Monthly Archives: August 2014

Suspense Radio Interview Saturday August 30th at 8:30 a.m. PDT

I’ll be on Suspense Radio with John Raab on Saturday, August 30 at 8:30 a.m. PDT. We will discuss my attest Samantha Cody thriller ORIGINAL SIN, snake-handling preachers, and other fun stuff. Join us if you can and if not you can catch it later as all Suspense Radio shows are archived.

Suspense Radio:

Live Broadcasts:



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Posted by on August 29, 2014 in Writing


Join My Author TweetChat Tuesday August, 26 at 8 p.m. EDT

I’ll be doing a TweetChat on Tuesday 8-26-14 from 8 to 9 p.m. EDT (5 to 6 p.m. PDT) to chat about writing and my latest Samantha Cody thriller ORIGINAL SIN. Join the discussion and you might win one of two signed copies of ORIGINAL SIN I’ll be giving away during the chat. It’ll be fun.

How do you join a TweetChat? It’s easy and simple. Go to and sign in with your Twitter account. Then enter the hashtag #AuthorTweetChat. At 8 PM (EDT) the conversation will begin. All you have to do is watch the conversation. @AuthorTweetChat and our social business influencer @brianmoran will ask DP Lyle questions and he will respond with Tweets. If you want to join the conversation, enter a Tweet in the designated area and will post your message for you. 

In Summary:

1-Go to

2-Sign in with your Twitter account

3-Type in hashtag: #AuthorTweetChat

4-Watch and join the discussion


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Posted by on August 24, 2014 in Uncategorized, Writing


DP Lyle on Investigation Discovery’s Deadly Affairs



Set your DVRs for the ID Channel show Deadly Affairs Saturday night 8-23-14 at 9 p.m. EDT. I was asked to discuss this horrible crime that took place in Irvine, CA, a very few miles from my home. A chilling crime story.

Watch the promo trailer at the link below—-after an annoying commercial of course.


Program: Deadly Affairs

Episode Title: Swan Song

Air Date: August 23, 2014

Air Time: 9pm EDT/8pm CDT

Channel: Investigation Discovery (ID) 

Link to ID Show Schedule:


Crime and Science Radio This Saturday: An Interview With Barry A.J. Fisher, Past President of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences

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Crime and Science Radio: The Changing World of Forensic Science: An Interview With Barry A.J. Fisher, past president of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences

Join DP Lyle and Jan Burke for a discussion with Barry A.J. Fisher, who spent two decades as the director of the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s crime labs. We’ll talk about his career, the present and future state of forensic science, new legislation and and how  the public can help to ensure the betterment of forensic science services.

BIO: An internationally regarded forensic scientist and leader in his field, Barry A. J. Fisher retired from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s crime lab after a 40 year distinguished career, the last 20 as crime lab director. He was responsible for conceptualizing, planning and coordinating the new LASD/LAPD crime lab located at California State University named the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center and the creation of the California Forensic Scince Institute.

Barry received his B.S. degree in chemistry from CCNY, his M.S. degree in organic chemistry from Purdue University and an M.B.A. from California State University, Northridge. He is a past president of the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors, past chair of the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors – Laboratory Accreditation Board, past president and distinguished fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences where he was awarded its highest honor, Gradwohl Medallion. He served as president of the International Association of Forensic Sciences and is a member of many other professional organizations including the IAI, CAC, TIAFT, CAT, and the IACP. 

His current interests concern the interrelationship between forensic science and the law along with public policy issues concerning the timely delivery of quality forensic support services to the criminal justice system. He served as a member of the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section’s Ad Hoc Committee to Ensure the Integrity of the Criminal. 

He is a founding director and served on the Board of Directors of the National Forensic Science Technology Center from 1995 until 2007. Fisher is a member of several editorial boards:  the Journal of Forensic Sciences, the Journal of Forensic Identification, Forensic Science Policy and Management and the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology. Fisher is an alumni member of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents and a life member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and was a member of the IACP’s Forensics Committee. 

