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Danny Phillips, an ambitious scoundrel is determined to live the high life, but when his investment company on Wall Street crashes, he is forced to follow in his father’s footsteps as a police officer. The last thing this charming entrepreneur wanted to be was a cop, but when his old friend, Angelo Tedeschi, convinces him the city of Beachside is a ripe plum for guys like them, he reluctantly agrees.

 

Thanks to the crooked Captain Hagen and Danny’s unexpected bravery in the line of duty, he is promoted to the rank of Detective Specialist in charge of the Missing Persons Bureau. His complex relationship with fellow officer Anna Perez and an encounter with Rudy, a badly scarred young boy, slowly begins to soften his amoral behavior. But he hasn’t reached redemption yet. When he ignores a string of missing children, he is suspended from duty. Battling his inner demons, this flawed knight begins a quest to track down the perpetrator.  

 

This intelligent and thought-provoking masterpiece of crime fiction will hold you in its grip until the very end. A series debut novel filled with tension, distinctive wit, unforgettable characters, and an intriguing romance. If you are a police procedural series fan who prefers realism along with hard-hitting action, and savvy dialogue, it’s guaranteed you’ll be wanting more from this father/son writing team.

 

 

 

1

 

DANNY PHILLIPS

 

Canarsie, Brooklyn, that's where it all started; my old man, Samuel Philikowski, came to America at age 28. He was a cop and he walked his beat for 27 years in the 69th Precinct, and every business owner and resident of his 1 square mile zone knew and respected my dad. He loved walking the beat and he refused promotions and more money, to stay on it.

     As a result, money was always tight at home. I loved sports, so he signed me up for Little League Baseball, but in order to save my entry fee he did every odd job, no matter how disgusting, even cleaning the dog shit off the fields. He would stand at the fence always yelling instructions to the managers, coaches, and players in that loud Hebrew-accented voice of his. I was embarrassed, but people were always telling me how lucky I was to have him as a father. I didn't get it.

     It always felt like we were at war. To me it seemed he was giving everything to the neighborhood; but what about us? My mom was the soft touch in the house, always mediating between us. It wasn't that I was the favorite, my sister Rina and I were equally loved, and she just felt my needs were greater.

     Everything I wore was a hand-me-down from our neighbors. My mother somehow cleaned and sewed the clothes so they fit, but I was always out of style. I think that's how my success with the girls started as I learned to be so charming that they saw past the clothes. Being a star athlete didn't hurt either.

     So I learned an important lesson, that in order to have the finer things in life you needed to go get it yourself and never take no for an answer. I would make my own future, but I wouldn’t work for the neighborhood, I was going to make the neighborhood work for me.

 

* * *

 

High school was boring, the work never challenged me. I only stayed in because of the sports I played, and Coach Cam. He was always on my case along with my father. It really sucked having my father on foot patrol every day around the school. He always sniffed out when I was cutting and where I was hiding.

     In high school, I came up with a World Series betting pool to make a few bucks. Typically, Angelo decided not to pay off the big winners and keep the money. They ratted us out and when the Principal had us in his office, Angelo took the full blame. My father knew that he wasn't smart enough to come up with a plan that needed advanced math; Ange was barely getting by with a C- average. He had no proof that I was behind it, but he grounded me anyway.

 

* * *

 

After graduation, all I could afford was a City University, so I went to Baruch College where I majored in Finance. I worked developing schemes for Angelo and Jay to run. Our best one was a stepped up protection racket, no more nickel and dime stuff. Angelo ran it day-to-day as Jay and I went to college.

One thing you could always count on was Angelo resorting to violence when things didn't go as planned. However, it paid for school. After college I got a job at Chase Manhattan first as a bank teller and then as a loan officer. At the same time, I was going to Columbia for my MBA thanks to the scam money and a scholarship.

     Then in my second year, my dad was killed on the job he loved and money really tightened up for a while. I had to help support my mom and sister, so I developed a big bucks stock scam, it was a variation of selling shares in a non-existent Brooklyn Bridge company and it paid off. However, Angelo decided to do it on his own and of course, he screwed it up. His pigeon was the nephew of a guy known as “The Don of Carroll Gardens.” Angelo left town and ended up in some hick town outside Miami called Beachside, where of all things he became a cop.

     I graduated with my MBA and went to work as an Investment Consultant for J.P. Morgan and Company. I learned a lot there and began to develop a real appreciation for the better things in life, especially blondes and fine bourbon.

