Saturday, April 30, 2016

Between the Lines: Buckular Dystrophy

by Zinta Aistars

for WMUK 102.1 FM
Southwest Michigan's NPR affiliate

Between the Lines is my weekly radio show about books and writers with a Michigan connection. It airs every Tuesday at 7:50 a.m., 11:55 a.m., and 4:20 p.m. (or listen anytime online), on WMUK 102.1 FM, Southwest Michigan's NPR affiliate. I am the host of Between the Lines.

This week's guests: Joseph Heywood

Joe Heywood with his dog Shaksper (Photo by Lonnie Heywood)

Poaching. It’s a disease, an addiction. So says author Joseph Heywood. Killing deer, not for food or sport, but just for the thrill of the kill. One of the conservation officers with whom Heywood rides along every summer in Michigan's Upper Peninsula called that kind of killing “buckular dystrophy,” and Heywood’s ear perked up. It was the perfect title for his tenth Woods Cop mystery (Lyons Press, 2016).

Heywood lives in Portage, Michigan, and spends his winters as a "troll." That’s the term residents of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula use to describe Michiganders who live below the bridge — the Mackinaw Bridge. During the rest of the year, though, Heywood is in the U.P., writing and riding along with state conservation officers, gathering ideas for his mystery series. The Woods Cop series is based on the adventures and misadventures of Grady Service, a tough but fair-minded DNR conservation officer.

Heywood says he approaches his ride-alongs with the same sense of humor that often comes through in his writing.
“When we go in, I’m usually dressed in green,” Heywood says. “I don’t wear a uniform, I don’t have a gun or a badge, but I look basically like I belong. Sometimes when we get a tip from someone about illegal activity going on and we go into the place, I take out my teeth. All my teeth are knocked out — just like Grady Service’s — because I lost my teeth on a patrol. At any rate, my partner goes to the house and I get out of the truck and ...

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