Author Interview with Meghan Holloway, Suspense & Thrillers

We’re privileged to have author Meghan Holloway as our guest author this month. Take a few moments to discover the creative talents she brings to the realms of suspense and thrillers.

Author Meghan Holloway

How authors get their start is itself fascinating and a process of personal discovery.

As Meghan says she, “found her first Nancy Drew mystery in a sun-dappled attic at the age of eight and subsequently fell in love with the grip and tautness of a well-told mystery.”

Now how about this–She:

  • flew an airplane before she learned how to drive a car,
  • did her undergrad work in Creative Writing in the sweltering south, and
  • finished a Masters of Library and Information Science in the blustery north.
  • Spent a summer and fall in Maine picking peaches and apples,
  • And she traveled the world for a few years, and then
  • did a stint fighting crime in the records section of a police department.

Meghan now lives in the foothills of the Appalachians with her standard poodle and spends her days as a scientist with the requisite glasses but minus the lab coat.

She is the author of ONCE MORE UNTO THE BREACH, available now from Polis Books.

Her upcoming thriller, HUNTING GROUND, will release in May 2020.

Follow her at @AMeghanHolloway.

What draws you to a book as a reader?

As a reader, I love a book that is atmospheric in setting, lyrical in language, and driving in plot. I love a book that keeps me guessing, has me on the edge of my seat, and manages to surprise and inspire me.


What draws you to a book as an author? 

I have a hard time turning off my author brain when I am reading, so I find myself always studying what I am reading with an eye toward the craft. When I am writing, I strive to create something I would enjoy reading: a tautly paced plot with an ebb and flow that keeps me turning the pages, a narrator who skates the line of moral ambiguity, a setting that feels like it is a character, and a tale that immerses and leaves me pondering it long after I have finished the read. 

How much of your writing comes from sheer discipline and how much inspiration?

I think if one is going to attempt to be a career author, writing must be 98% sheer discipline. That flash of inspiration is needed to begin germinating the story, but everything after that initial flair of an idea is pure discipline, hard work, and stubborn determination. 


What about your promotional strategies? A lot of authors, esp indie authors, are using a rapid release strategy … you seem to write one novel and promote it well in advance. How does that work for you? Want to name your publisher? 

I am not an indie author, so the difference in my publishing schedule and promotional strategy is that I work with a publishing house. Because of that, I don’t have a rapid release strategy and have a longer time to build interest in my upcoming novel. Polis Books has been phenomenal to work with, and authors will find that traditional publishing houses operate on very strategic release schedules. As such, I have a new release once a year. It allows me to stay a year ahead on my own writing schedule, and it works well for me.


Where did your love for writing fiction come from?

In the first pages of ONCE MORE UNTO THE BREACH, readers will find a dedication that reads To E.A.D., For telling me stories. 

Those initials represent my grandfather, who for much of my life was a stalwart tower of a man with a stubborn Scottish constitution, a flair for storytelling, a relentless work ethic, an abundance of generosity, a ready smile, and a sly laugh.

He was the bedrock of my childhood, and his memories were the fairy tales that enchanted me. I did not grow up asking for stories of princesses. Instead, I sat on my grandfather’s knee and heard the story of how he and his brothers were caught on a railroad bridge when a train approached. He and all but one of his brothers jumped and landed in the river below. The youngest jumped, missed the river, and had to be dug out of the mire he had landed in—luckily with no shattered bones—on the riverbank.

I did not ask for stories of knights in shining armor. Instead, I followed along behind my grandfather in his garden and heard the tale of how his father overestimated how much dynamite was needed to blast a well and ended up blowing a hole into the land large enough to drive a truck into—and the rubble fell right through the roof into my irate great-grandmother’s kitchen.

I did not ask to hear stories about castles and dragons. Instead, I sat on the tractor’s seat passing him tools as my grandfather worked on the engine and heard the story of how his youngest sister had grown ill soon after birth and he walked with his father to the store for medicine. When they arrived and were asked the infant’s name, my great-grandfather could not remember his ninth newborn’s name and when he turned to his son, all my grandfather could supply was “Sister.”

