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Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Protectors and a HARD CASE Review

Just wanted to add this addendum to my post. My action novel HARD CASE garnered another 5 start review on Amazon
here: Reviews

"The definition of Noir - This is how you do hard boiled. I've read 10,000 books and written 20. This is how you do it. Relentless action. Terse sentences. A protag who is believable if only because he never breaks character. If you enjoy action, and a character who stays true to form, this WILL satisfy."

The new cover for my novel 'THE PROTECTORS' is above. My marketing partner, Publisher/Author RJ Parker, and Graphic Artist/Author William Cook, are helping me launch the next novel. THE PROTECTORS was released this morning. Some of you may remember my story about the Oakland cops, Connor and Ellie. They'll finally be out in full novel form. Here's a small blurb:

Two wise cracking Oakland, California cops run headlong into a career changing crossroads. When Ellie James and her partner, Connor Bradwick, drive into the middle of a monstrous kidnapping ring while on everyday patrol, the kid gloves come off. Bradwick executes three adults holding four kidnapped children. After coldly setting up a scene of self defense for the investigation that follows, Bradwick and his stunned partner embark on a stepped up course of law enforcement. When an Alameda County staff psychologist takes more than a passing interest after Bradwick’s department ordered post shooting examination, the two partners begin a convoluted relationship with Dr. Julie Morrison. When Ellie James wounds a suspect in a sting operation, her interaction with the psychologist reveals a dependent relationship between Ellie and Connor the two officers are forced to confront. Budding romantic entanglements between the three begin to compromise Dr. Morrison’s position.

Here's an excerpt of a domestic violence incident the two partners handle with Dr. Morrison in their squad car for a ride-along:

