The Graveyard Shift Blog

Since 2008, Lee Lofland has written over 2000 articles on his blog, The Graveyard Shift. Topics such as police procedure, forensics, criminal behavior, and what it’s like to be a cop has helped countless numbers of popular and aspiring writers.

His life’s mission – to remind writers that cordite is dead and gone. Just say no to cordite in your books!

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Is Your Town a Member of the Sweet-As-Apple-Pie Club?

Everyone likes to think their hometowns are the quintessential storybook villages from days long ago, back when we left our front doors unlocked and the car keys in the ignitions of the cars parked in our driveways. The times when kids walked…
Cops: what's up with that look

Cops and Command Presence: What’s Up With That Look?

Predatory animals watch and stalk their prey before moving in for the kill. They're extremely patient, waiting for the perfect target---the weakest animal in the pack---because the battle is easier. Criminals often exhibit similar behavior…
Discovering who killed Kenny

Writing the Perfect Setting: Discovering Who Killed Kenny

Ah, the mind of a mystery writer. Always contemplating the simpler things in life, like car chases, explosions, and murder. For me, there's nothing better than to open a book and instantly feel as if I've been transported to another world,…
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Murder, It Sucks The Air Out Of Living

There's nothing in this world like entering an abandoned house in mid July to begin working a murder case, a scene where the pungent and putrid scent of rotting human flesh and organs fill your nostrils and lungs and adheres tightly to your…
Effects of hanging

Effects of Hanging and Strangulation: Bill Bailey Ain’t Coming Home

"Won't you come home, Bill Bailey, won't you come on home I've moaned that whole day long I'll do all the cookin' honey, I'll even pay the rent I know, that I have done you, oh so, wrong You remember…

Former Inmate #12345-678: My Time in a Federal Prison Camp

Former inmate #12345-678 received a sentence of 37 months to be served in federal prison, followed by 3 years supervised probation. The following is his account of serving time in a federal prison camp. The tale is his and he's told it with…

Going In: The Fatal Funnel

One of the most dangerous aspects of working as a law enforcement officer is not the suspect who’s standing ready to fight, the armed robber who’s decided to stop running and turns square-off with the cop who’s been in pursuit for several…

Say NO to White Horses: The FBI Does This, But Not That!

Many local and state law enforcement have the luxury of maintaining laboratories for forensic testing. Within those labs scientists of various expertise carry out the examinations of a wide assortment of evidence recovered during criminal investigations. Sometimes,…
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Christmas PC is Out of Control!

There's a current PC craze that's attacking practically everything on the planet, from condemning anti-animal language to the lyrics of Christmas songs,. Even certain colorings of cartoon vegetables is taboo. So let's poke around to see if we…

A Cop’s Christmas Eve: Crying, Bleeding, and Dying

Candies and cakes. Eggnog too. Turkey, ham, and stuffing. Pumpkin pie. Gingerbread and chocolate fudge.   Family and friends. A warm fire. Dancing flames. Sizzling cedar logs. Stockings hanging from above.   Family…
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An Orange For Christmas: A Sad But True Story

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night ... A general rule of thumb is to not begin a tale with the weather. I know this and humbly apologize for violating protocol. It's just that the elements are such a crucial part of this story and, well, please…

Working The Graveyard Shift: Shots Fired!

The call came in as "Shots fired. Several people injured." The news, however, was nothing new. Hell, it was Saturday night. Well, technically it was Sunday morning---2 a.m. It would be, after all, a rare occurrence if closing time at Fat…

Christmas For Jimmy Lee Bailey: A Child in Need

The call---a child in need of services. What I found was a child in need of love. His house, held together by random lengths of mismatched clapboard-siding, sat at the end of a hard-packed red clay path. Shreds of tar-paper and rusted…
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Would Sir Isaac Newton Reject Your Shooting Scene?

Experts are often asked what kind of entrance and exit wounds are produced by various types of ammunition. The rounds in the photograph below contain hollow point bullets similar to the rounds fired from the Thompson sub-machine gun I'm holding…

Ammunition: Is Your Writing Out of Bullets?

Billy Buck's heart pert-near stopped cold when he realized he was out of bullets. He frantically dug his grubby and stubby fingers down into each of the pockets of his crud-caked moldy jeans. Nothing. No bullets. He'd have to bare-knuckle and…

The Twelve Nights Of Christmas Graveyard Shifts

The Twelve Nights Of Graveyard On the first night of graveyard my sergeant gave to me, a car-tri-idge and a cuff key. On the second night of graveyard my sergeant gave to me, two ghetto whores and a car-tri-idge and a cuff key. On…
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Researching Cops:What To Do When A Murderer Comes Calling

Writers are a curious bunch of folks who should never let walls, doors, locks, or the word NO stop them from producing high quality books. The tellers of both tall and short tales, in fact, go to great lengths to find detail---the perfect…
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Holiday Gifts: Crime Writer Research Books, and More

Many of you attended virtual MurderCon last summer and/or Writers' Police Academy Online's recent seminar  "Mystery and Murder: Transforming Reality into Fantastic Fiction."  Those of you who couldn't make it missed not only a couple of fantastic…