And so my great-aunt grew up to be known only as “Sister.” I heard of how he thought my grandmother “was just the prettiest little brown-haired lass” the first day he saw her board the school bus he drove his last years of high school. I was told of how as a newlywed he almost lost a finger courtesy of his wedding band when he disobeyed the rule of no jewelry when working on planes on the Air Force base where he was stationed. My grandfather is a consummate storyteller, and with such a weaver of tales so integral to my upbringing, I could not help but follow suit. 


What about training? 

I began college as a pre-med student, fully intending to go on to medical school. A stint volunteering in the burn ward at a government hospital in Kampala, Uganda, convinced me that life course was not for me, as it turns out I am a fainter when it comes to the sights, sounds, and smells involved in medicine. I moved on to a mathematician track thinking I would become a mechanical engineer, but I continued to choose literature courses as my electives until one day a professor called me into his office.

He taught a number of the literature courses I had taken, but he was also the head of the Creative Writing department. He pushed the paper I had written on T.S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock across his cluttered desk toward me and said, “Meghan, why are you not in my program?” I did not have an answer for that.

Writing had always been my passion, from the time I first set pencil to paper, but it had never occurred to me to pursue it academically. The next day, I went to my advisor and changed my major for the third and last time, and I graduated with a BFA in Creative Writing. That course of study shaped me as a writer and taught me a tremendous amount that I would never have learned without the influence of critical feedback and the insight and guidance of more talented and more experienced writers. I think one of the most important and beneficial pursuits one can do for his or her writing is to study the craft at an academic level. 


What’s one thing you’d like to say to readers and one thing you’d like to say to writers?

To readers, I would say: “Thank you for investing your money and time into an author’s love and pursuit of the craft. There is an art theory that posits that art is only fully and truly art if it has an audience. I think it’s important for we writers to remember that you are an integral part of what makes our craft successful.” 

And to writers, I would say: “Keep writing.”

Reading Crime Fiction Classics and Choosing Timeless Authors

Timeless authors, chilling plots and questions that stump the characters and guide the readers along in a mental chase—crime fiction and thriller stories serve up spine-tingling stories.

Here’s your invite to join our reading group and stay up to date on adventure.

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Now, of course, we’d lean toward the Tom Stone Detective Stories but there’s a tremendous crime fiction history stretching back into the early and mid-1800s. That much history leads you to ask one critical question:

So who do you read?

Here are three authors who are foundational to crime stories and thriller fiction.

Edgar Allen Poe—he’s known as the father of the detective story and the master of horror writing.

We covered him in an earlier post on this blog: Classic Crime Author: Edgar Allen Poe.

What caught my attention is that his parents were struggling actors in the early 1800s.

Here’s why he’s widely read and his work has lasted for over 200 years, according to the Edgar Allen Poe Society of Baltimore:

One reason Poe is read so widely is that there is something in his writings for everyone. His works span the range of human emotions — joy, passion, hope, rage, despair and, of course, fear.

Want more Edgar Allen Poe?

Check out this article on Book Riot, 24 Edgar Allen Poe Quotes on Love, Death, Madness and More.

Sherlock Holmes—the legendary detective

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes was a doctor and journalist whose parents sent him to a strict Jesuit school for education.

On a Quora forum, someone was wondering what crime fiction authors to read and a reader noted something critical about Holmes:

I’d suggest you to start with the Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan-Doyle, because they have the sort of deduction which looks remarkable at first, but later the reader realises it is keen observation that does it.

The stories are set in the 19th century, so there are no modern forensics to help Holmes. No wonder Holmes continues to be popular even today!

This article, Arthur Conan Doyle Didn’t Care Much for Sherlock Holmes, claims that Doyle’s passion was writing about history and Sherlock Holmes was holding him back.

Now, for someone completely different …

Agatha Christie, The Queen of Crime

Murder on the Orient Express. Who hasn’t heard of it?

Before we go any further, there’s something fascinating to note about Agatha Christie that we’ll reveal below.

Published in 1934 the famous novel was made into three movies.

The “Queen of Crime” was born in 1890 and died in 1976. She wrote 66 detective stories and 14 short story collections. She completed three major series: “hercule poirot” series, “Miss Marple” series and “Tommy and Tuppence” series.

Who was she? The English newspaper The Sun published this article Agatha Mystery.

Now, about that fascinating Agatha Christie fact. Here it is.