His textbook, Techniques of Crime Scene Investigation, in its 8th edition, enjoys wide popularity.  He is a co-author of two other books, Forensics Demystified and An Introduction to Criminalistics: The Foundation of Forensic Science.

Fisher lectures throughout the United States, and has spoken in Canada, England, Australia, Singapore, France, Israel, Japan, China, Turkey and Portugal on forensic science laboratory practices, quality assurance and related topics.  In 2000, he led a forensic science delegation to lecture to forensic scientists in the People’s Republic of China.  In 2012, he was invited again to China to lecture on forensic science developments in the United States.

Since retiring, Fisher has consulted for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the United States Department of Justice, International Criminal Investigative Training Program (ICITAP) and Analytic Services Inc., a not-for-profit institute that provides studies and analyses to aid decision-makers in national security, homeland security, and public safety. He also consults on forensic science matters with Park Dietz and Associates.

Fisher, a native New Yorker, is married. He and his wife Susan reside in Indio in Riverside County, California. They have two married sons: David, a criminalist with the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner Forensic Biology Department, and Michael, an entrepreneur, and eight grandchildren.



Announcement of Formation of the National Commission on Forensic Science

LASD Scientific Services Bureau

LAPD Scientific Investigation Division

American Academy of Forensic Sciences

American Society of Crime Lab Directors

American Society of Crime Lab Directors – Laboratory Accreditation Board

Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center

World Forensic Festival, Seoul, Korea, October 2014

International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program

National Academy of Sciences 2009 Study: Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States

National Forensic Science Technology Center

American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section

International Association of Chiefs of Police

American Bar Association Science and Technology Section


Mom Knows You’re Lying



Remember how it seemed that your Mom always knew when you were lying? 

No, I swear, I didn’t do it. 

And then she’d give you that look. The one that melted all your protestations of innocence. Seems to be a universal thing.

In a recent article in Psychology Today, titled “A 9-Item Test to Find Out Who’s Lying to You,” Dr. Susan Krauss Whitbourne discusses the clues that reveal deception.

I’m sure my Mom knew all of these. Heck, she probably could have written this article.


Samantha Cody Is Back in ORIGINAL SIN

Today is the launch of my latest Samantha Cody thriller ORIGINAL SIN as well as the reprinting of the first two in the series DEVIL’s PLAYGROUND and DOUBLE BLIND.


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Available For Purchase:

Watch The Trailer:



Samantha Cody can’t stay away from trouble.

When Sam’s long time friend, Dr. Lucy Wagner finds her career, and even her life in jeopardy, ex-Deputy Sheriff and retired professional boxer Sam rushes to her aide.

Dr. Lucy Wagner was on top of her game, her cardiac surgical practice thriving, and her reputation impeccable at the Remington Medical Center in small-town Tennessee. Even the hospital’s new pediatric cardiac unit had been dedicated to her. But being at the apex of the local medical pyramid garnered her more than a few powerful enemies. 

Lucy’s spiral into darkness began when the spiritual founder and leader of a local snake-handling church died on her operating table. Strange fainting spells and nightmarish dreams followed. Those she could handle, almost, but when her post-op patients began exhibiting violent psychotic behaviors, Lucy knew it was time to call in the cavalry. 

Samantha Cody’s cop/boxer mind kicks into gear as she leads Lucy on a journey into the past and a confrontation with old and very powerful forces she never knew existed.


What Other Authors Are Saying:

In ORIGINAL SIN, the third Samantha Cody thriller, DP Lyle crafts a compelling story that finds Sam once again in a snake pit of intrigue and danger. This time a literal snake pit. Like the others in this series, complex characters, unexpected plot twists, and more than a dash of humor drive the story. Not to be missed—-David Morrell, New York Times bestselling author of Murder As A Fine Art

When it comes to heart-stopping suspense, heart-breaking emotion, and cold-hearted terror, nobody can top DP Lyle…and this is the thriller that proves it.  When a heart surgeon operates on a snake-charming preacher, she does more than cut open his flesh with her scalpel… she reveals a dark secret and unleashes a deadly power that could kill her unless ex-cop Samantha Cody can help her get to the truth—Lee Goldberg, Edgar nominated author of the Monk mysteries and co-author with Janet Evanovich of The Chase

