Since I mainly write crime fiction – and this is primarily a romance novel blog – I’m honored that you’ve allowed me to be featured here. I currently have three novels on the market right now. All of them are set among the vicious gang world of 1930s New York City. My first novel – PROHIBITION – is published by Airship 27 and is set in 1930 New York. It is about a heavyweight boxer-turned-enforcer, Terry Quinn, who must use his brains instead of his brawn to find out who is trying to undermine his boss’s criminal empire. FIGHT CARD: AGAINST THE ROPES is published by Fight Card Books and is a prequel to PROHIBITION which involves how Quinn went from heavyweight contender to mob enforcer. My latest novel is SLOW BURN, published by Noir Nation Books, and is set in 1932 New York and is about a minor character from PROHIBITION – Charlie Doherty; a corrupt Tammany Hall cop who finds himself in the middle of a murder/kidnapping case involving one of the richest families in New York City.
All of these works have been published by three different publishers over the last six months. One of most surprising aspects of all of this has been how much my work appeals to women! They love the gritty violence and honest masculinity of my characters. It wasn’t the audience I intended, but it’s the audience I love to have.
My short stories have also been featured in anthologies like Thuglit, Action: Pulse Pounding Tales (Volume 1 and Volume 2), Shotgun Honey, Out of the Gutter Magazine and Big Pulp Press. I’m also working on a western, a modern day spy thriller and a space adventure. Of course, I love the 1930s and hope my characters will be popular enough to warrant more stories and novels set in that time period.
Below is an excerpt from my latest book SLOW BURN. All of my books are available from my Amazon page here: http://www.amazon.com/Terrence-McCauley/e/B00AO7AN0G/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_3?qid=1371222959&sr=8-3
I am also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TerrencePMcCauley
And on Twitter: @tmccauley_nyc
Here is an excerpt from SLOW BURN:
N E W Y O R K C I T Y
4:00 AM – Late August, 1932
WEST END BLUES
I hated it when they were that young.
The girl was too young to be that dead, but she was dead all the same. On a hot,
humid August night on the floor of a fleabag hotel on Twenty-eighth Street and Ninth
Avenue called The Chauncey Arms. Room 909.
The girl was naked. Legs together. Arms at her sides. Throat cut. Blood had
pooled on the floor around her head in a neat circle, like some kind of goddamned halo.
Her dead eyes were half-closed, staring out at nothing. The cracked plaster ceiling was probably the last thing the poor kid had seen before she bled out.
She looked about twenty or so, but all the war paint she was wearing made it
tough to be sure. Besides, figuring those kinds of details was the coroner’s job, not mine.
Chief Carmichael’s office had been clear about what my new duties were when
they’d stuck me here.
Work the graveyard shift.
Tag ‘em and bag ‘em.
Start the file.
Let the daytime boys worry about solving murders.
They said: You’re not a Vice cop anymore. You’re lucky you’re still a cop at all.
They said: Now you’re a glorified note-taker with a badge, courtesy of Chief
Andrew Carmichael and Roosevelt’s new Good Government crusade against cops they deemed crooked.
Those rotten, phony bastards called me crooked, even though they were every bit as corrupt as I had been. They…
No. I stopped before I started having the same old argument I always had. All the old resentments started rising in me again, and I knew that would get me nowhere fast.
Instead, I took another look at that poor dead girl on the floor, and suddenly my
own troubles didn’t matter so much.
Because she had been alive not too long ago, with a life of her own and troubles
of her own. Troubles that had brought her to The Chauncey Arms.
Troubles that had gotten her killed.
I found myself wanting to figure out what her troubles had been. I heard myself
vowing to find out who had killed her and why.
Maybe it was because her dark hair and fair skin reminded me of the woman
who’d just walked out on me. Legally, she was my wife, but I’d stopped thinking of
Theresa as my wife long ago. Once the graft I’d made from my Tammany connections
ran out, so did Theresa. I’d known the kind of woman she was when I’d married her, so I wasn’t surprised when she left. But she took the girls with her. That’s the part that stung the most.
The sight of this dead girl reminded me that it didn’t matter when I got home,
because no one would be waiting for me when I got there. It also reminded me about why I’d become a cop in the first place.
Because every cop instinct I had told me one thing:
This girl did not belong in a place like this. Not alive, and certainly not dead.
Something just didn’t feel right.
I got angry when Frank English started making with the crime scene pictures. The poor bastard was doing his job, just like me, but the stark light of the flash always made a death scene colder. And standing over a corpse made the badge feel a bit heavier in my pocket.
It felt heavy enough already.
I realized I’d been too busy getting a handle on the crime scene to question the
only witness I had: the night manager of the hotel. But with English taking his pictures,
now was as good a time as any.
* * * * *
The air in the hallway was somehow thicker and even more humid than in Room
909. A few weak yellow bulbs gave off just enough light to show the rat turds that lined
the hallway. Lucky me. I always worked the swankiest places.
From all the years I’d spent in Vice, I knew that in general the night managers of dives like this were a special breed of low-life. The night manager of The Chauncey Arms
lived up to my expectations.