On Agatha Christie.com, she is known as the “best selling author of all time” except for Shakespeare and the Bible.

As far as fiction is concerned in the English-speaking world, that’s an amazing accomplishment and shows how popular the crime fiction genre is and how it differs so much from one author to another.

If you want to dig deeper, go on a forum via the website and you can discover the Maps / Floor Plans in Agatha Christie’s novels.

Once you read a few of these crime fiction stories, you’ll have a good foundational grasp of the genre.

Covers for action thriller Tom Stone Detective Stories on Amazon
Racing through the streets of Los Angeles neighborhoods in pursuit of justice.

Of course, today there are so many great writers to choose from and we’d like to introduce you to Detective Tom Stone and his friends:

Book 1 A Nitty Gritty Christmas

Book2 Sweltering Summer Nights

Book 3 Day of the Dead

Book 4 One Shot, One Kill–EXCERPT BELOW

Here’s an excerpt from Book 4

Tom Stone: One Shot, One Kill.

The small room was dark, a little dusty, and the cool night air of Zacatecas flowing through the open window was starting to warm as dawn approached. Arturo lay with his arm around Marta. The hormones of pregnancy had taken their toll, but for the first night in a long time she was sleeping soundly. Arturo wasn’t. He hadn’t slept much since the news of the murders. Charles Scott assured him that there would be no problems, now he was dead. Murdered by an unknown assassin.

The sleepless nights were wearing on him. A new wife, two stepchildren, and a child of his own on the way. He just wanted to provide for them and give them a good life. Be a father. He thought back about his childhood growing up in the San Fernando Valley. The SFV. He remembered his mom. She was a good woman with a big heart. But she couldn’t deal with his dad’s womanizing, and she turned to drugs. After years of abuse, she eventually OD’d, leaving him and his dad on their own. Being raised by a single hard-working parent was tough. His father taught him a good trade, construction, but otherwise, he was never there. He was always out drinking and chasing after his next one-night stand while leaving Arturo on his own.

Arturo thought about how he searched for a new family and eventually found one, Angel, Ronaldo, Lil’ Jo and the rest—The Victor Boyz. Angel stood out because he bragged about big dreams and how they could all become rich and powerful. He made it known that he was the most qualified to run the show.

They became the best of friends – but like all kids with no direction, they looked for something to do. It was fun at first – tagging, petty vandalism, taking cars for joyrides. And when that wasn’t enough, drugs came into their lives. First it was just weed, but it turned into ecstasy, coke and then everything else came so fast and spun them out of control. Crime, real crime, drug smuggling, murders. Arturo thanked God that he never killed anybody, but he sure put a few in the hospital.

But that was in the past and now, finally, he left all that behind. A sad smile crossed his face because he had to steal a ton of cocaine from his friends in order to get out and live the life he wanted. But if he hadn’t, he would be dead like Angel and Ronaldo. Poor Ronaldo—he only wanted to take care of his mother but had gotten caught up in Angel’s schemes. Or he could be in prison like Lil’ Jo. He had made the right decision. With the help of Charles Scott, he sold the coke to help his community and now he was going to be a dad. Life had promise.

The floor creaked. Arturo rolled over to see if one of his stepkids was coming into the room wanting a glass of water or fleeing a bad dream. Nothing. He sat up as he heard another creak that sounded like a door opening. Not wanting to wake Marta, he carefully slipped out from beneath the covers and stepped quietly into the hall. He listened, then opened the door to his kids’ room. Both were twisted up in the blankets, but they were sleeping soundly.

Arturo closed the bedroom door then stepped into the kitchen to get a drink of cold water. As he opened the fridge, he heard the creak again. This time behind him. He turned and came face to face with a bad dream – evil, black-eyes staring at him.

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A Vigilante Sniper Terrorizes Los Angeles — Be Warned!

You’re sitting by your swimming pool reading the best crime fiction and you reach for Tom Stone: One Shot, One Kill and when you duck, out of nowhere a bullet zings past you and smashes into your patio fence.

Fiction? Or reality?

Our fourth novel, Tom Stone: One Shot, One Kill sets Los Angeles on edge as a vigilante sniper takes revenge on the wealthy who finance the flow of drugs into the city. The deaths create a power vacuum a notorious cartel swarms into LA, battling for control against the wealthy mob boss Frank DeVito.

