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August 27, 2011

The Mall Cop and the Wounded Warrior

Hi, Elaine Viets here. I never blurb novels unless I like them. I loved "Die  Buying, "Lauradisilverioheadshot_01WEB  the first book in Laura DiSilverio’s new mall cop series. It’s a good mystery for a good cause. Laura is donating the proceeds to the Wounded Warrior Project.

Laura was a warrior herself. She served 20 years as an Air Force intelligence officer before retiring in 2004 to write and parent full-time. She’s discovered that "parenting" a teen and a tween mostly consists of chauffeuring them from band practice to volleyball to drama class and using the drive time to solve school/friend/boy/self-image crises.

By Laura DiSilverio

In my first mall cop mystery, "Die Buying," Emma-Joy "EJ" Ferris, a security officer with the Fernglen Galleria, likes her job, although it’s usually more humdrum than the military policing she did until an IED left her with a bum knee and a medical retirement at 30. 

 As a mall cop, she apprehends shoplifters, discourages teens from skateboarding on the escalators, and tries to catch the taggers spray-painting Bible verses on cars. She also copes with her 83-year-old Grandpa Atherton, a long-retired CIA operative who likes to "keep his hand in" by purchasing all the latest techno-gadgets and spying on mall customers and shopkeepers.

EJ’s boredom vanishes when someone "liberates" all the reptiles from the Herpetology Hut, known to the mall denizens as the Herpes Hut. The renegade reptiles include a 15-ft python. Then a body turns up posed as a mannequin in the window of an upscale boutique. EJ must quickly catch the killer since fear of another murder is emptying the mall faster than you can say "All sales final."

When the idea for a mall cop mystery series first popped into my head, I didn’t know why my protagonist, EJ Ferris, was a mall security officer. As I got to know her, I realized that being a mall cop was not the fulfillment of her life’s dream. Not too surprising, I guess. She was stuck as a mall cop, I decided, because of an injury. From there it was a short step to discovering she’d been an Air Force cop and had had her life shattered by an IED, as so many of our military men and women have.

 WWP exists to foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of Wounded-warrior-logo wounded warriors in our nation’s history. Its purpose is to raise awareness and to enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members; to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other; and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. The organization has helped tens of thousands of wounded warriors since 2003. You can read more at


  Let me hasten to point out that there’s nothing remotely military or political about the series, but I’m donating the profits from the first book to the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), a non-profit organization that helps wounded vets get their lives back on track. My husband and I are both military veterans (he’s still a Reservist and I’m retired) and he’s done several tours in Iraq. WWP is an organization we’ve supported for some time.

In "Die Buying," EJ struggles, as many injured vets do, to come to terms with the limitations that her injured knee puts on her. She has applied to 18 police departments in Virginia and been turned down by all of them. Despite that, she continues to think of her mall cop job as "temporary" and sends out resumes looking for "real" police jobs. She hopes that finding the murderer before the condescending Detective Anders Helland does will convince the police that her detecting skills are not impeded by her knee. She also learns to accept her leg’s appearance a bit more as she helps an overweight co-worker, Joel, start an exercise program to give him enough confidence to ask out a girl he finds attractive.

I hope you’ll enjoy EJ and her mall family, including her co-worker, Joel; her roller-derbying best friend, Kyra; the mysterious (and attractive) new owner of the cookie franchise, Jay Callahan; and the always worried mall manager, Curtis Quigley. 

NOTE: Read more about the series at www.lauradisilverio.com


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Just bought it! Two reasons: if Elaine says it's good, then it's good. Second, Laura, thank you for your donation. I know what I'm doing THIS weekend...:)

My daughter is marrying a National Guard reservist, and he is set to be deployed in Afghanistan next June for what will probably be nine months. Everyone keeps saying, "But we're leaving that country!" Travis is a 1st lieutenant in the MP division, so he will be a part of the peacekeeping and cleanup details of the drawdown. Which could likely be dangerous, by the way. Our soldiers are still dying there, daily, I'm increasingly sad to note.

What strikes me, and Laura, you and your husband are part of this, as well, is that so many military people support one another, in so many ways. My daughter, who graduated from the Citadel, but who did not choose to go on in the military, nevertheless has many friends who did, and who are serving right now. She recently took up a collection at the hospital where she is in a graduate program, and sent several care packages to friends serving overseas.

After they get married in November, she is donating her wedding gown to a program that helps military brides find an affordable gown. In fact, and this chokes me up every time, one of the major factors in choosing her dress was how much someone else would want it after her own wedding. In lieu of providing favors at the reception, she and Travis are making a donation to yet another organization that focuses on deployed soldiers. (And yes, I could not be prouder.)

Love the idea of a woman mall cop. I was a Casual Corner security person for a single holiday season day when I was 20. I got fired for being too timid. :-P

What gave you the idea to make your MC a mall cop, Laura?

I am laughing, Karen, about you being "too timid" to patrol Casual Corner!

A mall cop--great idea for a mystery. Best of luck with it, Laura!

Hi William--I hope you enjoy Die Buying. Thanks for reading it and thanks for dropping by TLC today!

Karen--What a wonderful, generous daughter you and your husband have raised! I will pray that Travis returns safely and I thank him very much for his service.

I got the idea to make EJ a mall cop by hanging out at the mall and seeing which employees had the most freedom of movement. I wanted to set the mystery in a mall, but I didn't want my protag trapped behind the counter of a Victoria's Secret store all day (although there are probably storylines that could go with that, too).

Thanks for commenting today!

Hi Nancy--Thanks to Elaine and you and the other TLC regulars for hosting me here today!

Oh, Nancy, I really was back then! Hard to believe, I know. LOL

Thank you, Laura, and thanks to you and your husband for YOUR service. We appreciate it so much.

