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!

Killers on the Block: James Ruppert and Timothy Bradford

Hamilton, Ohio - Easter Sunday, March 30, 1975---probably sometime near the time of day you're reading this article, James Ruppert was in the process of killing his entire family. James was an excellent marksman so there was no better way…
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Policing Through the Years: From Six-Shooters to the Coronavirus

The year is 1982 and I'm assigned to patrol duty in a town called Peaceful. We're bordered by the towns Mean and Nasty. Peaceful, where I work, is the county seat. My name is Officer Hartogold and I work the graveyard shift. I carry a gun…

Ask Me Some Questions and I'll Tell You Some Lies: False Memories

During a police academy class many years ago, an instructor stressed to the group of rookie officers the importance of paying close attention to detail. And, he told them that losing focus on matters at hand could result in overlooking evidence…

Inability to Concentrate During Isolation Leads to Lack of Writing

Is it just me or are you, too, finding it difficult to concentrate these days? The situation is surreal, isn't it? And it's causing a lot of what were once highly active brain cells to become dangerously inactive. Yes, energetic people are rapidly…

Poetry Friday, with Dr. John Lofland, the Milford Bard

In January of 1830, Edgar Allan Poe and his good friend Dr. John Lofland, the Milford Bard, entered into friendly contest to see which of the two poet/writers could write the greater number of verses. Actually, it was the Delaware Bard who challenged…
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It Takes a Cast of Characters to Write this Blog

Today I'd like to recognize a few of the folks who donate their valuable time to help with the writing of this blog. They show up each day with a strong desire to help writers deliver realism to their work. So, without further ado, here are…
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When a Lover Hires a Hitman to Kill a Devious Woman's Husband: A Fractured Fairy Tale

The good folks over at crimescenewriter are currently discussing the hired killers, and as it happens I've investigated cases where assassins were hired to kill other humans. The "employers'" motives for wanting certain folks to die immediately…

Illness and Crooks: A Parallel World

In light of the current state of affairs, it's become apparent that we've not given criminals the appropriate credit for their ingenuity, forethought, instinct, and an incredible amount of insight. Here's why I say this. We're now wearing…

An 18-Step Guide to Homicide Investigations

You're working patrol on the west side, the crime hub of your area, with thirty minutes to go on your last graveyard shift of the month. And, as your typical run of bad luck would have it, the only type of luck you've ever known, you catch the…
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Nine-One-One, What's Your Emergency? Wait ...You're Kidding, Right?

So you think you've seen and heard it all? Well, think again, because these folks actually picked up the phone and dialed 911 to report ... "Help me, please!" "Ma'am, calm down and tell me what's wrong." "My house is on fire. I…

A Cup of Brutal Justice: A Private Look Inside a Small County Jail

The tin cup pictured above is an actual drinking vessel that was originally part of the fabulous dining experience for prisoners housed inside a small county jail. The lockup itself was every bit as peachy as the cup, and both the building and…

Hungry? Let's Go Shopping for Possum and Worms and More!

As we face the uncertainties of the current state of the world, without a doubt we're all feeling the pain of shopping for necessities---toilet tissue, disinfectant, hand sanitizer, food, and wine. The latter (wine) as everyone knows is a must-have…

Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine: I'm In, Finally!

I've enjoyed reading, starting at a very early age, and have continued to so until this day. My tastes vary, from poetry to the classics to mystery, thrillers, suspense, true crime, historical fiction, nonfiction, and more. As I kid I read comics…

Bacteria Beach: Postmortem Decomposition and the Talking Dead

During their crime-solving duties homicide investigators hear and see a lot of details---gunfire, fleeing suspects, yelling and screaming, pleas for help, blood and viscera, and even the sounds of their own hearts as they frantically beat against…
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Don't Breathe, Touch, or Turn Your Back, Because What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Sick

I wrote this article back in 2018. It's a good time to revisit because, well, you know ... Those of you with medical elements embedded into your twisted tales will perhaps be interested in the following information. For all others, well,…

Evidence Collection: Paper, Plastic, or ... ?

There's more to evidence collection than merely bagging and tagging bloody clothing and spent bullet casings. Crime scene techs are highly trained, skilled members of police agencies and forensic laboratories who more often than not provide…
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Dead Women Sometimes Cry in the Rain, And Baby Socks

Never start a story with the weather. I've heard this many times over the years. Even Elmore Leonard kicked off his "Don't-do-it" list with a rule about the weather. Never open a book with the weather. Avoid prologues. Never use…
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Stuff it in Your Underwear, and Other Details to Add Sizzle to Your Tale

Sometimes it's the tiniest detail that makes a setting pop, zing, and sizzle. They're the little things that cause readers to sit up and take notice. They evoke emotion and stir memories of real life experiences. They're the things that make…