D.P. Lyle has given us a winner with an intricate tale involving a small town in the South, a church with a deadly secret, a troubled surgeon, and a chilling deception spanning decades.  Original Sin flows as smooth and satisfying as the finest Tennessee Whiskey—Philip Donlay, acclaimed author of the Donovan Nash series of thrillers

D.P. Lyle writes with precision, pulling in the reader page by page with fantastic characters and gripping suspense. Original Sin is thoroughly thrilling and entertaining—Allison Brennan, NYT bestselling author

Retired Detective Samantha Cody returns to face her greatest challenge in D.P. Lyle’s superb new thriller, Original Sin. Cody is called upon to help her heart surgeon friend, Lucy Wagner, whose professional and personal lives turn chaotic after she operates on a snake-charming evangelist. Deftly plotted and expertly executed, Lyle is at the top of his game in a heart-pounding thriller. Sam Cody is a protagonist worth rooting for. Find a comfortable chair and plan to stay up late. Highly recommended—Sheldon Siegel. New York Times Best Selling Author of the Mike Daley/Rosie Fernandez Legal Thrillers


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Posted by on August 15, 2014 in Writing


Manner of Death After 33 Years



Recently, James Brady died. He had received a serious head wound during John Hinckley’s failed assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan. That was 1981. Now, over three-decades after that event, Brady’s recent death has been deemed a homicide. At Hinckley’s hand.

His death could result in murder charges against Hinckley. After 33 years? How is that possible?

There are five manners of death: natural, accidental, suicidal, homicidal, and undetermined—-the waste basket into which deaths that can’t be confidently attributed to one of the other four categories. The Virginia ME determined that the gunshot to the head that Brady received began a cascade of medical issues that ultimately led to his death and thus he was the victim of a homicide. This might seem odd but it’s really not all that uncommon. Whether prosecutors will file charges and take on such a difficult to prove case remains to be seen.

I blogged on this very subject back on 5-5-11.

For a more detailed discussion of the cause and manner of death check out my book Howdunnit: Forensics.




Crime and Science Radio: An Interview with Alafair Burke: The Criminal Justice System, Real and Imagined




Author Alafair Burke is a former prosecutor and is currently a criminal law professor. She’ll talk to us about her experiences and some of the differences in legal realities and the perceptions we have of the U.S. criminal justice system.

BIO: Alafair Burke is the author of “two power house series” (Sun-Sentinel) that have earned her a reputation for creating strong, believable, and eminently likable female characters, such as NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher and Portland Deputy District Attorney Samantha Kincaid. Alafair’s novels grow out of her experience as a prosecutor in America’s police precincts and criminal courtrooms, and have been featured by The Today Show, People Magazine, The New York Times, MSNBC, The Washington Post, USA Today, and The Chicago Sun-Times. According to Entertainment Weekly, Alafair “is a terrific web spinner” who “knows when and how to drop clues to keep readers at her mercy.”

A graduate of Stanford Law School and a former Deputy District Attorney in Portland, Oregon, Alafair is now a Professor of Law at Hofstra Law School, where she teaches criminal law and procedure.



Alafair Burke Website:

Alafair Burke Books:


Twitter: @alafairburke

Murderpedia: Sebastian Shaw:

Sebastian Shaw:

What You May Not Know About the Zimmerman Verdict: The Evolution of a Jury Instruction by Alafair Burke:

Alafair Burke: Jury Instruction & The Zimmerman Verdict:

Writing Crime: Interview with Alafair Burke:






Q and A: What Would My Victim of Scaphism Look Like After Two Weeks in a Pond?

Q: My question is what would a corpse be like, a victim of scaphism and encased in leather with only the head, hands and feet protruding, discovered after about two weeks in a stagnant pond in summer in England.





A: This is a very complex situation which means that almost anything can happen. Particularly in face of your killer employing scaphism in your poor victim’s ordeal. There are many forces in this circumstance conspiring to destroy the body. After two weeks the decay process would be well along and the body should be swollen and discolored and there might already be some sloughing of tissues, particularly in the hands and the feet so that the fingernails and toenails might have slipped away. The leather binding might lessen the degree of abdominal swelling but maybe not.

