Bury the Past by James L’Etoile

From Goodreads: Sacramento Police Detectives John Penley and Paula Newberry are enlisted to investigate a case involving the trafficking of stolen street drugs. But they quickly find it’s more difficult than they first imagined when the crime is being committed by a group of corrupt cops undermining the system.


This is actually book #2 of the Detective Penley series by James L’Etoile. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. Bury the Past is set in Sacramento, all the key locations are familiar to me. It’s also obvious that the author has great insider information on California prisons, CSP-SAC (California State Prison – Sacramento) in particular. The protagonist is complex and interesting. The bad guy is creepy and smart. The cops are three dimensional. I liked the author’s approach. It made everything more credible.

Only one problem with the book that bugged me–I know the Sacramento locations too well. When the author describes Southside park, he mentions 15th Street. Southside is a little further up, on 5th. Must have been an editing error, because nearly everything else is on right on point, including the author’s dry wit about the condos around the park.

This was a page-turner. Recommended. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Along the Sacramento River

Sometimes other people’s wit catches us by surprise.

My son and I have been walking along the Sacramento River now and again, and this grafitti never fails to amuse me.

Love is Free. …So is poop.

All the more relevant as there are homeless encampements and lots of dogs in the area. Love and Poop. That’s all we need. Or is it?



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A Fog Blog

Today was a foggy day. At about 1030 AM or so, the spouse and I went for a walk break. It was still foggy and the air was tinged with whiteness, as it often is just before snow falls. Only we don’t get snow here by the rivers. Rarely, anyway. The last time I think we got snow in my town was in 1990, so that’s a long while ago. Or at least it was cold enough for snow. I remember I was out of town and got a call that there had been snow in 1990. But I digress. My thoughts are sticking and laying heavy, just like the fog.

While walking the conversation went sort of like this:

“It’s foggy.”

“Yes. That’s Tule fog. Special to the area.”

“Does it happen anywhere else?”

“I don’t think so. I think it’s just here. [Professor friend] told me about it. And she pronounced it the right way, too—it’s too-lee fog. Like Julie. Or unruly.”

“Or just fog.”

Tule Fog earlier in the winter

I always think about poetry when I experience Tule fog. It’s not like a rolling, dramatic San Francisco Bay Area fog. That kind of fog, at least in the summer, blows in on an afternoon and hangs out until morning. You can watch it come in over the Bay, as I often did from a rooftop in Berkeley one year. This poem often comes to mind:

“The fog comes 
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.”

                               -“Fog” by Carl Sandburg

I think when Carl Sandburg was writing about fog, he wasn’t writing about Tule fog. Sandburg’s fog moves on, but Tule sits in damp expectation and thickens the air in the valley. Tule arises from some sort of delta marsh grasses with the same name. The LA Times calls it a type of “radiation fog” – which does little to ease the mind of the inhaler of the moist air.


Satellite Photo of Tule Fog, by Jeff Schmaltz; NASA, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Last month, when we were excitedly hoping to view the Jupiter-Saturn eclipse, the Tule fog rudely and thickly landed and we were lucky to see our next-door neighbor’s holiday lights that night.

The next day, the fog was gone and the night was clear. But the conjunction was no longer visible in the sky.

It was a reminder, the fog is not consistent. It doesn’t move in and set up house for days. It comes and then it leaves. Quietly, with no fanfare.

Maybe Sandburg was right, after all.




Stark survival? Or not?

A tree in Sacramento

This tree struck me with its strange appearance. Is it dead, but just still standing? Or is there anything still living?

Am I simply thinking too much?

I wish this tree was more vibrant.



Coincidence or Irony?

It’s freezing outside. I took a photo of the frozen grass but not quite sure I was able to convey the iciness of it.

I mentioned I need to get back to running.

You may have noticed we had some terrible air quality here in California this summer, thanks to crazy wildfires and a lack of rain. It definitely impacted my outdoor plans, but on many occasions I would get up before the “dirty air” would settle, and get my run in anyway. There were days when the only safe time to run would have been at 2 AM, so I did take a few days off.

I was pretty committed to getting my runs in. And I miss that commitment, which is why I’m posting about it. And planning.

I have everything I need to get outside and run.

But today, when it’s almost December and we’re experiencing overnight freezing, I note that the air quality has blipped into the unhealthy for sensitive groups range. On the air quality map, it’s showing a little orange dot over the city, where most of the rest of the state has good quality air.

It almost feels as though the universe read my blog that I needed to get the shoes back on and get out on the trail.

No matter, tomorrow is supposed to be a better day, air-quality-wise. I’ll need to decide to put on the shoes, anyway.

I’ll stop procrastinating. Tomorrow.



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