And yes, I can see the reason behind your choice, having done my time behind the counter of many a retail store.

Hi Laura :o) As a bookseller, I get a little more freedom than most retail people, but there are times we could use a 'mall cop' in the store...no dead bodies (yet), but there are always people who need to be escorted out :o) Seriously, I'll look for your book this afternoon and if it isn't there, I'll get someone to order it for the store. And for me. Is it also an e-book? Our Nook customers would love to know as well :o) Thanks for posting today, and thanks for your service on behalf of all of us. We all need to remember those who keep us safe.

Hi Maryann--I can't imagine what people do in a bookstore to motivate you to eject them, besides shoplifting. I don't want to think about it. Yes, Die Buying's in all the standard e-book formats. It's a Berkley Prime Crime book. Thanks for ordering it for the store.

Laura, I will buying your novel. It sounds wonderful and the contribution you are making is also great.
I worked in retail and banking and was always made of aware of security.
Thanks for making us aware of such a worthy cause.

_Die Buying_ is terrific! and mall cops unappreciated -- I watch them keep order with teens at the Galleria when I go for for my Apple lessons, a combination of no-nonsense and geniality, almost parental . . . There will be more, right?
I'm impressed by your generosity as well!

Marie--Thanks for picking up a copy of Die Buying and for joining the conversation here at TLC today. Did you ever confront armed robbers when you worked in banking? Scary!

Hi Storyteller Mary--Glad you liked DB. I'm with you in thinking mall cops are under-appreciated. It's customer service-related job so you can't piss people off too badly, and yet you've got to keep everyone safe and ensure the mall has a welcoming environment so people will want to shop there. A tough line to walk! Yes, there'll be more: the second one is ALL SALES FATAL, due out next May.

Laura, funny that you should ask the security question. I was robbed three times at gunpoint in banking..one was a takeover with a weapon at my back.
It was scary but we got through it.
Some of the retail experiences were a little comical on my part because I was always so mindful of possible thefts sometimes at the risk of being laughed at by the security guys. It was all an adventure for me. Something to tell my grandkids..

Laura, I'll be buying your book for three reasons. I so appreciate what you're doing with the proceeds, Elaine is recommending it here and in an ad on Facebook, and I would like some tips on dealing with shoplifters. I hope EJ has to deal with one or two. When my husband and I ran the general store here in our tiny town we could not even catch an eight year old girl we knew was taking chap stick every time she came in. We would watch, but other customers would call us away. Even though we "knew" we felt we couldn't confront her unless we actually saw the act because if we were wrong an unfounded accusation would be a terrible thing to do to a child. She finally got caught stealing at a book fair at school. Her mother came in and asked if she had ever taken anything here. I told her I had never caught her, but suspected she had a thing for chap stick. Her mom found twenty some chap stick unopened in her room and returned them to us. Sadly, they moved away soon after and so I'll never know if they succeeded in curing her sticky finger habit.

As the wife of a disabled Viet Nam vet, I can't express how grateful I am that the attitude toward those who are serving or who have served has changed so much for the better in the past few years.

Goodness, Marie! How frightening. I think I'd be looking for a new career by the second time someone waved a gun at me. It will, indeed, make a good story for the grandkids.

Hi Carol--Thanks for chatting today. I'm afraid EJ doesn't offer any tips for dealing with shoplifters in Die Buying, although she does deal with one. I'll have to see about working in tips in the later books. Unfortunately, those tips probably mostly benefit the shoplifters, not the security folks!

Thanks to your husband for his service. My dad, too, served in Vietnam. He flew F-105s.

Welcome Laura! I so enjoyed your SWIFT JUSTIC that I know DIE BUYING will be a winner, too.

Margaret, I'm happy to see a post from you! Hope you're weathering the storm okay there.

Hi, Laura, so nice to see you here!
I was in an airport yesterday and saw just the thing for your mall cop. A cop rolled by on a custom- made Segway! It had a special front bumper that said Palm Beach Sheriff's Dept. I was so jealous. Just the thing for your cop's knee.

Hi Margaret--Thanks for the kind words. The next Swift Investigations book, SWIFT EDGE, comes out in Nov. Just got galleys this week--yippee! Ditto what Karen said about the storm.

Hi NancyP--EJ has a Segway! I'll have to think about getting her a special bumper or license plate.

Hi Laura. Your book sounds very interesting and I love that you are donating the proceeds from it to such a worthy cause. I'll be picking up a copy of it soon.

Hi Nancy Jo--Thanks for stopping by today. I appreciate your being interested in Die Buying.

Hey Laura! Add me to the list of BIG Laura fans... (LAura and I were book-tour roommates..and it's one fo my fondest memories. EXCEPT she got up at the crack of dawn to run--and wasn't it even raining, Laura?--and I felt like a slug-a-bed. Which--I was!)

Laura, close your ears a second. Gang, she's terrific. Funny, smart, organized, hilarious, tenacious and warm and adores her family. Go read her books right now!

Okay, Laura, you can listen again. xoxo

Hey Laura -- thanks for your service, sister. It's seen and appreciated. I also support the WWP, the Special Operations Warrior Foundation http://www.specialops.org/ and a lot of deployed troops/operators. I'd invite you to consider getting your publisher to donate some books (e-books especially) for deployed service personnel.

I'll spread the word on your book.

cheers, m

So late to the party, Laura, but I'm happy you came! Best of luck with DIE BUYING.

Hank, you are, as always, too kind. (And I was walking, not running, in the rain. Running hurts.)

Marcus, Thanks for stopping by and thanks for your support of WWP and our military folks. I've donated plenty of books myself; I'll see what my publisher is doing.

Harley, I hope we have a chance to chat at B-con.

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