Guest Post

Guest Post: Katie Ruggle on Forensics, Nerdery, and HOLD YOUR BREATH

Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle

When I started working on a police Crime Scene Team, I discovered something: I’m a forensics nerd. On the first day of training, a whole world opened up, one overflowing with the possibility of evidence. No fingerprints? Then check for shoe prints. No? Let’s try DNA. Or maybe fibers or gun powder residue or bullet casings or anything else that could have been left behind at the scene.

The processes available fascinated me. At one burglary scene, we found a pair of used latex gloves. The burglar’s fingerprints could be on the inside of the gloves, but how could they be retrieved? After (very carefully) turning each finger inside out, we hung them in a Plexiglas container with a small amount of superglue and secured the airtight lid. When we heated the superglue, a fog-like vapor filled the space.

The superglue vapor attached to what the person wearing the gloves had left behind (amino acids, fatty acids and proteins), leaving a white residue that followed the lines of the latent prints. In this way, the invisible became visible and told us who’d been wearing the gloves (in this case, the home owner. It turned out that he’d faked the burglary to get insurance money).

While writing my Search and Rescue series, I had to hold back on the forensic details. My nerd-dom, unfortunately, is not shared by many. Some would even say that the finer points of casting a shoe print were (gasp!) boring. And, understandably, even fewer care to hear about postmortem facts. What I find “fascinating,” others find “disgusting.”

It was hard, but I managed to keep myself in check and focus on describing only the living characters in Hold Your Breath—at least most of the time. Sometimes, though, my forensic nerd-ism rears its oversharing head, and I sneak in a factoid about evidence collection or what happens to a body submerged in water for way too long. Hopefully, though, I won’t gross you out too much.


About Hold Your Breath

In the remote Rocky Mountains, lives depend on the Search & Rescue brotherhood. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can be murder…

As the captain of Field County’s ice rescue dive team, Callum Cook is driven to perfection. But when he meets new diver Louise “Lou” Sparks, all that hard-won order is obliterated in an instant. Lou is a hurricane. A walking disaster. And with her, he’s never felt more alive…even if keeping her safe may just kill him.

Lou’s new to the Rockies, intent on escaping her controlling ex, and she’s determined to make it on her own terms…no matter how tempting Callum may be. But when a routine training exercise unearths a body, Lou and Callum find themselves thrust into a deadly game of cat and mouse with a killer who will stop at nothing to silence Lou—and prove that not even her new Search and Rescue family can keep her safe forever.


When she’s not writing, Katie Ruggle rides horses, shoots guns, and travels to warm places where she can SCUBA dive. Graduating from the Police Academy, Katie received her ice-rescue certification and can attest that the reservoirs in the Colorado mountains really are that cold. While she still misses her off-grid, solar- and wind-powered house in the Rocky Mountains, she now lives in Rochester, Minnesota near her family.

Katie can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and KatieRuggle.com.

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