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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Right Wrong Thing

ISBN: 9781608091546

Publisher: Oceanview Publishing

Publication Date: 10/6/2015

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Officer Randy Spelling had always wanted to be a police officer, to follow in the footsteps of her brothers and her father. Not long after joining the force, she mistakenly shoots and kills Lakeisha Gibbs, a pregnant teenager. The community is outraged; Lakeisha’s family is vocal and vicious in their attacks against Spelling. Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and filled with remorse, Randy is desperate to apologize to the girl’s family. Everyone, including the police chief, warns her against this, but the young police officer will not be dissuaded. Her attempt is catastrophic.

Dr. Dot Meyerhoff, police psychologist, plunges herself into the investigation despite orders from the police chief to back off. Not only does the psychologist’s refusal to obey orders jeopardize her career, but her life as well, as she enlists unlikely allies and unconventional undercover work to expose the tangled net of Officer Spelling’s disastrous course.

My Review

A special thank you to Oceanview Publishing and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Ellen Kirschman is in her element with THE RIGHT WRONG THING ---an intense, and compelling exploration into the psychology and the devastation of PTSD, especially with the heavy demands and traumas of law enforcement authorities. A powerful mix of psycho-crime thriller, mystery, and wit; both riveting and inspiring. A fitting title and cover. The author, a real police psychologist long before she started writing mysteries. As she mentions in her author’s notes, police work is a tough calling and she has counseled cops who feel guilty for something they’ve done, and cops who feel guilty for something they did not do. She sincerely thanks for them sharing their stories and inspiring her to write. Randy Spelling is a new recruit with the Kenilworth Police Department. Born into a law enforcement family, a star athlete, and recently married to her high school sweetheart who is a sheriff’s deputy. Shortly thereafter, the rookie cop accidentally shoots a civilian—guilt ridden. A girl she told to stop, she thought she had a gun; however, it turned out to be a cell phone---and shot her by accident. Lakeisha Biggs, a black seventeen year-old pregnant teen. Dr. Dot Meyerhoff, consultant and department psychologist, comes to her defense and says she needs forty-eight hours to rest as the current research on memory suggests that it is a mistake to interview officers immediately after a shooting. Of course the cops think this is more time for her to concoct a better story. Spelling is devastated and wants to speak to the girl’s family. Everyone urges her not to. The truth is the facts speak for themselves; a teenage girl is dead and a young officer’s life is forever changed. The media and community are outraged about a child struck down in the prime of her life, defenseless and unarmed, murdered in cold blood by the very people who are charged with protecting her. She is struck with severe PTSD—panic attacks, unable to sleep eat, or stop thinking about what happened. She cannot leave her house, cannot come back to work until the investigation is complete, not even for light duty—going crazy at home—not daring to go out in public…a prison. She wished she had never taken the call. She is urged to say nothing and admit nothing. She was doing her job. A traumatized officer, she wants to be punished and working hard to punish herself. Dr. Meyerhoff, thinks back to Ben Gomez and still feels responsible. How can she help someone when she has not cured herself? Of course now everyone thinks she is their own celebrity shrink or BWB (babe with brains). Then the unspeakable. At about 50% into the book – the intensity heats up; Non-stop action. The doc is determined to help Randy. Who wanted revenge-- The brothers, the mother, grandmother, or the baby’s father? The police are not getting anywhere, and she wants to know what happened. This is personal to the doc and she delves into the investigation full force--despite orders from the police chief to back off. She is driven and determined…from uncover work, not only does she disobey orders- she puts her own job and life on the line. She is determined to find the missing homicide suspect. She is putting the investigation in jeopardy-- Frank, and herself in harm’s way. One smart cookie, though--definitely the star of the show! However is there something more going on? Step into Law and Order! It’s show down, who will be left alive? One you do not see coming. . . “A police officer’s fate. To be stuck with remorse for what we’ve done, and regret for what we failed to do?” From a hostage situation, and intimate knowledge of cops, emotions, complex police procedures, sexism, politics, injustice, racial, corruption, dark secrets, hidden motives, manipulation, and women trying to do their jobs in a male dominated world. Who do you really trust? Things I love • Dr. "BWB" (Dr. Dot Meyerhoff) - Gutsy • Also known as: "organization’s stepchild- alternately appreciated, and ignored…to help them get a confession." • Frank’s 85% rule • Deal or no deal • Eddie’s sarcastic wit (some great one liners) . “Just in case God’s got something else to do—“ He pats his weapon, “me and Doc Glock are just around the corner.” Intense, edgy, and suspenseful! A clever twist with Marvel. I read the book back in Oct, and happened to be traveling and failed to post my review. My first book by Ellen….looking forward to reading Burying Ben (A Dot Meyerhoff Mystery). Wish her books were available in audio format. An author to follow! Hope there will be more in the Dot Meyerhoff series---loving her, and the author’s writing style. She knows her stuff! “Psychotherapy is more art than science, more intuition than deductive reasoning." “Intermittent reinforcement. Because sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.”

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Available Aug 11, 2015 e-book

About the Author

I've been a police and public safety psychologist for thirty-plus years, before I had any gray hair. My work with first responders has taken me to four countries and twenty-two states. I've won several awards and in 2014 I was honored to receive the California Psychological Association's award for distinguished contribution to psychology. On a more personal note, I live in the San Francisco Bay Area with my husband, who is a photographer (he took the photos for all my books) and retired remodeling contractor. In my spare time I travel, cook, take water aerobics classes and occasionally plunk away on my ukelele. I post regularly on Facebook (see the link on the top left). I love hearing from readers and, if you're so inclined, I love seeing your reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and Facebook. Website






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