The Short Story
M.E. BROWNING served twenty-two years in law enforcement and retired as a captain before turning to a life of crime fiction. Writing as Micki Browning, she penned the Agatha-nominated and award-winning Mer Cavallo mysteries, and her short stories and nonfiction have appeared in anthologies, magazines, and textbooks. As M.E. Browning, she recently began a new series of Jo Wyatt mysteries with Shadow Ridge. Under both names, she is unapologetically sarcastic
My mom cried the day I told her I wanted to be a cop. She’d always hoped I’d become a librarian. Something safe. It wasn’t an unreasonable supposition based on the number of books I devoured as a kid. I used to read by flashlight under the covers well into the night. Most kids got grounded, I had my books taken away. It was hell.
I fell into law enforcement after a process of eliminating professions I knew were beyond my patience: bookkeeping, professional knitter and the like. Serendipity stepped in when I called Santa Barbara to inquire about openings and was told that the department was holding an orientation that night….Fourteen years later, I tired of the California rat race and headed to Paris to finish my undergraduate degree (Medieval Studies for the curious). From there, Colorado seemed a good fit. One trip over Red Mountain and into Durango cinched it.
In Colorado, I returned to being a slick-sleeve, but then promoted through the ranks to captain. I ran DPD’s evidence room, records bureau, hiring and recruitment, internal affairs, community programs, and the investigative unit. And as the department’s spokeswoman, my name regularly appeared in print.
The highlight of my career was being accepted at the FBI National Academy—an eleven-week executive leadership program in Quantico, VA. If you’ve seen Silence of the Lambs, you’ve seen Quantico. I did my best Jodie Foster impression on the six-mile obstacle course. She had youth on her side; I had determination.
I retired from law enforcement after nearly twenty-two years of service. Now, I spend my time writing. I still get to see my name in print, but now it’s on book covers and in magazines.
Adrift, my first Mer Cavallo Mystery, was published by Alibi-Random House and was an Agatha Award finalist for Best First Novel. Beached, the second Mer Cavallo Mystery, earned the Royal Palm Literary Award for Book of the Year and Best Mystery.
Next up is Shadow Ridge which will be available from Crooked Lane Books in October 2020. It’s got all the page-turning excitement Mer offered readers but trades in the Florida Keys for Southwest Colorado. It also marks a return to my police roots, and I couldn’t be happier.