Detective Tom Stone and friends jump into action in this crime fiction-thriller, our 4th novel in the Detective Tom Stone series.

Available on Amazon.

EXCERPT

The vantage point from the hillside was clear with the old-fashioned steam locomotives and box cars from Travel Town directly below. The popular destination was located along the northwestern area of Griffith Park. It was one of the few places in Los Angeles that families could go for free and turn back the clock to an earlier era of transportation. A roadway cut a path between the local tourist attraction and a well-traveled equestrian path with riders in jodhpurs and helmets walking and trotting their mounts.

When the war on terror started after September Eleven, Two-Thousand and One, then-president George W. Bush announced that many heroes in the struggle would remain anonymous and the public would never learn their names.

Smuggling drugs and ruining men and women financially was just as cruel and evil as a suicide bomber attacking innocent civilians. The government was failing miserably in its battle against drugs, and it was necessary to be an anonymous warrior. Leaving the patch gave a clue that someone was brave enough to battle it on their own. It took research, lots of it, to identify the responsible parties for the havoc being wrought on Los Angeles and throughout the United States, hell—the whole world: needles in the veins, coke snorted up the nose. It all came down to following the money. Month after month of looking up facts and figures, following trials of arrested drug dealers, and connecting the dots revealed each of the players and the fortresses of wealth and luxury that made them look like upstanding citizens, role models. But their wealth was gained by poisoning the lives of men and women craving euphoria.

That’s why there was no mistaking the rider in the teal tank top, brown leggings, and dark helmet who was riding English saddle with two other women.

Nothing but the best. A one-hundred-thousand-dollar Hanoverian warmblood trained and shown by top-dollar professionals. The rider in the front was her teenage daughter and the one behind was her personal assistant. They moved slowly at this point as they always did, week in and week out, exercising their mounts kept at the equestrian center. A tunnel beneath the freeway connected the stables and the riding path through the park.

The bullet was taken out of its case and loaded into the weapon with precision. Two boulders and manzanita bushes about five feet high provided the perfect cover. And it was time to breathe steadily, slowly, to inhale and exhale, emptying the mind and feeling the trigger, the pressure ever so slight as the trio made their way toward the zoo at Griffith Park.

Enjoy … and join our reading group for fun specials to chill your spine.

True Crime and Crime Fiction: Drugs and Death on Malibu’s Beaches

Many beaches along Malibu offer a rocky welcome. Photo by Matthew Reyes, Unsplash.com

Piloting a drug running boat from Mexico and along the coast of California was supposed to be routine, but Ceasar found his vessel grappling with the current. A shoreline as jagged as any mountain peak he had seen threatened if he sailed too close. He shouted to the crew but no one could stop the current from pushing the 35-foot panga boat onto the shores of Malibu, just north of Los Angeles.

The only fortunate occurrence was that the boat didn’t smash against the rocks.

**want more adventure? Join our Detective Tom Stone Reading Group.**

I envisioned the opening from a recent report on the KTLA website from September 2019 when a fishing vessel that was transformed into a drug smuggling ship washed onto the beach.

Sailing a panga boat along the California coast to smuggle drugs is high risk. In a five year period from 2011 to 2016, 309 drug running boats were detected and a total of 234 were caught.

But they’re relatively inexpensive to equip and the ones that do reach their target and make a sale make up for those that don’t. Even Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo Guzman is thought to have used panga boats to transport narcotics into the U.S.

Southern California’s beaches look inviting with the blue of the Pacific surging against jagged hills and offering a pleasing contrast in color.

But danger exists—in real life and fiction.

We envisioned the beach as one of the places for a vigilante sniper to carry out a deadly assassination in our novel Tom Stone: One Shot, One Kill. The 4th novel in our crime fiction and thriller series releases the week of October 7.

How the sniper pulls off his deadly feat requires incredible skill.

EXCERPT BOOK 4 TOM STONE: ONE SHOT, ONE KILL

Gently rolling waves lifting the Jet Ski felt relaxing. Early morning broke from the east with light finding its way beyond the beach and just starting to touch the ocean. Fortunately, only a few walkers, runners, and bikers were on the path that ran along the shoreline. The water was calm like the whole scenario was meant to be. Like God was smiling down and giving approval.

