WHEN THE SMOKE CLEARED by Bill Powers Book Tour PLUS A Giveaway
Book Title: When the Smoke Cleared (A Murder Mystery in Malden) by Bill Powers
Category: Adult Non-Fiction (18 +), 400 pages
Genre: True Crime
Publisher: PowersCourt Press
Release date: Oct, 2022
Content Rating: PG-13 Some violence some profanity
There is no greater distinction or responsibility for a law enforcement officer than to be selected to investigate homicides. The same is true for a prosecutor. It is analogous to a call up to the big leagues where the curveballs or slapshots are frequent and more challenging, the lights are brighter, the audience larger and louder, and the scrutiny and demand for perfection can at times be a bit overwhelming.
This story follows an extraordinary murder investigation from the crime scene through to the arrest and into the courtroom. It is narrated by retired Detective Lieutenant Bill Powers, the former commander of the State Police Detective Unit for the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts:
“When the smoke from the fire cleared and the water level receded, it was visually evident that a violent struggle, quite possibly a homicide, had preceded the fire. But where was the victim? The waterlogged bloodstains in the function room told us it wasn’t likely they stood up and walked out the door. We were confronted with an unusual dilemma. We not only had to investigate what happened and develop probable cause to make an arrest, but we also had to locate the poor soul who had spilled so much of their blood.”
Walk the path of the investigation with Bill and his team, and then follow in ADA Adrienne Lynch’s footsteps as she guides the trial from opening statements through to the final verdict; a truly unique accounting with a bird’s eye view.
Beyond a police and courtroom procedural, this story is about the personal struggles in the victim’s life and how her death impacted her family’s lives in ways no one could have foreseen. It is a love story that grew from unspeakable tragedy.
Bill Powers writes from the heart because he spent twenty years living the life of a homicide investigator. He went to literally hundreds of death scenes and, while each made its mark, none had more of a personal effect on him than this case.
add to goodreads
Bill Powers has been active in the Massachusetts law enforcement community since he joined the Massachusetts State Police in 1974. Over time he rose through the ranks and was promoted to the rank of Detective Lieutenant. He commanded the State Police Detective Units (SPDU) in both Middlesex and Suffolk Counties, where he had direct oversight and involvement in more than one hundred homicides. His State Police career came full circle when he was named Commandant of the Recruit Training Academy. He retired as the director of the Media Relations Section. Following his retirement, Bill was appointed as an Assistant Professor in the graduate program for forensic sciences at the Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM). For the next seven years he lectured on criminal investigation and expert testimony to the graduate students. In addition, he produced training seminars for police investigators covering a wide variety of topics. Following his tenure at the BUSM he returned to the law enforcement profession as the Director of Public Safety at Wentworth Institute in Boston. Bill earned an undergraduate degree from Northeastern University with a major in Criminal Justice and a Juris Doctorate degree from the New England School of Law.
He resides South of Boston with his wife Jane. Their two daughters and their families live nearby. He has been blessed with five remarkable grandchildren who sparkle like bright stars in the night sky.
connect with the author: website ~ facebook ~ goodreads
Why Enlist a Writing Coach?
I was determined to write a book and narrate a story that I believed had to be shared with a wide audience. I was well prepared with thoughts and ideas about what I wanted to write, but I had no idea about the road ahead. I didn’t lack confidence. I had some writing experience, but certainly not at the level of authoring a book. I wasn’t concerned about commitment or perseverance either. I have always been up to a challenge and the longer and harder the road to victory the more I dig in and embrace it. But I knew I needed a strategy with a winning design.
During my career as a criminal investigator, I learned how to talk with people and gather information and how to be thorough and patient and truthful. I also learned to abide by an old Irish proverb, “When you don’t know where you are headed walk slowly.” I knew if I was going to be successful I couldn’t just run down any path and hope I chose the right one.
I’ve also learned a bit about situational humility. I’ve had to recognize that, “I don’t know what I don’t know,”, but there are those that do know, and I need to call on them and their expertise for help. It may be hard to accept at first, but the more you do it, the wiser you become. I knew that I didn’t have a clue about where to begin or where I was headed. I recognized the need for a guide to take my hand and lead me into the forest and show me the pathways that would bring me to a clearing and my final destination. Thankfully I found her.
I had taken writing classes where students critiqued each other’s work, and while it was good to listen to others, I found that they were writing in different genres and they really couldn’t identify with what I was trying to convey. In fairness I didn’t connect well with their work either. I searched the internet for writing groups and writing coaches in the Boston area who may be able to help but came up empty there as well. Many listed true crime as a genre they were interested in, but their specialty genres were more in the areas of fantasy, science fiction, self-help, nutrition and young adult. I couldn’t take a chance on just anyone and, if I failed, have no one to blame but myself.
One night, as I was about to shut down the computer after a dozen or more website reviews that didn’t align with what I needed, I found a glimmer of hope. She was located 2,000 miles away in a rural section of Santa Fe, New Mexico. She listed herself as both a writing coach and editor who specialized in non-fiction and included mystery and true crime among her specialties. I sent her an email and a few days later we met on a Zoom call. After a couple of lengthy meetings and her review of a few stories I had written and an outline of my proposed book, we became a team. I still remember her initial critique. “Bill,” she said, “You write like a cop. Your reports are full of factual information, but if you want people to read it you need to make major changes. Readers want to hear your voice and learn through dialogue and know more about your characters and you need a protagonist and you need to stop writing in passive sentences!” Some easy changes I thought.
It took six years of working side by side structuring and organizing the book. There were a few battles and a lot of determination from both of us, but we succeeded. She taught me how to be a creative storyteller who can narrate with dialogue and descriptive language and bring a story to life. She taught me how to “show and not tell.” When the manuscript was complete she connected me with a website creator, a book cover designer and formatter, as well as folks in the marketing and publicity fields to help introduce the book. All people I never would have found on my own.
I could not be more thankful that I made the effort to turn my dream into an achievement of a lifetime. I would recommend the same path to anyone with a story to tell and a need for an experienced guide for a partner.
Win a $25 Starbucks Gift Card courtesy of the author of WHEN THE SMOKE CLEARED (A Murder Mystery in Malden) (one winner) (ends Mar 17)