Or the decay might be a little less and the body might appear only slightly swollen and discolored. Either is possible. When you add the insects and marine predators such as fish to the picture, tissue destruction could be significant—-or again very mild. Once the body floated or if it were placed on a wooden float of some sort, the insects would easily reach the corpse. These insects prefer warmer and moister areas so they tend to accumulate around the eyes, nose, mouth, groin, and any wounds such as an open abdomen or a stab wound.

Their activity could be significant or minimal, often depending on the weather. If it has rained a lot or if it is windy or if there has been a great deal of fog, insect activity would be diminished as insects do not like these conditions. But, i the weather was warm and sunny, they would be more active. Often when the medical examiner is determining the time of death in bodies that are several weeks old, he will consult a forensic climatologist to assess the weather effects in play and from this make his best guess as to insect activity and this in turn will tell him how long it took for the insects to reach the level of infestation seen. Again is always only his best estimate. And then you throw in predators, both marine and otherwise, and his problems multiply.

At the end of the day, your body would likely have a great deal of decay as described above as well as insect activity. The latter could be everywhere but would be particularly pronounced in the exposed areas where the tissues were easier for the insects to get to. Still they find their way beneath leather bindings and clothing and coverings in order to get to their next meal.

You have a great deal to work with here in that the body can either be slightly or severely decayed and the insect activity can be great or small and anywhere in between. The old adage is that whatever happens, happens. This actually gives you great leeway in how you construct your plot.


Hometown Fiction

My Dub Walker thriller series is set mostly in my hometown of Huntsville, AL. I recently wrote an article for South Huntsville Living, an online magazine about happenings in and around the “Rocket City.” Many of the places I grew up visiting find their way into these stories.

Link to article:


Huntsville Stories: Then and Now; Real and Imagined

by DP Lyle, MD

Since my childhood days in Huntsville, the city has changed in many ways; yet in other ways it’s exactly the same.

I was born in Huntsville Hospital, a place where I would later work during my summer breaks from studies at the University of Alabama. I worked in the lab. I learned to draw blood, start IVs, and perform tests in the various divisions of the clinical lab – – chemistry, pathology, microbiology, etc. The skills I learned during those summers paid off years later as a medical student at UAB in Birmingham.

After graduating from Huntsville High School in 1964, I left Huntsville to attend college in Tuscaloosa and then on to medical school at UAB, internal medicine residency at the University of Texas in Houston, and finally the Texas Heart Institute, also in Houston. I then found myself in Orange County, California where I’ve practiced cardiology for the past 35 years.

What’s changed in Huntsville during those years?

Sadly, many of the city’s landmarks no longer exist. The courthouse, where my grandfather passed time with his buddies, is gone. Replaced with a box. The Carnegie Library where I often studied and developed a love for books, gone. Big Spring Park, a place where I played too many baseball games to remember, swam at the community pool, and attended numerous picnics, has been reduced to a fraction of its former self. For me personally, these are sad and for the most part inexplicable changes in a city steeped in history and tradition. Yet, life marches on, as they say.

Still, there are many iconic structures remaining. The Russel Erskine hotel, where my parents often danced—they were accomplished ballroom dancers—still stands, even though it is now a retirement home and not the grande dame hotel it once was. Lewter’s Hardware remains exactly as I remembered it as a child. Goldsmith–Schiffman Field, where I played many a football game while attending Huntsville Junior High School and Huntsville High School, still stands though its future is in doubt. And of course, since food is important to every Southerner, many of the establishments of my childhood are still around: Gibson’s Bar-B-Q, the Big Spring Café, and Mullins to name a few.

In addition to practicing cardiology, I am also an author. I write both fiction and nonfiction. One of my series of books, the Dub Walker thriller series (Stress Fracture; Hot Lights, Cold Steel; Run To Ground) are set in Huntsville. Many of the locations that appear in these stories are complete fabrications while others call upon my childhood memories of places in and around the city that were special to me.