 

* * *

   

Six years later I became Daniel A. Phillips, Financial Advisor and opened my own office on Broad Street complete with a knockout blonde secretary named Kimber. Her full name was Kimberly, but I shortened it like her skirts.

     All I had to do was have her in the room, legs crossed, taking notes and I could sell men anything including nonexistent investments. But I didn't, I put them in high-yield, but also high-risk investments, mostly dot com startups. When they paid off, they paid off big and when they didn't, well the term 'crash and burn' works real good and they crashed more often than not—the trick was to get out early and take your profit before they went under.

     When it was a woman client, Kimber stayed outside as I worked my charm. With married couples, we worked as a team. Of course, I was banging her, but she was starting to get possessive.

 

4

 

DANNY PHILLIPS

 

I took a long last look around the office before I closed the lights for the last time; there were a lot of memories in those rooms. Outside the snow, pushed by the wind, was coming down heavy and the city looked like something out of a fairy tale.

     There were no cabs and as I walked through the wind driven snow, the adversity of the weather matched the darkness in my life. By the time I got home, I was covered in white, and the warm air started to melt the snow soaking me. I stripped off my soggy clothes as I went through my door. After a hot shower I made coffee and sat in the living room looking out over the city, the city that would no longer be mine.

     The coffee was liberally laced with bourbon, but I couldn't warm up. I was scared. It was as if I was walking naked in the street, people pointing and laughing. Jay may have saved my ass, but for what?

     As I kept refilling my mug, now all bourbon, I kept thinking about the many ways of how to kill Kimber. I was up to five, when I remembered something my father had once said and he may have been right, “The best revenge is to live well.” As a Holocaust survivor he would know about revenge.

     Okay Pop, so I picked up the phone and called Angelo. It rang a bunch of times and as I was about to hang up he answered, “Who the fuck is this?”

     “It's me Ange, Danny.”

     “Sorry Danny-boy, what's up? You okay?” He sounded worried.

     “The final word came down today. They cleaned me out and nailed my balls to the wall. I'm out of business and they're seizing my assets.”

     “Did they give you any jail time?”

     “No, Jay kept me out, no criminal convictions. My record's clean, but I lost everything and I need a job. Jay's letting me use his condo in Fort Lauderdale.”

     “He's a pretty good shyster; I guess we did the right thing keeping him alive when he was a kid. So, Danny-boy, when you coming down here?”

     “It's still snowing here so I won't be able to get a flight for at least a couple of days. Jay said he'll pack my stuff and ship it down with my car.”

     “Pack a bag and hop a train to D.C., then fly down to Fort Lauderdale Airport and I'll pick you up. Just let me know the airline and what time you coming in.”

     “Sounds like a plan. I should be able to get over to Penn Station tomorrow and I'll probably see you in two or three days. I'll call from D.C. Thanks Ange.”

     “Danny-boy, we're so going to clean up down here, shit we'll need our own bank to hold all the dough. Oh man, YES! The boys from Brooklyn are back in business. Talk to you tomorrow.”

     “Tomorrow.”

     Angelo's enthusiasm was catching and I began to feel much better. He would take care of me and we were back in business.

    

 

5

 

ANGELO TEDESCHI

 

Traffic was light on 95 as I headed to Fort Lauderdale Airport to pick Danny up and I was so psyched, we would be working together again. I made all the arrangements to get him started. I pulled into the JetBlue terminal, parked the car and got out. One of the Mickey Mouse cops ran over yelling, “You can't park there. It's a restricted zone.”

     I pulled out the tin and told him, “Restrict this, asshole.” Then I lifted my shirt so he could see my weapon and I snarled at him, “And don't mess with my car, I'm picking up a prisoner.”

     “Sorry sir, I'll watch the car for you.”

     I went in the terminal and saw Danny right away. He looked like shit, all wrinkled and worn out and pale.

     I said, “Danny-boy,” as I gave him a hug.

     “Ange, man am I glad to see you. I got both bags so we can go.” He said.

     I let him go and grabbed the bags. We walked out and I put them in the back of my truck.

     Danny whistled, “Escalade, nice wheels Ange.”

     “Yup, and wait 'til you feel the AC. Where're we headed?”

     Danny took out a slip of paper, “Fort Lauderdale, 340 Sunset Drive, it's off of Las Olas Blvd.”

     “No problem, I'll just put it into the GPS and away we go.”

