Do you read mysteries? Then you’ll love this mystery series set in the tough streets of New York City. Detective Jack O’Roarke, a big rough Irish cop, and his gentle, lady-like partner, Stella Garcia (make no mistake; she can take down a perp twice her size) enter the mysterious world of stripper clubs, art museums, Broadway theatre, the priesthood, and cooking shows to catch their killer.
The series begins with The Art of Murder and currently ends with the most recent, The Taste of Murder, which takes you behind the scenes of reality cooking shows. Please enjoy the following excerpt.
Patrick Shelley, dressed in his signature pink dress shirt and matching paisley tie, walked up to O’Roarke and dropped a case file box on his desk, barely missing the detective’s nose. Another detective, right behind Pat, set two more boxes on a chair and, snorting in disgust, walked away. Pat scowled down at O’Roarke as he flipped open the lid.
“What’s this?” Homicide Detective O’Roarke asked.
“A cold case of mine.” The cop barked. “Boss said to give it to you.”
“You’re the cold case detective, Pat, not me. Try somebody else,” O’Roarke growled, pushing the box aside.
“Captain O’Doyle said to give it to you and that’s what I’m doin’. I don’t have to like it.” Shelley turned and walked away, muttering under his breath, “Asshole.”
O’Roarke stared after the usually affable cop. What the hell? I don’t do cold cases. That’s Pat’s thing. Especially not this cold, O’Roarke said to himself as he noted the date and name on the outside of the box. 2011. Jeff Kirikos. Why do I know that name?
His partner, Stella Garcia walked up with a steaming mug in her hand, a tea bag string hanging over the side. She looked down at O’Roarke’s desk.
“’Morning. Wha’cha got there?” she asked. She sat at her desk across from her partner and blew on the hot drink.
“Damned if I know. A cold case Pat Shelley dropped off. Said the Captain told him to give it to us.”
“We don’t work cold cases.”
“That’s what I told Pat. And now Shelley’s pissed at having to give it up.”
“Did you ask the CO why it landed on your desk?”
“No. Haven’t had time. Do you know who Jeff Kirikos is? It sounds familiar but I can’t place ‘im.”
“If you would watch the food channel instead of all that soccer you would know. He is….was…a famous chef…owned The Bench restaurant, was a judge on that TV show, On the Line. That is until someone poisoned him while they were filming an episode.”
“Tell me about it. Fortunately it was not a live taping. Near as I can recall they never found out who killed him.”
“Well, shit, I don’t want it…do you?”
“Let’s go ask why it got dumped on us.” Stella said.
They walked across Homicide’s bull pen and knocked on their boss’s closed glass door.
“Come!” a voice bellowed from inside.
O’Roarke opened the door and motioned for Stella to go in ahead of him.
“Morning, Captain,” Stella said.
“I lost a bet with myself, O’Roarke. I thought you’d be in here squawking like a chicken within thirty seconds of Pat’s delivery. What took you so long?”
“Shock, confusion, disbelief, Boss.” Jack grinned. “Stel’ and I? We don’t do cold cases. Pat’s your guy.”
“No, you and Stella are assigned to this one.”
“But, Cap, we don’t do….”
“Yeah, yeah, I heard ya. But this is coming from way up stream. The new Mayor’s brother-in-law happened to be Jeff Kirikos. He specifically requested that you and Garcia re-open the case and look at the murder for a second go-round.”
“Shelley is pretty steamed about it,” Jack told him.
“He’ll get over it.” The captain stared at his two top murder cops. “Anything else?”
Jack and Stella looked at each other and then back at their Captain. “No, sir.” They both spoke.
“Okay, then, get outta here.” The veteran cop told them.
* * * *
The murder cops each took a box and, sitting down, they looked at each other across their joined desks.
“This is a first.” Stella complained. “Somebody else’s case and cold as a witch’s you-know-what.”
She lifted out Pat’s meticulously kept notebook holding most of the facts in the cold case as the detective knew them.
“This is the shits!” Jack grumbled. “Why the hell is Jeff Kirikos so important?” Jack flipped open a notebook binder that he had taken from his box.
Stella looked up from reading the first few pages of the original murder scene report.
“Like I was telling you, he was a world renowned chef. Up until three years ago, give or take, he was a regular judge on a couple of food network shows.
“Never watch.” O’Roarke sneered.
“Ask Summer, I’ll bet you five dollars she watches.”
The two cops looked down and began to read again, oblivious to the noisy squad room buzzing around them. Stella waggled a report in front of her face.
“Connaught and Stevens were the detectives on scene; I don’t know them.”
“They’re okay. They transferred out a while back.”
After a few minutes, Jack slammed his notebook closed. Stella looked up.
“What?” she asked.
“I think this is the wrong way to go about this, reading all the previous investigative reports. Whad’ya say we pretend like there’s been a call about a sudden death determined to be a homicide and we caught the case.”
“Yeah, I see what you’re saying; by looking at it with fresh eyes we might find something that the cold case guys or the detectives who originally caught the case might have missed.”
Jack stood and grabbed his jacket off the back of his chair. His sea-blue eyes twinkled with the thought of a new challenge. Jack was second generation Irish. Six foot-two of brawn with a razor sharp mind. He wore his shiny black hair a little longer than regulation dictated. Homicide and the vice detectives got away with a little rebellious bending of the rules because of their jobs.
Stella stood. “Where are we going first?”
“Let’s go see Ruby.”
They crossed the bull pen and took the stairs at a good clip. A few minutes later they were headed to the New York City Medical Examiner’s office building. After parking in the underground garage, Stella wrinkled her nose as they went through the large swinging doors used to enter the corridors of the morgue itself. After twelve years on the job they were both used to the unique smell of the morgue. Pine sol, air freshener and death. But that didn’t mean they had to like it.
They ignored the examination rooms and walked to the end of one corridor where Ruby Crutchner had her office. Ruby was the chief medical examiner for the borough of Manhattan. Behind the grandmotherly grey hair, glasses, and wrinkled khaki pants and blue shirt; the uniform she preferred, there lurked the bright intelligence of a top flight pathologist and forensic scientist.
Stella tapped on the door and heard Ruby’s soft voice bid them enter. Jack opened the door as Ruby looked up from a report she had been preparing. “Ah, my two favorite murder cops.”
Midwest Book Review of the Angel of Murder: “It takes a tightrope artist of a writer to create chapters that successfully delve into a killer’s thoughts without revealing his identity in the process, but Sugarek achieves this with a dance of introspection …”
COMING SOON! #6 Beneath The Bridge of Murder