing a sidearm.

So the trick is to have a positive outlook and to forgive yourself for certain lapses. Fortunately, I'm blessed with wonderful friends and a supportive family who truly get me, quirks and all. It's a package deal.


Phoenix Burning The battle between Veranda Cruz and the Villalobos cartel turns Phoenix into a war zone

Homicide Detective Veranda Cruz will stop at nothing to take down the Villalobos cartel. But when a wave of violence in the city escalates, she fears that the secrets of her past will take her down instead.

Adolfo Villalobos is a crime boss who's determined to stake his claim. To prove that he's ready to run his family's sprawling criminal empire, he devises a plan to silence his siblings and destroy Veranda, leaving a trail of destruction through downtown Phoenix that makes national headlines. Veranda believes the task force she's been assigned to lead will end the cartel's reign of terror, until Adolfo's revenge takes a cruel—and highly personal—twist.

Praise for the Veranda Cruz Mystery series:

"...[A] tightly plotted police procedural."
Publishers Weekly on Phoenix Burning (Starred Review)

"A highly entertaining police procedural . . . Hang on tight for the ride of a lifetime across Southern Arizona as Maldonado rises to her written challenge to entertain, enthrall and engage readers in this high octane thriller."
Suspense Magazine

"Maldonado's a writer to watch, and she showcases her own extensive law enforcement background in this tightly plotted police procedural."
Publishers Weekly on Blood's Echo (starred review)

Isabella Maldonado retired from law enforcement as a Commander of Special Investigations and Forensics. During her long career, she was recognized with a Meritorious Service Award and a Lifesaving Award, and she was selected to attend executive management training at the FBI's National Academy. Isabella is the immediate past president of the Phoenix chapter of Sisters In Crime. She lives in Mesa, Arizona. You can visit her at

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