I'm nearing the half-way mark in the novel, and Rumor has been shot and is in the hospital. Coop has come to the realization that he's falling in love with her, and he has vowed to find the attacker. The investigation just got more personal!
There's more on Coop below. It took a while, but now I think I like Coop as well or better than I liked Nicholas in my first book. He's not nearly as cranky, but he's just as inept at expressing his feelings!
He is now the acting Sheriff of Cochise County, AZ, through a circuitous set of events. The police chief he worked under in Florida met Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpio at a national conference, and his boss recommended Coop for a job in Arizona if anything came open.
When the Sheriff of Cochise County was killed in a traffic accident, Coop got the call.
He had only been in Arizona a few months when he has to investigate the murder of a woman, Abby Merrick, in a remote stretch of desert outside Sierra Vista.
She may have stumbled on some Mexican Cartel members smuggling drugs or human cargo across the border. He initially suspects a young Hispanic man who has Cartel ties, and also happens to be the younger brother of Rumor Vargas, a well-respected antiques dealer and business owner in nearby Bisbee.
On the other hand, Abby’s husband has a pretty strong motive to kill his wife as well. He’s in the middle of a long-term affair with a lanky blond Lieutenant with a highly connected daddy.
But the more Coop digs into Abby’s death, the more things don’t quite add up for either of these suspects.
Rumor insists that her brother is innocent. Coop has a lot of respect for her, and his instincts say she is right.
Then someone attacks Rumor, and Coop is desperate to find the perpetrator and keep her safe. He believes his wife would still be alive if he’d paid attention to his instincts then. He’s not about to make the same mistake again.
Coop is fast becoming a favorite character of mine. When I first started writing him, I put the Sheriff’s personality characteristics through the Myer Briggs personality tests (as part of a writing class I was taking). He came back as an INTJ, an interesting character type.
To outsiders, INTJs may see to project an aura of “definiteness” and self-confidence. Sometimes mistaken for arrogance by the less decisive, it is actually a very specific rather than a general nature. Its source lies is the specialized knowledge systems that INTJs start building at an early age. When it comes to their own areas of expertise—and INTJs can have several—they will be able to tell you almost immediately whether or not they can help you, and if so, how. INTJs know what they know, and perhaps still more importantly, they know what they don’t know.
Whatever they happen to be working on is for them the equivalent of amoral cause, and both perfectionism and disregard for authority may come into play.
These personality traits should make an interesting sheriff, don’t you think? If you’ve ever watched the series Western crime suspense Longmire on A&E, you’ve already met an INTJ lawman, and he’s a doozy of an example.
Walt Longmire is the charismatic, dedicated and unflappable sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming. Like Cooper Jones, Sheriff Longmire is also recently widowed. Both characters ae men in psychic repair. And bury their pain behind a brave face and dry wit. And both men have a deep understanding and respect for their environment and its indigenous people.
And come back to visit here next weekend when you will meet our first suspect, Staff Sgt. Jace Merrick.
Until then, good reading!