Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Short Story Wednesday Review: To Serve, Protect, and Write: Cops Writing Crime Fiction Volume 1 Editor A. B. Patterson


From the massive archive..


To Serve, Protect, and Write: Cops Writing Crime Fiction Volume 1 features 15 tales written by current or former members of law enforcement. While the preponderance of the tales included here feature stories on the bob, many do not. This anthology features an international assemblage of authors reflecting experience in law enforcement around the globe as well as varied perspectives on crime fiction. The result is an entertaining read.

After an introduction by Editor A. B. Patterson that goes into considerable detail regarding the premise and the ground rules of the anthology, it is on to the stories. The first one is a historical tale by Christopher Allen titled, “All Good Things Must Begin.” Subtitled “The first Frank DeGrae Case” the tale features an attempted theft, an officer involved shooting, and possible police corruption.

The next tale is also a historical piece as the year is 1936 and it is June in San Francisco. “Johnny Walker” by Thonie Hevron has Jack and Captain Ronald Bertrand head out to a strangulation of a woman in the Embarcadero area. Bertrand is not on the up and up and the fact that he is actually leaving the office at the Kearney Street Hall of Justice means something is going on more than this particular homicide.

“I Remember Who I Am” by Michael O’Keefe comes next where our narrator is Robbie Meyer. A cop working in Dunson, Ohio. A cop whose faith, family history, and legacy, will be tested on a call in the old north-east section of town. How he handles that call as well as his actions afterwards are part of the process of Robbie Meyer staying true to himself.

Readers go cross the pond to the Dublin International airport as “Dublin to Liverpool” by Barry Lees begins. Detective Constable Trevor Massingham has been on an undercover stakeout for four days watching travelers. He has been sent from Liverpool to sit in the airport and watch those who are passing through on their way elsewhere. The hope was that he would be able to identify potential drug mules as they boarded aircraft. A new batch of ecstasy has hit the streets of Liverpool in recent days and is worse than the normal stuff.

Helen Mathews, literary agent, is sitting in front of her fireplace in her farm house in Maine as “His First” by P. J. Bodnar begins. As she rejects a submission, she tosses the pages into her fireplace, making use of the hard work of others to heat her home. She is not alone. Before long the police will be involved as life changes for several people this night.

“Cold Comfort” by Desmond P. Ryan begins on a night where a cold rain is falling. Despite the nastiness of the night, Detectives Mike O’Shea and Ron Roberts had to go out and do something. Anything at all to get out of the office for a little while. The plan was to go get a coffee. As it happens, before they get there, they get a dispatch to go to their intended coffeeshop to investigate a sudden death.

Deputy Rory Comeaux is dealing with all of the complications of being a woman in full uniform and needing to use the restroom as “The Ladysmith” by Pearson O’Meara begins. While she is dealing with the lack of room for her and her gear in the bathroom stall, a killer lurks nearby. A lot is change to happen in the next few minutes as well as the weeks to come in this part of Southern Louisiana.

Corporal Seaton and his trainee, Officer Day, are dispatched to the Bat Hovno Blazon Institution. While Corporal Seaton thought the 911 call was possibly exaggerated in “Riot In The Mental Institution” by Ryan Sayles, it is soon very clear the call was no exaggeration. There definitely is a riot. It is going to be a very long call.

Since the arrest, Detective Bill Derbyshire has not been feeling right. There is a reason for that as is slowly revealed in “The Snug” by Keith Wright. His final shift as he takes retirement was the arrest of an armed criminal. It is a good way to finish thirty years on the job.

It is a dark and nearly deserted road in Alabama where she pulls over. An elderly woman, she thinks she saw something out of the corner of her eye as she drove by the scene so she stops. Good thing she did in “The Old Lady” by T. K. Thorne. Good thing also that she lives to talk about what she saw that night.

“The Translator” by James Ellson features a family on the run. They have to move yet again thanks to his job and security concerns. There has been a breech, but nobody yet knows how damaging it is or if there is a real security threat. Time will tell. In the meantime, the translator will do his own investigation when he is not doing his assigned tasks.

Angel Castello is in town to do a job in the Saint Louis Area. Darla has a deal going and needs to make an example of somebody refusing to pay what is owed. Angelo is in the family business, but he does not like it. He also has to make sure to get the job done right in “The Carpenter’s Son” by Mark Atley. Unlike most of the tales in the book, law enforcement does not have much presence in this solid crime fiction tale.

Our narrator has a lot to think about as she waits to give court testimony in “Waiting” by Lisa Cutts. Especially in terms of Clive and their last call on a recent shift.

Editor A. B. Patterson comes next with “Rights and Wrongs” and reflects how law enforcement is changing. Harrington has a new boss who clearly does not think much of him. The new boss has all the touchy-feely tags on his resume that are trendy in policing, but nothing that reflects actual police work. Thanks to a complaint being investigated by internal affairs, the new boss is more than happy to confine Harrington to desk duty. The Azalea Quinn case led to the complaint and is the subject of much of this story.

Frank Zafiro takes a shot at predicting the future of law enforcement in the short story that is the last one in the book. “The Last Cop” is set a couple of decades in the future where officers no longer carry guns, have to get court orders to talk to anyone, and banned words get a person fined. Individual freedom has morphed into a strange new world where cops use “compliance sticks” that give a mild shock and private security has taken over law enforcement functions for those who can afford it. Officer Ramirez is about to be shown the door under mandatory retirement and he just might be the last officer with an actual gun. He will need it, no matter what the boss thinks.

An acknowledgment section and extensive bios of the authors involved in order of appearance bring the book to a close.

While this reviewer had his personal favorites, all of the authors involved weaved solidly good and complex tales. Most included a strong law enforcement presence in the tale. Not all of the cops are good guys and not all of the cops are bad guys. Instead, like real life, there is a lot of grey in To Serve, Protect, and Write: Cops Writing Crime Fiction Volume 1. Compiled, edited, and published by A. B. Patterson, the anthology is well worth your time.


 Amazon Associate Purchase Link:

I picked this up in eBook format back in early February using funds in my Amazon Associate account.


Kevin R. Tipple ©2022, 2024 

No comments: