I enjoy writing stories set in Arizona. The landscape has such variation, and the cultural mix is diverse. If you want to write paranormal, there’s a lot of spiritual lore and beliefs to draw on to make the world you create believable. If you’re interested in cowboys, horses, desert or ranch life, you’re definitely in the heart of things here. Or, you can go a completely different direction, and include border issues, drug smuggling and Cartel danger. That’s what I did for Crescent Moon Crossing.
Staff Sgt. Jace Merrick has two short-term goals: Join Army Intelligence, and kill his wife.
When his bleeding-heart spouse, Abby, begins volunteering at Hope House, a group that leaves supplies in the Arizona desert for illegals crossing the border, he hatches a plan to make her murder look like a coyote smuggling operation gone wrong.
But someone beats him to it. Someone who has a grudge against Jace Merrick.
You met these two villains in my last two previous blogs.
Now it’s time to meet the good guys.
Meet main character, Sheriff Cooper (“Coop”) Jones
Coop is a widower with a young daughter, Sadie (you’ll also meet her in the book). His wife was killed by a junkie in a home invasion while Coop was with the Miami police force.
After he buries his wife, Coop decides to get as far away from Miami as possible.
He is now the acting Sheriff of Cochise County, AZ, through a circuitous set of events. The police chief he worked for in Florida met the Maricopa County Sheriff at a national conference, and 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’s 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.
It looks like 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 Army husband, Jace, also has a pretty strong motive to kill his wife. 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.
Someone else has a grudge against Sgt. Jace Merrick. A life and death grudge.
To outsiders, INTJs may see to project an aura of “definiteness” and self-confidence. Sometimes mistaken for arrogance by the less decisive, its source lies in 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.
My choice of actor to play Coop (hey, I can dream), is soon-to-be-Walker Texas Ranger Jared Padalecki. He's leaving a 15-season stint as youngest brother Sam Winchester in Supernatural. If I had to guess, I'm thinking he's an INTJ in real life.
These personality traits should make an interesting sheriff, don’t you think? If you’ve ever watched the Western crime suspense series Longmire on Netflix, you’ve already met an INTJ lawman, and he’s a doozy of an example.
Like Cooper Jones, Sheriff Longmire is also recently widowed. Both characters are men in psychic repair. They bury their pain behind a brave face and meticulous thinking. And both men have a deep understanding and respect for their environment and its indigenous people.
I hope you will come to like Sheriff Coop Jones as much as I’ve enjoyed writing him.
Meanwhile, as I’m working feverishly to this book, take a look at Longmire and Yellowstone, and let me know what you think of their true-to-life western actors.