CARLINVILLE - During a long career in law enforcement, Ed Traylor never thought he would become a novelist.

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“It never crossed my mind,” laughed Traylor, who spent twenty-nine years with the Illinois State Police. “I had too many other things to think about.”

Traylor, who lives near Waggoner, Ill., recently released his second novel, Choices (list: $20), which is available through Amazon and IngramSpark. Copies are also available directly through Traylor.

Much of the backdrop for Choices is local with many scenes in Montgomery County and Macoupin County, including Litchfield, Raymond, Hillsboro, Mount Olive, White City, Carlinville, and Gillespie. “I also used a lot of real-life local characters,” said Traylor.

Choices follows Traylor’s first work, The Crossing, an intricate police thriller on a planned terrorist attack that earned acclaim from the Public Safety Writers Association.

His new work features much of the same detail and realistic tone, telling the gritty story of James Kincaid, an Illinois State Trooper who makes a string of bad choices – hence the name of the novel. Twice-divorced and saddled with high alimony and child support, Kincaid is facing an unpromising retirement, which sets up the key moment of the novel.

As he processes a traffic fatality, he finds two duffel bags stuffed with money. Kincaid steals one of the bags, but his newfound riches are short-lived as he is tracked down by members of the cartel, resulting in a gunfight that wounds Kincaid and kills his new girlfriend.

The standard investigation from the Division of Internal Investigations reveals Kincaid’s misdeeds, and he fakes his own death to escape, only to be caught after months on the run.

Readers have lauded Choices for its fast-moving style, realistic dialogue, detailed scenes, and page-turning narrative.

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Traylor drew heavily on his own professional experience in writing Choices. “In recent years, I wanted to do a book on what happens in Internal Investigations, since I had worked in that division,” he said. “I wanted to

provide a behind-the-scenes narrative of what goes on in D-II, how they operate, and how they handle this kind of matters.

“With my first book, a lot of readers told me they appreciated the chance to learn about the inner workings of law enforcement,” continued Traylor. “I wanted to capture those same ideas with Choices.” Traylor uses some of the same characters in both of his books.

While Kincaid is the main character, Choices also develops many others who demonstrate the high standards of most law enforcement professionals. Readers are treated to the day-to-day lives of many police officers and investigators, who juggle families and personal responsibilities with their demanding jobs.

“99.9 percent of those in law enforcement are good people who work hard to do the right thing,” remarked Traylor. “There are very few cops like James Kincaid, But when there is one, officers work together take care of it, which is a central theme of Choices.”

During his career with the ISP, Traylor worked as a patrolman, investigator, investigative supervisor, bureau chief, and staff officer. He also served as a small-town police chief. Traylor and his wife, Pat, are the parents of two daughters.

“I’m proud of my career in law enforcement,” remarked Traylor. “I just tried to do the best job I could do, and treat people the way I would want to be treated. It’s never easy, but it was what I always wanted to do, and I take great pride in that.”

To order a signed copy of Choices, send $25 (includes tax and postage) to C. Ed Traylor at 21144 Enslow

Road, Atwater, IL 62572, or visit or The book is also available at The Sly Fox in Virden, Mother Road Antique Mall in Carlinville, and The Cherry Tree in Carlinville. For more information, contact or 217-825-9241.

Tom Emery is a freelance writer and historical researcher from Carlinville, Ill. He may be reached at 217-710-8392 or

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