“A Healing Justice” by Kristin Von Kreisler
c.2018, Kensington Books $15.95
Your pup is a pretty respectable watch dog.
If anyone merely considers walking by your house, it doesn’t go unnoticed. And if someone actually dares knock on your door, well, the ensuing noise pains your ears. Yes, your doggo is protector of hearth and home and, in the new book “A Healing Justice” by Kristin Von Kreisler, he may be protector of the heart.
It happened so fast that Andrea Brady barely had time to think.
There she was, just home after an overtime shift with the San Julian, Washington, Police Department and ready for some sofa-time with her K9 partner and best bud, Justice, when Justice ran into the woods behind their house. One minute, he was snarling, then he’d been stabbed and was shrieking in pain and a man with a knife was racing toward Andie, who had seconds to react. Pulling her weapon, she shot the man dead, but the “man” was a mere boy – Christopher, a teenager who lived just down the lane.
Tom Wolski probably should’ve excused himself.
He knew that, the minute he was asked to run the investigation into the Brady case. He also knew that doing so would be a great way for him to set himself apart within the Nisqually County Sheriff’s Department. Determining what happened would show Top Brass that Tom was ready for bigger things and better money.
The problem was that, ever since a disastrous blind date that never actually happened, Tom didn’t think much of Officer Andrea Brady.
He didn’t think much of the dead boy’s parents, either. According to them, Christopher was a good kid who never gave them a minutes’ trouble. Maybe, they insinuated, Andrea seduced their son and shot him in a lovers’ quarrel. Tom strongly doubted all that, but clues to why Andrea shot Christopher weren’t adding up.
In the meantime, Andrea struggled: nightmares colored her sleep and flashbacks lit her days. Her dog was on the mend, but she was not. How could she even think of doing her job anymore? How could she rid herself of the cloud of guilt she felt?
Ripped from the headlines and twisted into a bit of romantic mystery with a dog, “A Healing Justice” is a delightful novel, the kind that you can share with pretty much anyone who loves a tale on the lighter side.
Indeed, the action in this book is tame enough for anyone who hates needless violence, and it doesn’t linger in blood and guts. The character cast is short and sweet. The language isn’t even offensive; though there are a tiny handful of rough words, they fit, and aren’t gratuitously placed. Reading this book, if you will, is like wearing your favorite sweatshirt at the end of the summer: comfortable, warm, pleasantly familiar, and not at all complicated. Best of all: a dog.
For lovers of novels with a heart-pound or two, romance fans, and those who read about pooches, “A Healing Justice” should be on your bookshelf.
It’s a book you’ll love. Just watch.
By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
From the moment the police make an arrest to the time the suspect appears in court to face charges, a clock is ticking.
Picture it as a line of dominoes set on end with the first one tipping at the moment of the arrest. The longer the inmate sits in jail, the less likely they are to have a job to return to. That domino falls into the next one, the ability to pay rent. That domino tips into the the next, the likelihood of being able to keeps one’s family, children included, intact. The commanders at the Marion County Jail are trying to stop the dominoes from toppling as soon as possible.
“Anything more than three days and inmates start losing stabilizing factors fast. Even family starts to disintegrate after three days. When it all goes away, it becomes unsafe for the inmate to return to the community,” said Commander Jeff Wood, who oversees community corrections programs for the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. “We have to look at who can be managed safely in the community and we don’t want to have to wait weeks and weeks until they get back some semblance of normal.”
If nights in jail are the stick in deterring crime, Wood’s programs are the carrot that allows those being monitored by public safety agencies to be held accountable while awaiting trial and even if they’ve already been convicted. The tools in the community corrections toolbox range from parole and probation officers, to technological monitoring and things as simple as robocall reminders that a court date is pending.
“As corny as it sounds, incentives work. Accountability is a factor, but we have to be reasonable about when to offer someone another chance,” Wood said.
Lt. Chris Baldridge, spokesperson for the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, offered a recent example:
“We got a tip that a guy with a parole violation warrant was at a business where he worked. We took two or three deputies and spoke with him on the site. He lied to us at the start, but we eventually confirmed who he was. But the employer came out and spoke with us and told us that he was a great employee. Then a family member showed up and told us he wasn’t using or committing new crimes. We called his parole officer and we worked out a solution in which he came back to jail and was back out at his job as soon as possible.”
While that decision was made in the field, Wood and his counterpart overseeing the jail itself, Commander Tad Larson, are working on ways to bolster the alternative monitoring programs offered by the Sheriff’s Office. In the coming months, they hope to debut two new employees whose sole duties will be interviewing suspects as soon as possible after an arrest to determine their suitability for a monitored release.
“They will interview the suspect and determine what resources they already have in the community. Some might be released and have to deal with robocalls, others might get regular one-on-one contacts, others might end up with GPS monitors,” Wood said.
For inmates already sentenced to jail time, the Transition Center provides alternative supervision that allows inmates to maintain employment off-site or take part in community service projects – think highway work crews. Additionally, they can qualify for programs aimed at improving life skills, such as parenting and anger management classes, or spend time applying for jobs or building resumes on monitored computers. As a whole, the community corrections programs is as much a set of diversionary tools as it is a way to alleviate overcrowding at MCJ.
“You can’t build enough beds to lock away all the people you don’t want to see. You have to remember that, eventually, the ones who go to prison are coming back to society, and usually back to the communities where they were arrested. We try to provide stabilizing factors through programs we offer at the Transition Center,” Larson said.
Regardless of whether someone spends a night in jail or is determined to be a match for alternative monitoring, the work is done with an eye on the ticking clock.
“We are trying overcome the logjam of people going from the streets to arrest to court to incarceration to the streets and then another arrest. The swifter we get someone through the system the more amenable they are to taking part in support services that can stop them from re-offending,” Wood said.