Thursday, May 20, 2021

It's a Book Release Double Header!

 It’s not often that writers, even at my level of the food chain, get to celebrate two releases in the same week. Yet here I am, with two new books out in the past week.


One is a collaboration. I have a story in the anthology, The Eviction of Hope, edited by Colin Conway. This is as unique a concept as any anthology I’ve been part of, or heard of. I can’t do a better, or more concise, description than Colin did, so here’s his idea of the book’s concept:


More than a century ago, developer Elijah Hope constructed a state-of-the-art hotel. As the generations passed and tastes changed, The Hope spent two decades as an underutilized office building before conversion into a low-income housing project.


Rundown by years of human occupation, The Hope has become a hollow shell of its once great self. It is home to drug addicts, petty criminals, and those hiding from others. The city has long turned a blind eye to The Hope as surrounding neighborhoods gentrified and pushed their disaffected in its direction.


But now The Hope is preparing a return to its original glory. The current owners plan to convert it into a boutique hotel. The only thing standing in their way is the eviction of over one hundred units.


Each resident knew this fateful day was coming, yet most chose to believe it would never arrive. They ignored the posted signs, the hand-delivered warnings, and even the actual notices.


Many stayed until the bitter end.


These are their stories.


I’m delighted with how my story came out, and proud to have been asked to contribute. It’s an excellent line-up of authors who all brought their A games. Get your copy here.


On the personal front, Leaving the Scene is the sixth Penns River novel, available from Down & Out Books. As I deferred to Colin for the inside scoop on The Eviction of Hope, I’m probably the best person to describe Leaving the Scene.


 The more things change, the more they stay the same in Penns River. Stush Napierkowski has retired, replaced by retired Boston PD captain Brendan Sullivan. Nancy Snyder was promoted to deputy chief over several more experienced candidates. New officers join the department.


Crime pays no attention. A woman dies in a hit-and-run the night before Sullivan officially takes over. Patty Polcyn was seen by plenty of people while in the company of a man no one recognized, who may—or may not—drive a car consistent with tire marks left at the scene. The investigation demands an intensive search that requires manpower Penns River doesn’t have and loses steam as the day-to-day concerns of police work require immediate attention: domestic disputes, petty theft, not so petty theft, armed robbery, a visit from the Dixie mafia to shake down the town’s moonshine dealers, and a few things that are the responsibility of the police only because no one else takes care of them.


Sullivan doesn’t want the first homicide on his watch to be an open file and tasks Teresa Shimp, the most junior detective in a squad already down one, to spend as much time as she can on it. It’s Teresa’s first gig as primary homicide investigator. She sticks with it, going back over things to see what might make more sense as her knowledge of the case’s facts expands until she has a eureka moment.


Sullivan’s approach differs from Stush’s enough to cause friction in the department, and a personal dilemma for lead detective Ben “Doc” Dougherty. Doc also has his parents’ failing health, a dramatic change in the domestic situation of two young men he has become close to, and finding an old friend has colored outside the lines vying for his attention.


Penns River’s cast changes, as do the roles they play. The job is still the job.


LtS is the most Joseph Wambaugh-influenced of the Penns River series in the manner of storytelling, jumping from anecdote to anecdote to show the myriad of things cops have to deal with in a typical day. I’m happy with how it came out. I hope you are, too.

No comments: