Where’s the beef?


First things first. My apologies for missing Friday’s post. We got caught in a massive traffic jam on I-35 outside of Austin on the way home from Sea World in San Antonio and didn’t get home until late. If anyone’s been on I-35 around Austin, you feel my pain. And that was after dealing with massive crowds at Sea World. Anything for the kids, right?

Nevertheless, we move forward with another Mystery Monday. We’re all trying to find a certain niche with our mystery writing, something that will make the critics say, “now this is a fresh approach in the mystery genre, these are unique characters, this is a truly different story.” Well, for all of us looking for both unique characters and fresh plot on this Mystery Monday, I give you cattle rustlers.

Oh yes, you heard me right. Cattle rustlers. Thieves of the Beef. Cattle rustling isn’t something that’s stuck in the Wild West, or days of yore. It’s alive and well all over the world. In fact, with beef prices on the rise, law enforcement is seeing more cases of cattle rustling today than ever.  Back in the olden days (1930s-70s) rustlers would herd cattle into trucks in the dead of night. From 1970 through today, they often use helicopters to manuever herds into temporary pens and then load them into the trucks from there.

Now where does a story go that starts with cattle rustlers? How to formulate a plot around a cattle rustling operation? There are many different directions. Maybe your lawyer hero used to be a cattle prosecutor who’s moved on to the big city, but still uses the small town tricks he learned in said profession to solve the case. Maybe a female police chief in a town along the Texas-Mexico border witnesses a helicopter that she thinks is being used for a cattle rustling operation only to investigate it and discover its being used for something much worse. Or, how about a reformed cattle rustler as one of your supporting characters?  

Wherever you go with your mystery, unique characters or a fresh approach to a story will always make readers raise an eyebrow, and hold their attention along the way. Stories about the characters that are associated with off-bat subjects, like cattle rustling, might be just the right meat in your Mystery Sandwich.


Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and award-winning author of Five Days in Dallas and The Brink. Check out his novels at www.markfadden.com


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