These stories revolve around three main characters. Dub Walker, my main protagonist, is a forensic science and evidence expert who for many years worked at the Alabama Department of Forensic Science, which sits near the city on Arcadia Circle. His best friend, Homicide Investigator T-Tommy Tortelli, works out of the South Precinct of the Huntsville Police Department. Claire McBride, Dub’s ex-wife and now ex-with-benefits, is an investigative reporter for a local television station. This trio moves in and around the city as they try to solve the crimes that confront them in each story.

Their favorite watering hole is called Sammy’s Blues-and-Q. it is a completely fabricated establishment but it sits where David Gibson’s Barbecue is located. Much of their crime solving takes place on the barstools of Sammy’s.

Dub lives on Monte Sano at the end of Old Church Road, which Huntsvillian’s will easily recognize as Old Chimney Road. Still one of my favorite streets in the city.


In Stress Fracture, the first murder occurs in the Russel Erskine:

From Stress Fracture:

The old Russel Erskine Hotel sat in the downtown area only a couple of blocks from where we stood. Once the city’s most famous hotel, it had been converted into a retirement home. Meant Petersen wasn’t a random deal. Getting in there wasn’t like crawling through someone’s window or walking through an unlocked garage door. And making it to the fifth floor and back without anyone noticing was the product of great skill and experience or incredible luck. With the lock intact, he either had a key—maybe an inside job?—or he was very good at working locks.

Dub’s dear friend and retired Madison County Sheriff Mike Savage Is murdered in his home on Chadwell Road. Later in the story, a major shootout occurs at the Parkway Place Mall:

From Stress Fracture:

The Parkway Place Mall sat at the intersection of Drake Avenue and Memorial Parkway.  The main entrance, obscured by a newly constructed parking deck, faced the parkway.  I hung a left into the ground level of the deck.  Red and blue lights strobed off its low ceiling and the scattering of L-shaped support walls. Two dozen patrol cars, three ambulances, and twenty or so HPD and sheriff’s department officers congregated two hundred feet from the mall’s entrance. Other uniforms herded a hundred or so shoppers toward the far reaches of the deck to keep them from the line of fire.

Other locales include Huntsville Hospital (called Huntsville Memorial Medical Center in the books), Cummings Research Park, and of course the Marshall Space Flight Center.

There is simply no way to write about Huntsville without writing about NASA and the Marshall Space Flight Center. It was such a part of the city and of my childhood that there was no way to ignore it. We built rockets in the backyard, as so many of my generation did. We felt the ground shaking, often interrupting sporting events for a minute or two, as Von Braun tested another booster. Hunteville definitely earned the moniker Rocket City.

Yet, as I began doing research for this book, I realized I had actually spent very little time on the grounds of “The Arsenal.” We played Little League baseball against a couple of the military teams and I had been to the officers club with my father a few times, but other than that I knew very little about it. So, I arranged a tour of the facility.

Nan and I were shocked when we showed up for the tour, expecting we would be with a group, but quickly discovered that it was a private tour, hosted by Protocol Specialist Gena Cox. During the tour, we met many wonderful people and saw many of the amazing projects NASA has underway at Marshall, including a jerky elevator ride to the top of the main test our where those boosters had rattled the ground so many times.

But one of the highlights, and the one that figured most into Stress Fracture, was a visit with Dr. David Hathaway. He is director of the solar imaging program for NASA and also was one of the inventors of the VISAR system. VISAR, or the Video Image Stabilization and Registration system, is a mechanism for digital photo and video enhancement that began when the FBI brought him a few seconds of footage from the scene of the Atlanta Olympics bombing. From that, the system was born. You’ve seen it before. When a surveillance camera or an ATM camera picks up a car in the distance or a suspect in the vicinity and the picture is too grainy to be of use, VISAR can often solve that problem. License plates can be read. Tattoos can be enhanced and identified. And faces, that are blurred beyond recognition, suddenly become recognizable.

In Stress Fracture, Dr. Hathaway appears as Dr. Wendell Volek. Dub employs his skills in enhancing a photo that is instrumental in tracking down the vicious killer that is stalking the city:

From Stress Fracture:

T-Tommy and I made our way through the security checks at the Redstone Arsenal and were again escorted to NASA headquarters. We met Dr. Wendell Volek in the same conference room as before.

