No Frills Buffalo
$12.95/ e-reader $4.99
BROKEN AND PROFANE
Buffalo, New York, in the fall of 1980: a white supremacist embarks on a killing spree, targeting black people... one every day. His first murder from City Hall’s balcony twenty-eight stories high captures everyone’s attention.
The case is assigned to Mark Bennett, a first-year detective whose father was a police legend. The department’s star investigator, Ken Connell, is angry to learn he is passed over. Bennett owns a pedigree, but lacks experience solving homicides. Bennett grapples with secrets, including something he must not reveal to Connell.
Bobby Bennett is a rookie patrolman learning the job. His partner is George Pope, a veteran street cop who once paired with Bennett’s father. Pope is wise but crusty, determined to mentor a stubborn young man, no matter how much resistance he faces.
For several days, victims keep coming. Against a backdrop of crooked cops, drug dealers, prostitutes and transvestites, tension mounts as the net narrows toward the killer. Meanwhile, Connell uncovers an uncomfortable truth...
Rich in characterization, Broken and Profane is crime fiction that resonates with authenticity, a taut thriller portraying the underbelly of life and the men who are entrusted with keeping society’s order.
The first installment of the Buffalo Crime Fiction Series
“In your down time, study maps of the city,” George Pope told Bobby Bennett. “Just from living here you know the main roads already, but now start learning the side streets, where things intersect, which directions are one-way. When we’re in the car, you pay attention to the signs we pass.”
I can read a map, Bennett thought. Why should I have to memorize it?
“The extra fifteen or twenty seconds it takes you to unfold a map might make the difference between somebody living or dying,” Pope said, as if reading his young partner’s thoughts. “You get a call, you don’t waste time running your fingers along the grid of letters and numbers.”
“Okay,” Bennett said, looking beyond Pope with an elastic voice that was far away. Pope recognized that he hadn’t taken the message seriously, and clenched his jaw in silence. From the afterlife you owe me a big one, Mac, he thought. This kid of yours is a pig-headed, stubborn little prick. It’s awfully hard to teach a twenty-five year-old who thinks he knows everything.
They drove in silence for a time, Pope’s window open to absorb neighborhood sounds. His eyes were constantly on the move, scanning people and porches and yards they passed.
From the passenger’s seat, Bobby leaned his cheek against a hand, gazing out at the night, drumming his foot absently against the floormat. He reflected on the conversation with Mark earlier that day. This fat irascible old man sitting next to him had once been a young turk who partnered with his father. Pope had actually cradled Bobby when he was a newborn. Sometimes, Bobby thought, these lost years were too much.
Pope broke the silence. “What street did we just pass?”
“What was the name of the street we just passed?”
Bennett pivoted in his seat and squinted through the rear glass. “Why, don’t you know?” he wondered.
“Yeah, I know. I want to see if you’re paying attention.”
“I’m paying attention.”
“Good. Then tell me the name of that street.”
Bennett exhaled. Would this zealot ever let up, just rest for a moment? “I don’t frigging know.”
Pope nodded sagely and plunged his arm between their seats. He came up with Bobby’s nightstick and tossed it out the window, where it twisted end over end like a boomerang before clattering against asphalt.
“What the hell?” Bobby spat.
Pope drove two more blocks in silence, then pulled to the curb.
“Walk back and get your nightstick,” he said. “And while you’re there, find out the name of that street we passed the block before.”
Bobby’s cheeks burned with humiliation. “Are you kidding me? Are you crazy?”
Pope glowered at him. “I’m gonna teach you this job, whether you like it or not. No coddling. I got too much respect for your family to let you get lazy. If you’re this careless as a rookie, you’re either gonna turn into a bad cop or get shot before you’re thirty. Neither is something I want any part of. So get off your ass and go!”
Bennett exhaled with disdain, but got out of the car, leaving the door open as he trudged away. Pope watched in the rearview mirror as the young man stormed off with determination, head tucked low. It took four minutes before he returned, boiling with restrained anger.
“You ever do that again,” Bennett threatened, “I’m gonna retrieve that nightstick, walk back to the car and swing it at your head.”
Pope’s expression didn’t change, but inside his heart danced. He hesitated long enough to be sure his voice remained even. He turned his wide eye in Bobby’s direction, and said in a whispered voice, “Kid, that’d be the worst mistake of your life. I’m old enough to be your pop, but I didn’t last twenty-six years on the streets being soft. You talk like that to me again and I might just have to kick your ass, because you aren’t listening to a damn thing I say.”
The radio squawked before Bobby spoke: report of a domestic disturbance five blocks away. Pope had the car moving before Bennett latched his door.