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Thursday, June 3, 2021


Today we’re joined by Detective Joe Erickson, the creation of author Lynn-Steven Johanson. Lynn is an award-winning playwright and novelist who holds an MFA degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is retired from Western Illinois University and lives in Illinois with his wife and has three adult children. Learn more about him and his books at his

Greetings. I’m Detective Joe Erickson, and I work with Chicago PD. You can read all about me in Lynn-Steven Johanson’s new novel, Havana Brown. At age thirty-nine, I decided it was time to get into good physical condition again. When hangovers started lasting two days, and I had to start loosening my belt another notch, I realized I needed to start taking better care of myself. And to do that, I not only needed to go to the gym and work out, but also needed to start eating right. So, I bought some cookbooks and taught myself to cook. And you know what?  I liked it. And I got good at it, too. 


I won’t go into details because you can read all about it in Havana Brown, along with how I apprehended a vile serial killer, met the love of my life, and how I drove myself into a nervous breakdown. Yeah, I did that to myself. Spoiler alert: Since Havana Brown is a prequel to Rose’s Thorn, some of you may know I’m feeling better but still on medical leave.


Since I love to cook, I’m going to treat you to one of my favorite recipes, one I call, “Ragu to Kill For.” Not literally, of course. But once you try it, you’ll understand the name. It takes some time to prepare, but let me tell you, it’s well worth it. And once you make it, you’ll make it again.


Ragu to Kill For


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

8 ounces of chorizo sausage

3 cups chopped onion

2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic

2 tablespoons of smoked paprika

2 pounds chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks

1/2 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper—about 1/8 tsp

3 cups dry white wine

4 cups canned diced tomatoes drained

2 cups chicken broth

1/4 cup chopped parsley


Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat and add sausage. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 to 10 minutes. Add onion and garlic. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft.


Sprinkle smoked paprika over the onion mixture; stir to coat. Cook for 1 minute. Add chicken, salt, and pepper; stir to coat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add wine and increase heat to high; cook until the wine is reduced by about a third, approximately 8 minutes.


Stir in tomatoes, broth, and parsley; reduce heat and simmer uncovered until the chicken is tender, and the sauce is beginning to thicken, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.


Serve it over your choice of pasta.


A few of my detective colleagues at Area 3 detective headquarters in Chicago like to give me a hard time about my culinary expertise. “What did you bring today, Joe?” or “When you going to start sharing it?” I’m used to it, and it doesn’t bother me. When I see one of my colleagues sitting at his desk munching on a ham sandwich, I’m tickling my taste buds with leftover Ragu to Kill For over mostaccioli or a salmon arugula salad. I know some of them are envious, but so far, no one has dared to steal my lunch!


Havana Brown

A Joe Erickson Mystery


In this prequel to Rose’s Thorn, Detective Joe Erickson discovers a clever and vile serial killer preying on women in Chicago. Only a few cat hairs provide a clue to the perpetrator of six mutilation murders. Joe’s razor-sharp intuition and unorthodox methods ultimately lead him on a trail fraught with twists, turns, and dead ends. But pushing himself day and night begins taking its toll, and his obsession with apprehending the killer could be his undoing.


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Lynn-Steven Johanson said...

Thank you for the great layout. It was fun sharing this with you!


Happy to have you come visit, Lynn!