They rode in silence for a time. As they neared Ransom Avenue, Ellie added a danger they could not rule out.
“Connor thinks one of these days we’ll get to their house and there’ll be a gun battle going on. You can’t trust them not to turn the guns on us so we’re real careful around them. Okay, here we go.”
Ellie turned left on Ransom Avenue, coming to a screeching halt as she passed a telephone pole on the left. The largest woman Julie had ever seen, wearing a huge pink tank top and shorts had a small in comparison man pinned to the pole. Sweat poured down the woman’s pale face. Her lank brown hair lay plastered wetly around her cheeks. The man clung gamely to the woman’s wrists, his knees bent slightly under the pressure. Ransom Avenue was deserted as if the inhabitants were in hiding. Julie cringed back against the seat, all thought of leaving the squad car’s safety fleeing in the face of Fanny Camacho’s rage. Ellie left the driver’s seat with stun gun and mace in hand while Connor jogged around behind the combatants to the right.
“Let him go, Fanny!” Ellie yelled at the woman from three feet away. “I will zap your ass if you don’t let Jorge go right now! I’ll put so much damn juice through your ass you’ll smell like barbeque for a week!”
Fanny’s arms lost some of their rigidity. She glanced at Ellie. Jorge took advantage of the reprieve, twisting down to his right and out of Fanny’s grasp. Connor pulled the gasping man over behind him.
“What’s the problem, Fanny?” Ellie asked, watching Fanny’s heaving form closely as she bent over at the waist, hands on knees, her pendulous breasts nearly tearing free of the tank top.
“I…I put on my new outfit… and…and the bastard told me I looked like… one of the pink elephants in ‘Dumbo’.”
A tortured laugh broke free of Ellie’s clenched lips as she struggled to hold it in. Fanny’s head jerked up. With a low growl she charged Ellie. Ellie let off an arc into the charging woman but had to let go of the trigger or get zapped herself. Fanny bore her down to the yard. Fanny’s body jerked reflexively from the shock while all breath exploded out from Ellie’s mouth in a huge grunting bark. Connor ran over and pulled the massive woman off Ellie - but not before Julie watched in horror as Ellie’s hands and feet twitched helplessly under Fanny, nearly her whole body obscured from sight. Julie got out and ran over to Ellie as Connor released Fanny into Jorge’s arms. Julie grabbed Ellie’s hand in both hers.
“Ellie! Ellie… are you okay?”
Ellie gasped for air in weak ragged breaths, her arms and legs moving spasmodically. Jason Ladd and Luis Arvizo ran up onto the lawn, having just arrived on scene, hands on their weapon grips. Arvizo slipped the cell-phone he had been holding after arriving into his jacket.
“Holy shit, Connor! What happened to Ellie?” Jason asked. “All we saw was Fanny spread-eagled over her. Should I call for an ambulance?”
“No…” Ellie gasped, fumbling around with her left hand for the stun gun she’d dropped.
“Lie still, El,” Connor told his partner. He was reluctant to leave Fanny. The big woman was on her hands and knees, already shaking off the stun gun charge, while Jorge had his hand comfortingly on her back.
“The… hell… I… will,” Ellie snarled, tearing free of Julie’s hands and pin-wheeling toward Fanny. Her left hand shot forward before Connor could react. Ellie triggered an extended crackling burst into Fanny’s exposed arm, dropping the woman to her stomach. The burst launched a startled Jorge into a sprawling heap, his concerned contact with his wife proving inadvertently painful when Ellie zapped her.
Connor caught Ellie’s wrist in time to prevent a third burst.
“Let me go, Connor! I’m going to do her until smoke comes out her damn ears!”
Arvizo cuffed the still twitching Fanny, struggling with every fiber of his being not to start howling in laughter. Jason Ladd turned away, small hissing grunts of restrained amusement escaping every few seconds as he helped Jorge Camacho into a seated position. Connor easily lifted Ellie to her feet. He slapped the dirt off his partner’s uniform with his right hand while warily holding onto Ellie’s stun gun armed left wrist.
“Are…are you okay, Ellie?” Julie asked hesitantly as she helped Connor dust Ellie off. “I thought she killed you for a moment there.”
“I’m okay.” Ellie allowed Connor to take the stun gun. “Another second under Fanny and I would have looked like the coyote after the roadrunner drops a boulder on him.”
“Sorry, El, I didn’t see it coming.”
“Me either! It was the damn pink elephant remark.” Ellie shook her head. “She does look like a damn pink elephant.”
“Don’t arrest her… please,” Jorge called out. “She’ll kill me when she gets out.”
“Fanny’s going into lockup while I make up my mind whether to charge her for assault,” Ellie told him. “Pack your things and get the hell out of there, you moron.”
“I…I can’t. I love her,” Jorge said, looking down at his feet.
“Let’s wrap this up before I throw another shot into both of them,” Ellie said through clenched teeth. “Want us to put Fanny in with you, Jules, so you can ask her a few questions?”
“No!” Julie yelped.
Ellie smiled for the first time. “Good choice.”
“Jas, can you take Fanny in for us?” Connor asked.
“Sure, but you’ll have to help get her into the car.”
“Let’s ease her up into a seated position.” Connor supported Fanny’s shoulders while Ladd and Arvizo rolled her over. Connor propped the woman up until she started to moan. “C’mon, Fanny, wake up. We need to get you onto your feet.”
“Wha…what happened?” Fanny asked groggily, her head swaying.
“You attacked me!” Ellie shouted, heading over with determination. “Get your fat ass up before I get Mr. Sparky out to help!”
“Don’t…” Fanny pleaded, twisting with Connor’s help so she could get on her knees and then to her feet. She looked down at Ellie’s face in fear. “Don’t let her zap me again!”
“You’re riding with Officers Ladd and Arvizo,” Connor told her as he corralled Jorge Camacho with one arm.
“I’m sorry, honey… I didn’t mean to-”
“Oh shut up!” Ellie ordered Jorge. “Not another word out of you! Get the hell in your house!”
The startled Jorge did as he was told. Jason and Luis helped Fanny into the backseat of their squad car.
“Damn Connor,” Ellie complained, tentatively prodding her chest area gingerly, “I think she cracked one of my ribs.”
“We better get you an x-ray, El. Can you guys read Fanny her rights and put her in holding until we get back from the hospital?”
“Sure,” Luis agreed. “Take care, Ellie.”
“I hope it’s not cracked, Ellie,” Jason added with a wave. “Don’t worry. We won’t say a word about what happened.”
“Mum’s the word,” Luis called out, driving away after Jason was inside the car.
“Shit, it’ll be all over the East Bay before we get back from the hospital,” Ellie muttered, glaring at the squad car speeding away.
“I think I’m done on the ride-alongs,” Julie said.
“We’ll help you with your paper, Julie.” Connor helped Ellie into the passenger side seat.
“Yeah, Jules, we’ll give you enough stories to sour you on the sacrament of marriage for the rest of your life,” Ellie added as Julie entered the backseat area.
“Oh wonderful,” Julie replied without enthusiasm.


Charles Gramlich said...

I remember those two characters. good ones. Looking forward to it.

raine said...

Also remember the characters. Never a dull moment, lol.
Congrats on getting all the books out, Bernard!

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Thanks, Charles. I'm hoping for good things with THE PROTECTORS.

Yep, Raine, it's a pretty fast paced thrill ride. I still have three finished novels coming out later: LAYLA, and the first two parts of my YA trilogy - DEMON & DEMON INC. By then, I'll have the third part of the trilogy finished. At least releases keep the excitement factor up. :)

Rick said...

Keep rolling with this, Bernard- you're doing great.

And, I believe I've worked with some of those people. Remind me some time to tell you about the wild woman who fell asleep on top of a stack of 100 pound bags we fork-lifted onto a freight car. She woke up near Cincinnati, I think.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

The writing's going great, Rick. The marketing is as always the cement wall. :)

Those two are based on two neighbors I had next door to me at the shop. Ellie James is based on a real life Oakland police officer who had my area for years in the seventies and early eighties. She didn't take crap from anyone. :)

Vesper said...

Hi Bernard,

I just bought "Hard Case"! The beginning (I think I've read it before on your blog) just won me over - totally noir... excellent!!!

And I remember Ellie and Connor. Great characters!

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Hey, thanks Vesper. It's nice hearing from you. I think you'll like HARD CASE. It's gritty but it has a lot of humor too. :)