Over a decade after her first mystery, “Every Move She Makes” was published, award-winning author Robin Burcell returned to the Valley on Feb. 6 to once again speak to the San Joaquin Sisters in Crime.
Burcell spoke of her rookie days at Lodi PD. A bookkeeper at the time with no interest in law enforcement, she was encouraged to apply via a friend. Burcell, an avid ice skater, passed all the physical demands with flying colors. She went back to her job and waited a year for them to contact her with a job offer, nearly forgetting she’d tried out.
On the oral board, she scored #11 out of 200 candidates. But, winning over the officers was much harder. “As women, we’ve always had to be smarter than the guys,” Burcell said.
In 1999, she was the first female police officer on the force. Many of the other policemen didn’t want a woman in their ranks. She was never promoted, despite high scores in her work. However, she became a hostage negotiator and a forensic artist.
Burcell’s writing goal was to publish a novel before her first child was born. She wrote a romance, “When Midnight Comes.”
However, she had to stop writing when she gave birth a second time and found “It was easier to be a police officer than to raise twins.” Two years later she came back with a vengeance with Anthony Award mysteries: “Fatal Truth” and “Deadly Legacy.”
One of her cases as a forensic artist brought her to the Valley and the town of Reedley. An 11-year-old girl had been raped and she worked with the child to do a composite sketch. The criminal was eventually arrested and confirmed using DNA.
Author of the Sydney Fitzpatrick mysteries as well as the Kate Gillespie books, Burcell’s most recent novel is a continuation of Carolyn Weston’s works, on which the TV show, “The Streets of San Francisco” is based. She is also penning a novel with Clive Cussler.