Multilectual Daily Online Magazine focusing on World Architecture, Travel, Photography, Interior Design, Vintage and Contemporary Fiction, Political cartoons, Craft Beer, All things Espresso, International coffee/ cafe's, occasional centrist politics and San Diego's Historic North Park by award-winning journalist Tom Shess
Monday, September 22, 2014
MEDIA MONDAY / “DEATH RATTLE / WHEN YOUR LAST BREATH COMES AT THE HANDS OF ANOTHER”
FICTION--Flint, Michigan Police Homicide Sergeant Ed Ryback is back on the
job after being fired by Chief of Police Demetrius Blaylock and reinstated by
the Civil Service Commission. Ryback is removed from Homicide and assigned to
the Motor Pool, a newly designated position meant to put Ryback "in his
place." Women start turning up strangled and the prime suspect is Deputy
Police Chief Rick Sorensen. The regular Homicide teams aren't making any
progress so the Chief puts Ryback and his former partner, Sergeant Preston
Love, recently relegated to Patrol, back on Temporary Active Duty in homicide
to solve the murders. More murders take place and the list of suspects grows,
even including the deputy chief's wife. Ryback and Love set a trap for the
unknown killer. The result is a thrilling, action-packed conclusion that will
leave the reader breathless.
By Tom Basinski
One week I was Sergeant Ed
Ryback, hotshot homicide detective in Flint, Michigan; handsome, athletic,
smart, tough, daring, and creative. Even if you leave out the debatable
descriptors, I was still one of the “go-to” cops when somebody went toes up the
That was one week. The next
week I was fired. Gone! Poof! A memory. A few months of hell sped by and I was
once again back on the department payroll, not in Homicide, but in charge of
the Flint Police Motor Pool, a position created expressly for little ol’
steely-eyed, two-fisted, no-nonsense me.
Tom Basinski: cop, author
My motor pool job descended
on me after two separate things happened. First, the jury acquitted me in my
second trial for the federal criminal charges of assault under the color of
authority because I shot a robbery suspect when we arrested him.
The Civil Service Commission
forced the Chief to reinstate me. When they returned my official cop status,
Chief Demetrius Aloysius Blaylock envisioned a first-time need for a police
sergeant to oversee the welfare of the department’s vehicles. Go figure.
The second thing that
happened was the murder investigation. While putting together an appeal after
the conviction for shooting the robber, and awaiting a possible prison
sentence, I was beaten up twice, once by a band of thugs, and then by a guy who
was stalking someone. I spent a night in jail, not something I would recommend.
My longtime girlfriend left me for a smooth-talking
television reporter (who later dumped her, bless him). Also during this time my
friends, except for one, abandoned me, and I happened to kill a guy.
The murder investigation was
different than the usual kinds of killings cops do. You know which kinds I’m
talking about: self-defense, a fleeing dangerous felon, or defense of someone
in danger. No, my killing was of a different kind.
I think they call it a
“cold-blooded execution,” or maybe an “assassination.” In spite of any
self-serving rationalizing excuses I might have, this guy really needed
killing. I never told that to the cops who interviewed me. I told them I didn’t
know anything about the killing. I was arrested, but not booked.
They couldn’t make the
murder charge stick. Even though I planned murder, I wasn’t a particularly good
killer; just lucky. Did I tell you the guy needed killing? The woman he was
stalking relied on the police and the criminal justice system for protection
for two months. During that time the stalker:
1)Sent her unwanted love letters, gifts,
and lingerie. (Her own lingerie after he broke into her apartment.)
2)Called her incessantly at work.
3)Flattened her car tires.
4)Beat and hospitalized her so severely she
was almost unrecognizable.
5) Burned down her newly purchased house.
The Flint police investigated me when my name surfaced
as having been involved with the homicide victim/stalker. They lacked proof and
couldn’t charge me.
Because my informant came
forward and testified at my second trial, the jury acquitted me. The Civil
Service Commission ordered the chief to reinstate me with back pay. The chief
tempered his disappointment of being forced to put me back to work by inventing
that do-nothing job in the Motor Pool.
I was now in charge of
documenting police car gasoline usage and recording vehicle repair requests. I
was now the “go-to” guy if your engine was knocking or your window wouldn’t
roll down, or your brakes squeaked.
ego cried out.
“Death Rattle” is the second
novel by Tom Basinski that is available on Kindle.
Editor’s Note:Tom Basinski dropped out of a
Texas seminary in his 20s and chose to be a policeman in Flint, Michigan.He traded a priest’s collar for making
collars on felons in a city that once was called the murder capital of North
America.That distinction has been
passed on (is that pun?) to Juarez, Mexico.Moving west Tom became a cop with the Chula Vista PD and then an
investigator for the San Diego District Attorney. Over the years, he wrote true
crime stories until all the true crime magazines in America went broke.Undaunted, he turned to writing true crime
books. Two of them were published by Berkley Books. You’ll find No Good Deed and Cross Country Evil on Amazon.com/books.Order one or both and you’ll be in for a
witty, yet tough work of crime journalism.
UPDATE: It is with extreme sadness that I report that my friend, fellow writer, Tom Basinski died from cancer in February, 2015, a disease he battled since 2009.