Volek got right to it. He tapped a couple of keystrokes on his Mac laptop and a video appeared on the large screen that covered one wall. It was the video I had seen when last here, only now cleaner and brighter. The ceiling-mounted camera angled on the ornate central stairway at the Russel Erskine. A man moved into the frame, took the stairs two at a time, and disappeared as the stairs zigged to the right. Volek let the video run a few cycles and then worked the keyboard again. Now the same man came down the stairs and moved out of frame. Again, he let it repeat half a dozen times. A few more keyboard taps and a series of still images, mostly close-ups of the man’s head, appeared. In the final one, a partial profile could be seen as the man neared the bottom of the stairs. Volek left that one up.


Hot Lights, Cold Steel also offers many Huntsville locations. Coffee Tree Books and Brew and a home on Pratt Avenue figure into the tale:

From Hot Lights, Cold Steel:

Earlier we had swung by Sammy’s for dinner. Claire and I had catfish, coleslaw, and hush puppies, T-Tommy ribs and brisket and pecan pie with ice cream. We now sat in T-Tommy’s car along Pratt Avenue half a block from Slade’s house. Pratt was a divided street, its central esplanade lined with trees, their spring growth recently under way. The houses were older, most well over fifty years, but well kept. The street was quiet with only an occasional car rolling by. Most of the houses were buttoned down for the night. TVs glowed through a few windows, but no one roamed around outside. 

Slade’s place was white clapboard, single story. A slope-roofed, brick-corralled porch extended across the front, and two large windows flanked the front door. The curtains were open, and I saw no lights inside. T-Tommy had called his house and gotten no answer. Slade could be in there, not answering his phone, sitting in the dark. Maybe his translucent blue eyes could capture light where there was none. Maybe he was watching us.

Also, High Rollers-not real but very reminiscent of the strip clubs out off University Drive:

From Hot Lights, Cold Steel:

T-Tommy and I arrived at High Rollers a shade past midnight. The twenty-foot-high windowless metal building sat near the county line just off West University. Flanked by a liquor store and a fireworks stand, it looked more like a warehouse than a den of sin. Except for the age-faded neon High Rollers sign, that is. The G was dead, and the O flickered as if taking its final breaths. Ten-foot-high painted images of nearly nude women, one blonde, one brunette, each snaking around a stripper’s pole, bracketed the neon lettering. Not exactly works of art, but you couldn’t miss them, so I guessed it worked. 

Beneath the sign, a black canvas awning shaded the entry door. Two twenty-something guys, each familiar with the gym and sporting permanent flexes beneath black High Rollers T-shirts, guarded the entrance. One of them held the door open for us and mumbled something I couldn’t hear over the music that spilled out.

Even Maple Hill Cemetery becomes part of the Hot Lights, Cold Steel story. Maple Hill has always been an important place to me. My grandparents and a couple of cousins, particularly my cousin David Sutton, lived on Wells Avenue. David and I grew up playing in the cemetery. Football, baseball, and whatever else we could come up with to fill a warm summer day. Mostly however, I found Maple Hill Cemetery to be one of the most peaceful places on earth. The wonderful shade trees, the gently rolling terrain, and the city of tombstones of various design have always been special. My mother, a native of Huntsville who was born in Merrimack Village, is buried there. That makes it even more special.

But in Hot Lights, Cold Steel it takes on a more sinister tone:

From Hot Lights, Cold Steel:

The oldest and largest cemetery in the state, Maple Hill was the final resting place of nearly one hundred thousand souls. Its gently rolling terrain, winding paths, and hand-carved headstones were shaded by trees of many sizes and varieties. There were simple, flat grave markers, elaborate headstones, huge crosses and statuary, a mausoleum or two, and even a section for the Civil War dead. Its parklike atmosphere attracted those looking for a quiet place to walk or contemplate as well as visit the dead.

Today it wasn’t quiet. A crowd had gathered. Nothing like death to attract flies.

