The Jim Buchanan Novels

A series of mystery/suspense/thriller novels from present day, western Montana

The Counties of Northwestern Montana (modified to create fictional Cedar County)


Jurisdiction of Sheriff Jim Buchanan

From the Canadian border in the north to Sanders County in the south, to the Idaho border on the west to Lincoln, Flathead, and Lake Counties in the east. The county seat of Cedar County is the city of Taylor situated on the Clark Fork River. U.S. Route 228 is the main highway through Cedar County and runs from Taylor in the west and past the village of Horace in the east.

Towns & populations:
Taylor 13,167 – county seat, Cedar County Sheriff’s Dept., Taylor Police Dept.
Mallory 4,256 – Mallory Police Dept.
Spaulding 2,852 – Spaulding Police Dept.
Ledge Flats 234
Trout Hollow 1,289 – Trout Hollow Police Dept.
Sullivan 363
Big Stump 853 – situated on the Flathead Reservation
Horace 44 – situated on the Flathead Reservation
Other towns 1,000
Total county population – 24,058

Author’s note: In addition to Cedar County being a fictional county (it was constructed from parts of the actual Lincoln, Sanders, Lake, and Flathead counties), all towns depicted on this map are also fictional as well as U.S. Route 228 which does not exist anywhere in the United States. Everything else on this map is factual and true to scale. 

Universities –
• Taylor University, Taylor, Montana

Schools –
• Taylor High School, Taylor, Montana
• Saint William Christian School, Taylor, Montana
• John Taylor Academy, Taylor, Montana

Hospitals –
• Cedar County Hospital, Taylor, Montana
• Taylor University Medical Center, Taylor, Montana
• Saint Mary’s Hospital, Taylor, Montana
• Mallory Community Hospital, Mallory, Montana

Places of Worship –
• Taylor United Methodist Church
• Taylor Seventh Day Adventist Church
• Taylor Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
• Taylor Community Bible Church
• Faith Baptist Church
• First Presbyterian Church of Taylor
• Saint Michael the Archangel Catholic Church
• Temple Beth Solomon
• Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Airports –
• Mackenzie Municipal Airport, Taylor, Montana
• Taylor International Airport, Taylor, Montana

Newspapers –

• Cedar County Ledger – weekly county newspaper
• Taylor Bulletin – daily town newspaper

Entertainment –

• Jubilee Theater
• Taylor Ten Pin Bowling
• Stocky’s Billiards
• Lucy’s Luncheonette

Highways –
• US Hwy 228
• Route 93
• Route 28

The fictional Cedar County Sheriff’s Office building

In order to accurately describe the building and the floors of the fictional Cedar County Sheriff’s Office of my novels’ protagonist, Sheriff Jim Buchanan, I constructed a diagram of the individual office space. Much research went into this rendering. I completed online research into various police stations and sheriff’s offices to arrive at a good representation for a sheriff’s office and its critical components in a county with a population of at least 24,000 people.

Some could say this was an unnecessary use of time, however I find it invaluable when writing my novels. I can visualize on my diagrams where my characters are in relation to what they may view outside their windows, how they move about inside the building, how they interact with other employees and the public all the while without concern of making logistical errors in writing multiple novels.

There are four floors (note the secure passage desks meant to keep inmates and suspects segregated from the sheriff’s office employees and the general public):

The lower basement houses a gymnasium.

The upper basement includes a running track above the gymnasium, men’s and women’s lockers and showers, a Nautilus weight room, weapons armory, handgun firing range, and an evidence locker.

The first floor includes a lobby, dispatch center, Sheriff Buchanan’s office, a staff cafeteria, conference rooms, a low-risk inmate cafeteria/library, a low-risk inmate rec facility, holding cell, booking facility, sally port, kennel, and garage.

The second floor encompasses a lunch room, bailbondsman’s/chaplin’s office, detectives’ office, conference rooms, training facility, common area for deputies/staff desks, inmate legal rep rooms, two interview (interrogation) rooms, an observation room with on-way glass, youth officer’s office, Sergeant Bonnie MacAskill’s Office, and Undersheriff Rocco Salentino’s Office.

The third floor is dedicated to the county jail with 20 individual jailcells and a central observation station.

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