            The battle was going well, according to plan, and the intelligence gathered was high quality. If you wanted something done right, you had to do it yourself. A jogger went along the asphalt trail not seeing the patch that was placed as a marker. Light mingled with the marine layer and illuminated the area in a diffused haze. But over the ocean and beyond the breakwater, just enough inky darkness remained as a natural camouflage.

The water was like a lullaby, soothing arms giving him the freedom to breathe. The waves rolling toward shore made him feel like he was floating in the clouds. He researched the spot and time perfectly. Commercial fishing boats toiled farther out to sea, surfers chased larger waves a mile north, and recreational boaters didn’t frequent this area.

He chambered a round, lifted the rifle, and peered through the scope. A man entered view. Heavy. Moving slowly. He stopped and knelt to tie his shoe. Too close to the patch. Keep breathing. Let it happen. Don’t force it. And then the man stood and went on his way. He looked at the time and as another minute ticked past, he wondered. Would it happen this morning? Such a perfect scenario.

Our New Crime Fiction Thriller Ready for You

Book 4 Tom Stone: One Shot, One Kill releases the week of October 7

Join our Reader’s Group for updates and specials!

Want thrills?

“Fans of Los Angeles based novels, detective, crime books and thrillers will love this, I sure did.”

A vigilante sniper picks off the wealthy who are financing the flow of drugs into Los Angeles. Each assassination is perfectly timed in this thriller crime fiction novel.

As each one falls, a power vacuum is created and a ruthless drug cartel moves in, seeking control of the streets through intimidation, mutilation, and brutally murdering anybody who gets in their way.

Detective Tom Stone and his partner Jake Sharpe suspect mob boss Frank DeVito has a role to play in the carnage after the cartel’s shot-caller, a woman in prison named Lil’ Jo, orders an assault on DeVito’s estate.

Gang violence escalates while the sniper extracts his revenge, eliminating the elite one shot at a time. Stone turns to a new detective on the force, Brian Kilbraide, who had served as a sniper with the Army Rangers.

Stone and his team must race to stop the bloodshed and bring DeVito to justice before the sniper’s powerful bullet cuts him dead.

EXCERPT

When the war on terror started after September Eleven, Two-Thousand and One, then-president George W. Bush announced that many heroes in the struggle would remain anonymous and the public would never learn their names.

Smuggling drugs and ruining men and women financially was just as cruel and evil as a suicide bomber attacking innocent civilians. The government was failing miserably in its battle against drugs, and it was necessary to be an anonymous warrior. Leaving the patch gave a clue that someone was brave enough to battle it on their own. It took research, lots of it, to identify the responsible parties for the havoc being wrought on Los Angeles and throughout the United States, hell—the whole world: needles in the veins, coke snorted up the nose. It all came down to following the money. Month after month of looking up facts and figures, following trials of arrested drug dealers, and connecting the dots revealed each of the players and the fortresses of wealth and luxury that made them look like upstanding citizens, role models. But their wealth was gained by poisoning the lives of men and women craving euphoria.

That’s why there was no mistaking the rider in the teal tank top, brown leggings, and dark helmet who was riding English saddle with two other women.

Nothing but the best. A one-hundred-thousand-dollar Hanoverian warmblood trained and shown by top-dollar professionals. The rider in the front was her teenage daughter and the one behind was her personal assistant. They moved slowly at this point as they always did, week in and week out, exercising their mounts kept at the equestrian center. A tunnel beneath the freeway connected the stables and the riding path through the park.

The bullet was taken out of its case and loaded into the weapon with precision. Two boulders and manzanita bushes about five feet high provided the perfect cover. And it was time to breathe steadily, slowly, to inhale and exhale, emptying the mind and feeling the trigger, the pressure ever so slight as the trio made their way toward the zoo at Griffith Park.

Double Crime Thriller Giveaway

Hop into this contest. We’re giving away a signed copy of Tom Stone: Sweltering Summer Nights along with a novel by CJ Box–Paradise Valley.

Click here to enter.

We bring together the best (or worst) of the urban world of Los Angeles and the Dakotas. It’s clear that no matter where you live, crime abounds.

While we love readers who want more Detective Tom Stone novels along with the grit of Los Angeles, we also respect accomplished novelists like CJ Box. His stories Badlands and Paradise Valley have a similar theme to our Tom Stone crime fiction-thriller novels.

