The mayor smiled, his fraternity-prexy, Hollywood-celeb, TV lights–brightest display of self-satisfaction.
Senator-elect Cecil King looked about to vomit on the mayor’s shoes, maybe toss a cup of coffee in the mayor’s face, or perhaps give in to both impulses before stalking out of city hall and into his new life as the nation’s latest target of calls for patriotic assassinations, his life now denied federal protection before he took office on January first.
“The feds,” the mayor explained, “simply can’t afford it, Cecil, bottom line. But we can, at least as far as we’re able to. Which is why, Cecil . . .”
Which is why . . . a third shoe? The three-legged mayor was a virtuoso of suspense.
“ . . . which is why the commissioner and I are assigning the city’s best homicide experts . . . Lieutenant Ott and Sergeant Murphy here . . . to protect your life. To prevent a killing, not solve a killing ’cause there ain’t gonna be one. I’m convinced. Never on our watch. You’re in great hands here, Cecil. Congratulations.”
Cecil King coughed before he spoke, a harsh sound, as if trying to bring up phlegm. His voice barely rose above a whisper. “I’m at a loss for words, Mayor. Thank you.” He let his face reveal all that went unspoken, a pained spectrum flashing anguish, disappointment, anger.
The senator-elect turned to Flo Ott and Frank Murphy, his eyes shattered prisms. “I commend myself to your good hands.” He managed a weak smile, which was more than the two detectives could produce. Neither was able to muster so much as a thank-you.
And neither saw any need to ask for further information. They received this announcement—the first assignment in their careers protecting the life of a Very Important Person—with less than enthusiasm.
Nor were they especially flattered, knowing the senator-elect—their good man, the DA, the intrepid prosecutor who gave meaning to the best years of their careers in homicide investigations—was being thrown to the wolves by the president of the United States.
And for understandable cause, at least from the president’s point of view. Cecil King ran in foursquare opposition to the president, casting the mayor as the president’s poodle, a flip-flop pol once a Democrat, then a Republican, now an independent, a punching bag surrogate long viewed, after years of riotous nonstop fiascos, as the worst mayor in New York history, a title confronting a great deal of tough competition. Cecil King hung the presidential gofer millstone around the mayor’s neck. The charge sheet of irrefutable calamities was long enough to indict, by proxy, the hapless, helpless mayor a dozen times over.
Flo Ott sipped the city hall coffee, a stale and bitter brew. She was struggling with a meds-resistant autumn cold. Her eyes ached and her tongue felt as dry and rough as sandpaper. The mayor waited for her reply.
She said, “To start with, please, Mr. Mayor, no public announcements. If we’re responsible for Cecil King’s life, we don’t want it public. The less potential assassins know, the better. Let them imagine an army protecting the senator. We won’t disabuse them. No leaks from our side.”
“Absolutely no leaks from my ship,” the mayor said. “Guaranteed. You have my solemn word.”
Which word, if prior performance was any indicator, Flo suspected to be worth about zero cents.
“What about manpower?” she said. “Budget?”
“Budget.” The mayor’s face fell like a failed soufflé. “It’s tight, Lieutenant, tighter than a clam’s ass. Commissioner, do what you can.”
The commissioner stroked his twisted nose and nodded, his eyes expressionless, chin pugnacious, commitment unspecified.
And Flo’s suspicions were confirmed. Thrown to the wolves. She and Frank Murphy and Senator-elect Cecil King were entirely on their own.
Title: Fanatics (A Brooklyn Crimes Novel)
Author: Richard Hilary Weber
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
For fans of Kathy Reichs and Linda Fairstein, Richard Hilary Weber’s new Brooklyn Crimes Novel follows police detective Flo Ott as she crisscrosses the borough’s mean streets and lands in the crosshairs of a highly skilled assassin.
NYPD detective Flo Ott has rotten luck. First she’s put on bodyguard duty for U.S. Senator-elect Cecil King after a ultra-right-wing terror cell announces plans to assassinate him. Then she’s saddled with investigating the homicide of a hip-hop mogul. Ballz Busta was fatally rapped on his head outside his mistress’s Park Slope condo. The two jobs couldn’t be more different. Finding Busta’s killer takes Flo into the outrageous livin’ large margins of the Brooklyn music scene. Keeping Senator-elect King alive requires constant vigilance as well-trained assassins could strike anytime, anywhere. It’s only when these cases explosively collide that Flo realizes she’s finally caught a break.
What she doesn’t know is that she’s lit a fanatic’s fuse and now he has a new target: the woman cop with the nerve to try and stop his murderous schemes.
Richard Hilary Weber is a native Brooklynite, Park Slope born & bred. A Columbia grad, he’s been an English-language script writer for European filmmakers, and has written and produced documentaries in Latin America. He can now be found most often in France or London, where he writes plays, novels, and screenplays.
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