     As I pulled out, I gave the Mickey Mouse cop the finger, what a schmuck.

     Danny leaned back and said, “I can’t believe at age thirty-five I'm starting all over. What've you got lined up?”

     “It’s not so bad; I got you a job with my old PD.”

     He was not happy. “What the hell, Ange? I don't wanna be a cop; don't you have something else for me?”

     “Listen Danny, you’re my main man, but you need to learn the ropes down here and this’ll set you up. The fix is in.”

     “No Ange, not a cop. I'll do anything else, but not a cop like my old man.”

     He was starting to piss me off, I'm setting him up with a real sweet deal and he's crying? “Listen to me Danny, it's different down here and you need to learn what works and what doesn't. Trust me you're going to love it here, just be patient.”

     Danny shook his head, “If my old man was still around I think he'd have a laughing fit. I always told him I'd never be a dumb cop like him.”

     “No, no, no, Danny-boy you are not going to be just a cop, you’re going to be my golden boy. With your smarts and my connections, this city is going to be a ripe plum for guys like us to pick clean. Anyway, it’s all set, you’re going to breeze through the academy and the captain has guaranteed you a job. You’re going to be working road patrol like I started. How do you like that?”

     “I don't like it.” He hunched his shoulders like he was about to take a beating. “I guess we'll have to see how it plays out.”

     I laughed and said, “Danny it's going to be you and me, just like when we were kids.” That brought a smile and we slapped high fives.

     “And wait 'til you see all the women you're going to get. They look at you in your uniform like you're some sort of fuckin' knight in shining armor.” I put my arm around his shoulder and laughed, “Danny Phillips my reluctant knight.”

     “What’s the captain’s story?” he said.

     “Captain Jimmy Hagen is my boy. It doesn't get much better than this setup. He's a stone cold degenerate gambler with a taste for the finer things in life. All he asks for is loyalty along with a few cash gifts every now and then. With you working with me, he’ll be treating you real good.”

     “And the chief, what's he like?”

     “Chief Joshua Chamberlain, he’s a straight shooter, a by-the-book type of guy, but totally clueless. The schmuck's a political appointee and he trusts the Captain’s judgment and lets him handle all the personnel decisions and the paperwork.”

     Traffic on Las Olas was heavy and I was at a red light. When the light turned green the gavonne in front of me wasn't moving, so I hit the horn but the little bastard wouldn't move. He was making out with his girlfriend.

     I'm hitting the horn, nothing. So I hit the siren and lights and this 'banger leans out of the car window, yells something in Spanish and gives me the finger. I don't let anyone disrespect me so I jumped out of the car and proceeded to pull the skinny bastard out through the window. First I clocked him with a left to the belly and a right to the jaw. After he hit the ground, I started to kick the shit out of him.

     His girlfriend jumped out of the car and put herself between us screaming for me to stop. I was about to put the bitch down with her boyfriend when I heard Danny yell, “That's enough Ange, anymore and you'll kill him.”

     I put my hand under her chin and shoved her down on her boyfriend. I spit on them and got back into my truck. As I pulled around them Danny said, “I see that the years haven't mellowed your temper.”

     All of a sudden, I got the shakes as the adrenaline rush wore off.

     “Thanks Danny, I would have killed the both of them if you hadn't yelled at me. You are gonna be so good for me. After you shower and shave I'm going to show you a little of what my Police Reserve badge can do. We are going to go to Shooters.”

     “Ange, don't you mean Hooters?” Danny said.

     “Nah Danny, Shooters. We are going to eat steak and lobster tails and drink each other under the table. Then we will go to Hooters. We are going to chase babes all night or at least until we catch 'em.”

6

 

DANNY PHILLIPS

 

I liked Beachside, except for the humidity. It was on the ocean about ten miles east of Interstate 95. The main drag through it was Beachside Boulevard, north to Fort Lauderdale and south to Miami Beach. A lot of traffic ran through it moving drugs, illegals, guns, and tourists.

     The main attraction, aside from the waterfront stuff, was this mall filled with all types of up-scale restaurants and some local shops. There was talk that national chains were looking to expand into it; department stores as well as a multiplex movie theater.

     This was a very up-scale city with lots of money and lots of growth. The Police Department was growing as well in order to deal with the growing population and crime rate.

     The academy was good for me; I didn't have time to reflect on how I ended up down here. The classes were relatively easy, but mind numbing. I got out of doing most of the paperwork by buddying up to the instructors; also, Captain Hagen had apparently put the good word in for me.

