Growing up Brooklyn
“It’s not a city it’s an attitude”
I was born and raised in what is considered the inner city. The neighborhood was mostly tenements, with a melting pot of Nationalities, Religions and Ethnic groups. We all got along for the most part, as kids we would fight each other sometimes. But if some other kids from others blocks came by and wanted trouble we banded together. At times there were some bad things that happened, but it didn’t scare me, after all it was my hood. I didn’t stay in Brooklyn all my life, like a lot of people I wanted to get out of there, so I moved to Chicago and spent most of my adult life in the windy city. Got a job, got married, had a son, got divorced. All the usual things. Life happens when you’re making other plans! I’m retired now and live in sunny (most of the time) Florida. I love to read, write and fish. Caught me a small shark last summer. If you enjoy poetry try my website (link below) where I have posted a few of my best. Most of all I want people to read and enjoy my work. As a writer I crave recognition, but a boatload of money wouldn’t be a bad thing either.
Salty and the Serpent
I invented my characters by drawing upon my childhood memories and flair for the dramatic. I have a writing style that is real and never sugar coated or phony. As I fleshed out some of my characters they are loosely based on actual individuals I knew or knew of. Realizing my longtime dream, my debut novel Salty and the Serpent was released In August of 2013. I wanted to get published and received many a rejection letter. I decided to self publish and borrowed the money from a good friend that said “to him it’s an investment”. If the book makes money we cut a deal for him to share in the royalties. If it didn’t sell, oh well just like the stock market sometimes you win sometimes you lose. The process was challenging, I wound up designing my own cover. I found marketing to be the most difficult task of the process. I have joined every group and website that I could find and have promoted the book every chance I get.
Salty and the Serpent follows the rise of a basic patrol officer, Bobby Salter and his partner Vinny Serpentino who have just brought down the empire of two of the biggest coke dealers in Brooklyn. With a huge money bust in their back pocket, they are promoted to plain clothes officers and assigned to patrol the streets of Bobby’s grandfather’s old neighborhood. As his resume begins to build, Bobby’s rise will take him all the way to detective as he is thrust into solving high profile cases from Manhattan to the Bronx. The action twists and turns, Bobby’s story will lead to a surprise ending that no one would ever see coming. I like to show my readers that the heroes they take for granted are working hard to protect them in their vanilla world, this crime thriller peels back the rose-colored surface of society to reveal the seething underbelly that lies beneath.
Salty and the Serpent (excerpt)
Working the Streets
When a double homicide happens, the house goes into high gear; every cop works it, and all intel, tips, and hunches go to the detectives working the case. They had just started their shift when the call came over the radio, announcing shots fired at Sutter and Powell and telling all PC units and sector cars to respond.
“That’s us,” Edgy said and flipped the light on the dash as Bobby hit the siren. They raced down Pitkin, made a right on Mother Gaston, and then took a left on Sutter. As Edgy showed off his driving skills, scaring Bobby to death, the radio crackled with more information. Cars arriving on the scene were reporting two victims down, and dispatch started sending more cars and bosses.
They could see other cars arriving and a patrolman putting up crime-scene tape. They parked on Sutter and walked over to Powell. Looking down the block, they saw a black SUV with its ass end half out in the street. It had rear-ended a parked car.
They went under the crime scene tape, and as they got closer, they could see there were two figures inside. One was slumped in the passenger seat, and the other’s head hung out the driver’s side window. The bodies were covered with those creepy yellow tarps. The back door on the passenger side was open. Bobby looked in and could see this was a vicious execution. They’d been shot from behind, and blood covered the front seat and windshield. A bullet was embedded in the windshield.
Bobby backed out and reported to the patrol sergeant. Bobby offered to start a canvass, and he and Edgy walked into the crowd, asking if anyone saw anything. As usual, they were all blind and deaf. Looking at the apartment buildings with windows facing the street, Bobby and Edgy started directly across the street from where the SUV came to rest. Starting on the top floor, they knocked on doors with windows facing the front. Amazingly, all of those people were blind and deaf also.
Back in the street, the rest of their unit had arrived, including Lieutenant Greer. Vinny was talking to one of the homicide detectives, while Angel milled in the crowd, trying to see if she could hear anything. The detectives were thinking it was a drug deal gone bad, but without a thorough search of the vehicle, they wouldn’t speculate. The homicide guys poked in and out of the SUV, taking notes, taking photos, and walking the route the vehicle had taken. It was decided to cover the SUV and have it towed in with the bodies inside then have the Crime Scene Unit (CSU) break it down and remove the corpses.
The next day at roll call, they all received a report on the double. The dead men were Grover and Michael Lewis, brothers known to be members of Cha Cha’s gang. This raised a flag with the team right away—what were those two doing down on Sutter and Powell?
My Short Story
During one of Bobby’s investigations, things slowed down, so his Lieutenant told him and his partner that there other cases that need attention. So I wrote a short story about one the cases they solved in between a major investigation.
The Billy Goat Caper is about a Kentucky boy that loves to climb. At twenty-six, he packs up his life and heads for New York City. There he meets a woman and together they get involved in burglary, blood diamonds and murder. Pursued by the police they try to hide, but cannot outsmart the relentless long arm of the law. I self published it an E-Book, editing was fairly inexpensive, but I will have to sell a lot of books at $0.99 to break even. Good thing I’m not in this writing game for the money.
My editor did my heart good, when she returned the manuscript she said “I love your writing style, the way it’s casual. Your short story was like listening to a friend tell the story first hand”.
The Billy Goat Caper (excerpt)
Bobby and Angel were dispatched to a burglary at Pitt St. and East Broadway. Seemed someone had gotten into the apartment of a so-called secure building. The apartment belonged to Hy and Ida Goldman. They owned and operated a small kiosk in the diamond district. Some of the kiosks were small businesses earning a nice comfortable living. Hy had a brother in Israel that had a connection for diamonds from Africa. It was a family affair where everyone got a piece of the pie. The diamonds took a seditious trip from Africa to Israel, then to the U.S. Diamonds are traded and sold up and down West Forty-seventh St. all day five days a week. To say there were no “blood diamonds” being sold or traded would be a stretch. It would be like saying there is no Mafia, and they are not into bookmaking anymore. The Goldman’s liked to live close to their business, so they bought a co-op on Pitt St. in a high-rise building. Hy picked this apartment because it was on the twelfth floor in a secure building. The apartments had heavy real wood doors with deadbolt locks. It would take a police battering ram to knock it down. The lobby was locked, and security cameras recorded every angle of the entrance doors and lobby.
Someone had gotten in, scooped up close to sixty thousand dollars in jewelry and taken the family heirloom silverware. The cheese box safe had been mangled and pulled out of the wall then pried open. The CSU guys were examining the deadbolt lock and determined that if they got in through the door they either had a key or were an expert lock pick. The lobby security tapes yielded no one suspicious, only the residents of the building coming or going during the time Hy and Ida had gone out and returned. Angel started to check the windows; one window off the corner of the building was closed but not locked. Further examination yielded small scratches on the window locking lever. She opened the window and saw climber’s pitons, or anchors, nailed into the wall. She backed up and yelled to Bobby, “Put out an APB on Spiderman.”
The crook had climbed up the side of the building and came in through the window. He kept himself in a corner, in the dark, and then moved over to open the window and creep in. He got out the same way, repelled down the building, pulled the rope down and disappeared.