Go ahead and click here to enter today! The link is safe.

Can Angelino escape the mob’s clutches?

Big News

We release our 4th novel, the crime-thriller story Tom Stone: One Shot, One Kill the week of October 7th on Amazon.

3 Books, 3 Bucks Early September

Here’s your chance to scoop up ebook copies of our novels for only 99 cents each from now until September 8. All available on Amazon.

Covers for action thriller Tom Stone Detective Stories on Amazon
Racing through the streets of Los Angeles neighborhoods in pursuit of justice.

Wa-hoo!

Book 1 Tom Stone: A Nitty Gritty Christmas

Book 2 Tom Stone: Sweltering Summer Nights

Book 3 Tom Stone: Day of the Dead

It’s part of our month-long Road to Release for Tom Stone: One Shot, One Kill.

We release the week of October 7

One Shot, One Kill is Book 4 in the Tom Stone Detective stories.

A sniper starts picking off the wicked and wealthy who are funding drug shipments coming into Los Angeles. Detective Tom Stone starts the chase, and in the power vacuum a drug cartel sweeps in to challenge for control.

The cartel’s shot caller is in prison and orders an attack on the estate of mobster Frank DeVito.

Stone suspects DeVito’s involvement in the drug trade but nothing is pinned on him as the sniper is followed and traced.

Join our Reading Group and get a free copy of our short story Tom Stone: A Deadly Path.

EXCERPT Tom Stone: One Shot, One Kill

Gently rolling waves lifting the Jet Ski felt relaxing. Early morning broke from the east with light finding its way beyond the beach and just starting to touch the ocean. Only a few walkers, runners, and bikers were on the path—fortunately. The water was calm like the whole scenario was meant to be. Like God was smiling down and giving approval.

            The battle was going well, according to plan, and the intelligence gathered was high quality. If you wanted something done right, you had to do it yourself. A jogger went along the asphalt trail not seeing the patch that was placed as a marker. Light mingled with the marine layer and illuminated the area in a diffused haze. But over the ocean and beyond the breakwater, just enough inky darkness remained as a natural camouflage.

The water was like a lullaby, soothing arms giving him the freedom to breathe. The waves rolling toward shore made him feel like he was floating in the clouds. He researched the spot and time perfectly. Commercial fishing boats toiled farther out to sea, surfers chased larger waves a mile north, and recreational boaters didn’t frequent this area.

He chambered a round, lifted the rifle, and peered through the scope. A man entered view. Heavy. Moving slowly. He stopped and knelt to tie his shoe. Too close to the patch. Keep breathing. Let it happen. Don’t force it. And then the man stood and went on his way. He looked at the time and as another minute ticked past, he wondered. Would it happen this morning? Such a perfect scenario.

Only several minutes more and he’d have had to abandon the post since the light was spreading. He focused the scope and brought a jogger into view, heading past the heavy man and going south. Like an answer to prayer there she was. Her long black hair pulled back in a ponytail. In good shape for a woman entering her fifties. She made her way down the street from her home in Pacific Palisades and onto the beach path, her exercise regimen that she described during the interview in the Wall Street Journal. Lithe in a sweat suit that conformed to her body. Jogging as her Golden Retriever ran free several strides ahead. She conducted business from her estate above the ocean and traveled back to her native Shanghai up to six months a year. The Journal showed a picture of her recently constructed home in China that was adorned with two Tibetan Mastiffs who added to the display of wealth.

She was the link between the west and the east, overseeing a global shipping conglomerate, Mingyun Shipping, that transported containers over the oceans. The Pacific was the busiest route. She inherited the company that was started by her grandfather and run by her father. She had the fortune of expanding it as China welcomed western businesses and prospered economically. Hidden in the ocean-going cargo containers was more than raw materials, consumer goods, and recyclables. She was a global link in the supply chain and was so adept at finding new businesses to grow and expand that her holding company was among the richest in the world.

Pacific Palisades was a closed community just north of Santa Monica where the newest Teslas, Bentleys, and classic Jaguars were common sights. It gave her a sense of security so that she often jogged alone without the presence of bodyguards.             He dialed her in through the riflescope and didn’t need to check distance. All was measured and accounted for in previous trial runs.