     The best part was the physical training; it wore me down and built me back up. I could have taken it easy, but it was just what I needed. I gave up smoking and by the time I graduated, I was in the best shape of my life. It felt good running wind sprints on the beach and I got a lot of attention from the ladies.

     Three weeks before graduation, Captain Hagen arranged a two week advanced training session for me. He had me assigned to ride with this Road Training Officer, Anna Perez. She was tall for a Latina, about five-seven or eight with a dark and sultry look kind of like Eva Mendes, friendly, but all business. I don't know what I would have done if she was a blonde. At the same time, even though she was a brunette, there was something very appealing about her.

     I felt like a real schmuck riding with her, as I was supposed to only observe and learn how to handle the radio and computer. When she saw that I had those procedures learned in the first week, she started to teach about proper traffic stop techniques. On the last couple of days, she let me do traffic stops and she critiqued me on the spot. She said I had a good way of handling people, but I was too relaxed. She emphasized to always be alert — never relax.

     Thankfully, the two weeks went fast and I learned a lot from her. I was looking forward to graduation and to getting on the road. I found the work more fascinating than I thought I would when I first came down here.

 

 

WHAT THE READERS ARE SAYING ABOUT THE RELUCTANT KNIGHT

 

WillBeez - Amazon Verified Purchase - 5.0 out of 5 stars: “Excellent Book. I especially liked how it was written based on each characters perspective. Would definitely recommend to everyone. First timers my foot. Neil and David Yuzuk (Authors) did a veterans job.”

 

JC - Amazon Verified Purchase - 5.0 out of 5 stars: “This is a great book! I was hooked right from the start. I cannot wait until their next book comes out. Highly recommended!!!”

 

Robert B Myers - Amazing!! -5.0 out of 5 stars: “Stop reading whatever book you are in the middle of and take a look at this one! I just finished the last page in the book and am completely blown away! A captivating read from start to finish! The Yuzuk writing team just nailed the intensity and realism that many books of this genre completely lack. It's a breath of fresh air to finally pick up a book with such realism. I will be waiting as patiently as I can, for the next book (Beachside PD: Gypsy Hunter) to hit the shelves! Joseph Wambaugh, watch out!!”

 

Z. Gorman (Author) - Amazon Verified Purchase - 5.0 out of 5 stars: “A treat that left me longing for more! I was immediately drawn into the story by the voice of the first narrator, Danny Phillips. It felt real. I was intrigued that Danny did not start out as someone who was bent on solving crimes or to be an avenger.

The characters are natural, authentic and complex. I was constantly amazed how the authors could bring a character, so rich in personality, to life within just a scene and a dialogue. There's only one explanation: They know people.

 The language is strong and adult, but it never got in my way of enjoying the story itself. It subtly added to the story. The story is told through the first person voice of the characters. And they did it exceptionally well—including the times when they told the story in the voice of a female.”

 

David Antrobus (Author) - 4.0 out of 5 stars: “Well, this is a tale that twists and turns and manages to stay a pace or two ahead of the reader. With it being an unfamiliar genre (a strange hybrid of internal police politics and police procedural), I was unsure whether I would want to stay with it to the end, but I am glad I did.

This was a highly enjoyable story, craftily plotted and brimming with interesting and even unusual characters. I would strongly recommend it for readers who enjoy labyrinthine plots and intrigue.”

 

Frank F:  “Once I started to read it, it was hard to put it down as I wanted to see what would happen next. The characters were well developed and quite believable.”

 

Richard L:  “Very enjoyable.”

 

Michael L: "I absolutely loved it!"

 

 Shawna L: “Yayyyyy! I just finished your AWESOME book! What I really enjoyed about the book was the different characters in the book telling their point of view and their story. It was very creative and made me enjoy each characters lives a little more.  I also felt like I was there - I was actually in the gun fight at the construction site, I was back in Canarsie with Danny, Ange and Jay, I felt very close to the families of each victim  . . . the book was very well written and realistic. I can't wait for the GYPSY HUNTER!!”

 

Claire S:  “Excellent book, I loved it”

 

Jaime C: "Great job Neil & Dave, the book was very entertaining!"

 

Yoshi G: “It was a great read. You get people. Both Anna and Danny are very real. Of the self-published books I've read (and I have read a dozen at least), this is the only one that shows mastery of all three important elements: character building, story-telling and language. The only complaint I have about the book is that it ended.”