He was the small, swarthy type, with sweat-stained clothes and yellowed, pockmarked skin. Perched all by himself on the stairs, he looked out at me from
beneath heavy-lidded eyes. A crooked, hand-rolled cigarette dangled from the corner of
He took a deep drag on his cigarette as I walked over to him, letting a long
plume of smoke escape from his nose. I was just one more pain in the ass he’d have to
deal with on a hot August night.
The feeling was mutual.
“I’m Detective Charlie Doherty,” I told him as I pulled out my notebook and
started with the basics. “Name?”
“Miller.” He slapped at a fly that had buzzed past his eyes, but missed. “Augie
I wrote it down. “See anyone around here today who might’ve done this, Mr.
Miller? Anyone suspicious?”
“You kiddin’ me? Take a look around, mister. Most of the people who come in
and out of this dump look like they just got outta prison. Hell, I’d bet most of ‘em have.”
He had a point. Just about the only thing the Chauncey Arms had going for it was its location. Twenty-eighth Street and Ninth Avenue was just far enough off the beaten path to draw a middle-class clientele looking to do low-class things: hookers and their johns; junkies getting their fix; married guys and their boyfriends; drunks and their bottles. You get the idea.
“Who’s the room registered to?”
“I figured you boys’d be askin’ that.” Miller fished out a soggy scrap of paper
from his shirt pocket and held it out to me. “I wrote it down for you. You can check the
book personally if you don’t believe me.” He squeezed out something closer to a wince
than a smile. “I’m here to help, mister. I kinda like cops.”
“Yeah, I can tell.” I took the damp paper from him with two fingers and read the
name for myself. Miller’s chicken scrawl was tough to read, but I made out the name:
Silas Van Dorn.
Fancy name for a dump like The Chauncey Arms. Familiar, too. So familiar that I couldn’t quite place it, but I knew I’d heard it somewhere recently. I wrote Van Dorn’s name in my notebook. “I was expecting something more original, like John Smith.”
“Got plenty of John Smiths in the register, too,” Miller said. “But I’ll bet most of
’em cleared outta here when they heard someone went and got themselves killed. The
ones sober enough to get dressed, anyway.”
I’d seen some of patrons scurrying off into the night when
my partner and I had pulled up about twenty minutes before. Men pulling up their pants,
tucking in shirttails. Women fixing their skirts as they ran down the street. Every last one of them in a big hurry to run back to their lives as respectable people. Putting as much distance between them and The Chauncey Arms as possible.
“My partner, Detective Loomis, and a couple of uniforms are already knocking on doors, canvassing the place for witnesses.” I knew they wouldn’t turn up much, but it still had to be done. “You got a pass key they could use in case they need to get into one of the rooms?”
Miller shrugged. “Sure, but anyone still here is probably too drunk or too high to
have heard much. But I’ll be glad to lend you my master key to let you in wherever you
want to go. Like I said, I’m here to help. Could be helpful in a lot of ways.”
“No kidding?” I saw no harm in playing along. “Like how?”
Miller looked up and down the hall first before beckoning me closer. “Got me a
couple of ideas on who killed that Lindbergh kid over in Jersey, see? You hear lots of
things workin’ in a place like this, and I’ve heard some choice stuff that’ll curl your hair
for you. I’d be willing to share what I know. For a piece of the reward money, of course.”
Just what I needed. Another crackpot. “Of course, but unfortunately, that’s not my case. Tell me about the guy who rented Room 909. This Silas Van Dorn. What’d he look like?”
With his dreams of the Lindbergh reward fading, Miller went back to deadpanning it. “I wouldn’t know. Register said he rented the room yesterday mornin’ after my shift ended.”
“What hours do you work?”
“Seven in the afternoon to seven in the morning, Register says he checked in yesterday morning after nine and paid through midnight. Cash money, too. I was too busy at the desk to check on the room ‘til ‘bout an hour ago. But when I came up to check it, that’s when I found… well, you know what I found. This Van Dorn fella coulda walked past me a dozen times, but I wouldn’t know who he was.”
I saw an idea dawn on Augie Miller. “Say, you boys are gonna clean up
that room when you’re done, aren’t ya? I mean, you ain’t gonna up and leave all that
mess behind. Someone’s gonna hafta clean it, and it sure as hell ain’t gonna be me.”
I found Miller’s compassion overwhelming. I waved over one of the uniforms
posted in the hall and said, “Take Mr. Miller here down to the front desk. Help him find
the name Silas Van Dorn in the register, then get in touch with the day manager. Ask him what this Van Dorn guy looked like. I’ll be down in a couple of minutes.”
Miller loped down the stairs as the policeman followed close behind him. Augie
Miller: Citizen of the Year.
That was the first time I’d ever laid eyes on Augie Miller, and that’s what bothered me. Back when I’d worked Vice, I knew everyone who worked every dive, speakeasy, flop house, whorehouse and gambling den in the city. I would’ve known Augie—and he would’ve been more helpful than this.
I felt those old resentments rising again, but cut them off even quicker this time.
What was done was done, and there was no going back.
Besides, I had a job to do: I had a file to build for the daytime shift. Might as well get started building it.
Thanks for stopping by Terrence!!! I can’t wait to read your books!!