I leaned against the stone wall that surrounded Maple Hill near the McClung Avenue entrance, talking with Claire. The bodies had been excavated and carted off to the Department of Forensic Sciences. Claire had finished her on-site filming, and Jeffrey was loading his camera gear into the Channel 8 truck.

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Run To Ground features scenes at Gibson’s Bar-B-Q, a place I’ve frequented since it opened in 1956. The best Bar-B-Q and biscuits around. And the pies? Amazing. In high school, while going through the brutal August two-a-day football practices, Charlie Pike, Lewis Brinkley, Paul Haley, Tommy Beason, and other teammates would gather there to rehydrate between practices. This was when Gibson’s was a bit further down the Parkway than where it currently resides. It was before the Parkway was elevated so cars whizzed by as we downed massive amounts of water and tea, made just right with extra lemon and sugar. And the wonderful folks at Gibson’s never charged us a nickel for any of it.

From Run To Ground:

Gibson’s Bar-B-Q sat along Memorial Parkway near Airport Road. Famous for Bar-B-Q and a competitor of Sammy’s, Gibson’s was also a local breakfast meeting place and the best biscuits you’ll find anywhere. And pies. Lord, they could make pies.

Booths and tables, mostly four-tops, each topped with a plasticized red-and-white checkered tablecloth, filled the large dining room. As usual, customers surrounded every table, the aroma of eggs and bacon hung in the air, and the murmurs of conversation and the clatter of forks attacking plates filled the room. We luckily found an empty booth near the back wall. Claire and I slid into one side but the collection of pies in the nearby pie case, things like pecan, chess, coconut, apple, and lemon icebox, distracted T-Tommy so he stopped to have a look before making his way to the other side of the booth.

I had scrambled eggs and biscuits, Claire just biscuits, lots of butter, and T-Tommy everything: eggs, country ham, patty sausage, grits, and a stack of biscuits. He topped it with a piece of chess pie. Even though Gibson’s coconut pie won best dessert in town, T-Tommy was always partial to chess.

When Claire asked about the rationale of pie with breakfast, T-Tommy grunted and said there wasn’t a law against it. Hard to argue with that logic.

Whitesburg Baptist Church also appears in the book. My old college roommate Ronnie Boles appears as its pastor. Talk about playing against type.

From Run To Ground:

By the time I turned off Whitesburg Drive at Sanders Road and swung into the parking lot of the Whitesburg Baptist Church, the thickening clouds had begun to spit a fine mist. The Porsche’s wiper blades stuttered back and forth, streaking more than clearing the windshield. Been meaning to change those for a month or so.

The church was over fifty years old. That is, Whitesburg Baptist had served its congregation for that long. The buildings were new and sparkling. 

We parked in the visitor’s lot, hustled through the drizzle, pushed through the glass doors, and entered the south lobby. High-ceilings, a wall of windows, everything rosy-tan brick and marble, it had an atrium feel. A young woman looked up from behind the marble-topped reception desk and smiled.

“Welcome,” she said. “I’m Ashley. What can I do for you?”

“We’re looking for Pastor Boles.”

“Who should I say is asking for him?”

“I’m Dub Walker. This is Investigator Tortelli.”

Her smile flattened. She looked at T-Tommy. A crease appeared in her brow. “The police?”

“Just need a few minutes,” I said. “About an ongoing investigation.”

Her smile returned. A little forced this time. “Just a sec.”

Also represented are Walker Lumber Company—-based on Bartee’s Lumber, where I worked one long, hot summer—-the Marriott near the Space Museum, and Bridge Street Town Center:

From Run To Ground:

Bridge Street Town Center, the newest and most upscale shopping area in Huntsville, nestled along Old Madison Pike just a few miles from the Marriott hotel where Tim and Martha Foster had holed up. Open-air and European in style with broad walkways, park benches, and street lamps, Bridge Street straddled an hour-glass-shaped, man-made lake. An arched bridge over the lake’s central neck connected the two halves of the mall. A walking trail hugged the water’s edge. Tenants included clothing stores such as Chico’s and Ann Taylor, an Apple Computer store, a Westin hotel, and a dozen restaurants. 

Tim lifted his sweat-soaked tee shirt away from his chest and flapped it. Barely nine and it felt as if the temperature was already nudging eighty. He and Martha were into their third and final lap around the lake when Tim spotted Adam Carlson, across the water, some two hundred feet away. Adam glanced their way but showed no sign of recognition, no wave, no change in his stride, and quickly turned his gaze back to the path in front of him. Tim nudged Martha with an elbow, and when she looked at him, nodded toward Adam.

“Look over there,” he said.

Martha’s gait hitched. She dropped her head and peeked over her sunglasses toward Adam. “Oh, my God. What should we do?”

“Nothing. He looked this way, but didn’t recognize us.”

“I can’t believe I let you talk me into this.”

“This what?”

“Being here. Out in public.”

“You’d rather sit in a hotel room and stare at the walls?”

“No. But Investigator Tortelli told us to stay inside. Keep a low profile.”

“We are keeping a low profile.”

The Ledges also gets a nod in Run To Ground. Constructed by my dear friend and fraternity brother John Blue, The Ledges is one of the most impressive communities anywhere. California wishes it had communities as perfect.

From Run To Ground:

I did a little research. Rather, Claire did. I asked her to tap into her resources. Took her all of twenty minutes to get the scoop on the two men who sat across the table from me. We were in the dining area of the massive stone-and-wood clubhouse at The Ledges Country Club. 

The Ledges, a high-dollar community that hugged the crest of Huntsville Mountain and overlooked Jones Valley, was one of Huntsville’s best neighborhoods. One of those where if you have to ask the price, move on down the hill. The dining room carried on that theme. Not exactly your typical golf course lunchroom set up. Double tablecloths, cream-colored over crisp white, turned ninety degrees, equally crisp white napkins, heavy silver flatware, and gold-edged china. Better than most high-end restaurants. Better than Sammy’s. Well, not better, just classier.

When I called Paul earlier, he said they had a noon tee time and would be having lunch around eleven. Said he’d leave my name at the guard house. He did, so here I sat. 

I suspect that the take-home message here is that you can leave Huntsville, but Huntsville never leaves you. It’s a wonderful place to live. It’s a wonderful place to be from. It’s not only great fodder for fiction, it is where I learned the important life lessons that have guided me for over six decades. People often ask me what growing up in Huntsville was like. I always respond that the city is a true dichotomy. It is on one hand a sleepy Southern town with lots of churches and pickup trucks while at the same time being a cutting edge city in space and technology. I mean, growing up I always thought everyone had a space program in their backyard.


D. P. Lyle,MD is the Macavity and Benjamin Franklin Silver Award winning and Edgar, Agatha, Anthony, Scribe, and USA Best Book Award nominated author of many non-fiction books (MURDER & MAYHEM; FORENSICS FOR DUMMIES; FORENSICS & FICTION; MORE FORENSICS & FICTION; HOWDUNNIT: FORENSICS; and ABA FUNDAMENTALS: UNDERSTANDING FORENSIC SCIENCE) as well as numerous works of fiction, including the Samantha Cody thriller series (DEVIL’S PLAYGROUND, DOUBLE BLIND, and ORIGINAL SIN); the Dub Walker Thriller series (STRESS FRACTURE; HOT LIGHTS, COLD STEEL, and RUN TO GROUND); and the Royal Pains media tie-in novels (ROYAL PAINS: FIRST, DO NO HARM and ROYAL PAINS: SICK RICH). His essay on Jules Verne’s THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND appears in THRILLERS: 100 MUST READS and his short story “Even Steven” in ITW’s anthology THRILLER 3: LOVE IS MURDER.

Along with Jan Burke, he is the co-host of Crime and Science Radio. He has worked with many novelists and with the writers of popular television shows such as Law & Order, CSI: Miami, Diagnosis Murder, Monk, Judging Amy, Peacemakers, Cold Case, House, Medium, Women’s Murder Club, 1-800-Missing, The Glades, and Pretty Little Liars.

He is a practicing Cardiologist in Orange County, California.



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Posted by on August 3, 2014 in Writing

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