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From New York to the Smokies Paperback – April 1, 2015
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'A NEW PROSPECT' - 'HEROES & LOVERS' - 'A LABOR DAY MURDER' and a 'MURDER IN KNOXVILLE'
and now, 'FROM NEW YORK TO THE SMOKIES'.
This is a collection of five short stories, In the first, 'THE BOAT TO PRISON', we are introduced to SAM JENKINS, a High School Junior. This is a facinating story and gives the reader a glance at how Sam becomes interested in police work. He is on a fishing boat with his father and two of his father's friends. He overhears one of his father's friends plotting what he is cartain would be a murder. Immediately, he is concerned and wants to prevent his Dad from taking part in the plot. When Investigators visit his home, asking to speak to his Dad, they learn he is divorced from Sam's mother and no longer lives there. Intrigued, Sam talks to the detectives, outside, and tells them of the conversation he overheard. He 'volunteers' to help prevent his Dad from participating in the murder plot. Although he is only 17, the detectives accept his offer. Here we meet his girlfriend Kate, and his best friend Pauly Greco. He devised a scheme to prevent his Dad from taking part in the plot. Author Wayne Zurl carefully crafted the story, provides vivid desctriptions of the characters and perfectly describes 1960's Long Island, New York.
Sam graduates high school and enlists in the United States Army, at the height of the Viet Nam war. Upon returning from his military service, he marries his high school sweetheart, Kate and joins the Suffolk County Police Department. He quickly advances in the ranks to become a Lieutenant in command of the Major Case Squad.
In 'FAVORS', Lieutenant Jenkins is concerned when a vary capable Community Service Aide, Elizabeth Lopez-Cruz, selected for promotion to certified police officer, fails a polygraph test. Lieutenant Jenkins calls in some favors from other police officers, a police psychologist and an Assistant District Attorney. What develops is a crime never reported, yet weighing on Liz's mind for years. The characters are so real; you feel their concern and their pain. The reader is held in suspense until the very last word of this captivating story.
After twenty years on the Suffolk County Police Department, Sam puts in his retirement papers. He and Kate take their precious dog Bitzie and retire to the Smoky Mountains in Eastern Tenneessee. He has dreams of spending his years fishing, hunting and plain relaxing. Soon, he is approached by the Mayor of the small town of Prospect. The police Chief had been fired amid a scandal. Sam is itching to get back to law enforcement and after consuting with Kate, accepts the job. After all, a small town, has to be pretty quiet, low crime, right? Retired Police Lieutenant becomes Chief Sam Jenkins.
In 'ANGEL OF THE LORD' a gay couple, quite successful stock brokers in nearby Knoxville are found murdered in their luxurious home. There is no forensic evidence. The only clues Chief Jankins finds is a series of numbers: '13 13' scratched in the top of an antique table. There is a Audi S7 and a Jaguar in the garage. Chief Jenkins notes an oil spot on the driveway. He doubts the new Audi and Jag are leaking oil. Six days later, another murder. The victim was recently convicted in a massive Ponzi scheme and was free on bond waiting to be sentenced. Again, Chief Jenkins finds a group of numbers scratched on the dead man's expensive desk: '22 22' . . . and an oil slick on the driveway. No forensics. Six days later, a woman is found bludgeoned to death by a lamp on her kitchen floor. Her elderly mother is rescued from the basement, where she apparently had been kept prisoner amid squalid conditions. Again, only a group of numbers: '20 20'. By now the town was buzzing and the Mayor calls Chief Jenkins in for answers; could a serial killer be on the lose in Prospect? What is the Chief and his officers doing to capture the killer? Six days later, a successful real estate agent is found murdered in her home, bludgeoned by a large rock. The numbers '20 10' were carved onto her coffee table. Chief Jenkins is convinced the numbers came from the Bible. He consults his friend, a Catholic Priest and his hunch is confirmed. There IS a serial killer roaming Prospect. The Chief sets out to compile a list of 'unusual suspects'. 'ANGEL OF THE LORD' is a tight, suspense filled story that will keep you truning the pages until the climatic end.
In 'MASSACRE AT BEAR CREEK' Chief Jenkins is called to the scene where six men are found in the woods, shot dead with multiple weapons. Is this the storied 'Hatfield & McCoys' type crime of the hills? Not the ordinary for Prospect. Another murder happens, as the Chief has narrowed in on several suspects. Yes, it appears this is an old fashioned dispute among the hills' folk . . . and over a dispute in the killing of a bear. This is a cold, calculating case that will end in more gunfire and another man dead.
This is not fiction . . . I am convinced it is based on a true story.
The final story, 'ODE TO WILLIE JOE', a highly decorated Viet Nam Veteran who credits Chif Jecnkins with saving his life in Viet Nam, has hit the bottom of far too many wine bottles over far too many yuears. He is arrested for public intoxication, not the first time either. This time, he pleads with the arresting officer to get Chief Jenkins, he has something to tell . . . only to the Chief. The officer calls the Chief at his home, as he and Kate are watching 'Blue Bloods'. The Chief, reluctantly goes to headquarters to hear Willie Joe's story. Willie tells Chief Jenkins he saw 'little glowing green men' in the woods . . . he is positive . . . he REALLY did see them. Chief Jenkins has a brotherly talk with him and dismisses his story. Two days later, an elderly man appears at Police Headquarters and tells the Chief he saw a 'green glowing flying saucer' in the same woods near where Willie Joe saw the 'glowing green men'. The next day, Chief Jenkins sees the elderly man on local TV News telling his story to the world. The Chief had already visited the area and found nothing out of the ordinary. Chief Jenkins dispatches two of his seasoned officers to the area that evening at 10 PM, the same time Willie Joe and the elderly man reported their sightings to see IF they could spot any 'flying saucers' or 'little green glowing men'. At 11:15 PM, Sergeant Rose calls the Chief. There were no signs of flying saucers or 'little green glowing men' . . . but they did find a freshly dug grave. A very well crafted story with a surprise ending.
AUTHOR WAYNE ZURL writes detective novels with authority. I believe his stories are based on HIS life and cases he has worked on and solved over the twenty years of his admirable career in Law Enforcement. His writing style is in-depth character development , very vivid scene settings and weaving just the right twists and turns to keep his readers captivated. Chief Jenkins reminds me of Author Robert B. Parker's 'Chief Jesse Stone'. He also reminds me of 'Francis Reagan, Police Commissioner of NYPD in 'Blue Bloods' for his quiet, thoughtful and analytical demeanor. In my humble opinion, any of Author Wayne Zurl's novels could easily be turned into Blockbuster Feature films or 'Made-for-Television' movies. I must also commend Chief Jenkins wife Kate, for her being such a loving wife. It is not an easy job, being the wife of a police officer.
'FROM NEW YORK TO THE SMOKIES' is well deserving of FIVE STARS.
I highly recommend it, and once you read just one of Award winning Author Wayne Zurl's novels, you will rush to his website, www.waynezurlbooks.com and buy them all.
Michael J. Butler
By Wayne Zurl
Reviewed by Author Roy Murry
I read about sixty books a year and sometimes come back to one of my favorites. Wayne Zurl’s Sam Jenkins, I once called spiffy, is an ex-New York detective, who becomes the Chief of Police in a small town in the Smokies (Mountain range at the Tennessee – North Carolina border, USA.)
In this book, Sam is put in multiple situations where experience police detective work is needed to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion. I won’t go into the individual plots, but will say that Mr. Zurl’s characters are well developed and fun to read about.
You can tell Sam is the outsider and is working at a somewhat disadvantage because of the culture clash. Mountain small town people don’t do things the same way as city people like Sam would do.
However, there are common traits in all of us humans, and Sam understands them in the way he approaches a crime. You’ll love how his humanity gets him to where he wants to go in his crime solving.
Enjoyable fast reads at Amazon