Guest Post: Frankie Y Bailey – A DEAD MAN’S HONOR



Hello, book people. I’m excited to introduce you to today’s special guest, a criminal justice professor and the author of the Hannah McCabe and Lizzie Stuart mystery series, including A Dead Man’s Honor, Frankie Y. Bailey. Ms. Bailey will be introducing us to Lizzie Stuart and discussing the idea of the past intruding on our present. Thank you, Ms. Bailey, for taking time of your busy school and writing schedule to visit with us today.





Out of the Past
By Frankie Y. Bailey


I love film noir. Out of the Past, starring Robert Mitchum, is one of my favorite noir films. I watch it every time it comes up in the TCM cycle. The movie is about a former private investigator who got into trouble and has settled in a small town and opened a gas station under an assumed identity. But he has not escaped his past. He is summoned to a meeting with the crooked businessman who once hired him to locate a woman and his stolen money. The woman, with whom the PI had a dangerous affair, is back with his former client. Mitchum may hope to do what the businessman has demanded and go back to his new life, but Jane Greer, the femme fatale, has other ideas.  As you might expect of film noir, even the love of a good (small town) woman can’t save Mitchum. 

I don’t write noir fiction. My character, Lizzie Stuart, is a crime historian and the five books in which she has appeared so far are both academic mysteries and traditional classic detective fiction. But, like Robert Mitchum’s character, Lizzie has not been able to escape her past. The fact that she is not sure of who her father was – or is, he might still be alive – means that she must decide later in the series whether she will look for him. There’s also the matter of Becca, her missing mother – who puts in her appearance in Book 4 and can hold her own with any noir femme fatale. 

As the series are being reissued, I’m looking back at how it evolved. Book 2, A Dead Man’s Honor, was initially going to be the readers’ introduction to Lizzie Stuart. Instead, it followed a book set in Cornwall, during which Lizzie’s best friend, Tess Alvarez, a travel writer, and John Quinn, a Philadelphia homicide detective were introduced. Lizzie’s vacation in Cornwall, England, followed the death of the grandmother who raised her. It’s Lizzie’s dead grandmother, Hester Rose, who is front and center in A Dead Man’s Honor.

Hester Rose was close-mouthed about a lot of things – including her childhood in Gallagher, Virginia before she climbed into a boxcar and left the town under cover of darkness. In A Dead Man’s Honor, Lizzie has applied for and received an appointment as a visiting professor at Piedmont State University in Gallagher. She has joined the faculty in the School of Criminal Justice. As is the custom for visiting faculty, she has teaching responsibilities. She also has the research agenda that she described in her application. She wants to investigate a lynching in Gallagher. As a young girl, Hester Rose was witness to a lynching involving a black man accused of murder. She was there in the house with the accused man and the young deaf woman who loved him. As the police and angry white citizens gathered outside the house, Hester Rose was put out of a window. 

It is usually Lizzie’s voice that we hear in the series. She is the first-person narrator. But she sometimes flashes back to a conversation with one of her grandparents. Only a fleeting thought here and there. A Dead Man’s Honor, the only way to describe the lynching was from Hester Rose’s point of view. From the point of view of a frightened child as she hides in the bushes, watching. As Mose Davenport runs out of the house and is shot by someone in the crowd. As, later, she climbs into the boxcar and leaves Gallagher.  

Hester Rose tries to flee her past. Lizzie goes back to Gallagher to dig it up because she wants to know more about her grandmother and herself. 





Meet the author

Frankie Y. Bailey is a professor in the School of Criminal Justice at the University at Albany (SUNY). Her areas of research are crime history, and crime and mass media/popular culture and material culture. She is the author of a number of non-fiction books, including local histories and books about crime fiction. Her mystery novels feature Southern-born crime historian, Lizzie Stuart, in five books, beginning with Death’s Favorite Child and A Dead Man’s Honor. The books are being reissued by Speaking Volumes. Frankie’s two near-future police procedurals feature Albany police detective, Hannah McCabe in The Red Queen Dies and What the Fly Saw (Minotaur Books). Frankie has also has written several short stories, including “In Her Fashion” (EQMM, July 2014), “The Singapore Sling Affair” (EQMM, Nov/Dec 2017), and “The Birth of the Bronze Buckaroo” (The Adventures of the Bronze Buckaroo, 2018). She is currently working on a nonfiction book about dress and appearance in American crime and justice, a historical thriller set in 1939, and the plots of the next Stuart and McCabe books. Frankie is a past executive vice president of Mystery Writers of America and a past president of Sisters in Crime. 


Connect with the author at her website or Twitter




A Dead Man’s Honor A Lizzie Stuart Mystery #2 by Frankie Y. Bailey
ISBN: 9781628158731 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781628158724 (ebook)
ASIN: B07FTYK444 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: June 5, 2018 (originally published on January 1, 2001)
Publisher: Speaking Volumes, LLC.

Crime historian Lizzie Stuart goes to Gallagher, Virginia for a year as a visiting professor at Piedmont State University. She is there to do research for a book about the 1921 lynching that her grandmother Hester Rose witnessed when she was a 12-year-old child.

Lizzie’s research is complicated by her own unresolved feelings about her secretive grandmother and by the disturbing presence of John Quinn, the police officer she met while on vacation in England. Add to that the murder of an arrogant and brilliant faculty member on Halloween night and Lizzie has about all she can handle.





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Book Showcase: WHAT THE FLY SAW by Frankie Bailey


What the Fly Saw


by Frankie Bailey


on Tour Feb 1 – March 28, 2015





 



Book Details:



Genre:  Mystery (near-future police procedural)


Published by:   Minotaur Books


Publication Date:   March 3, 2015


Number of Pages:   336


ISBN:   10:1250048303 | 13:978-1250048301


Series: Detective Hannah McCabe #2


Purchase Links:    



Synopsis:

Albany, New York, January 2020 (parallel universe)

A blizzard sweeps up the coast and shuts down the city. When it is over, funeral director Kevin Novak is found dead in the basement of his funeral home. The arrow sticking out of his chest came from his own hunting bow. A loving husband and father and an active member of a local megachurch, Novak had no known enemies. His family and friends say he had been depressed because his best friend died suddenly of a heart attack and Novak blamed himself. But what does his guilt have to do with his death? Maybe nothing, maybe a lot. Three people — the minister of the megachurch, the psychiatrist who provides counseling to church members, and a medium visiting from the South – say they reached out to Kevin Novak. One of them might know why Novak was murdered. But Detective Hannah McCabe and her partner, Mike Baxter, must sort through lies and evasions as they try to find the killer. The relationship between the partners is threatened as McCabe deals with a political controversy involving her family, unanswered questions about their last high-profile case, and her own guilt because a young woman died after McCabe failed to act.



Read an excerpt:


Chapter 1



Saturday, January 18, 2020
5:47 AM


After the storm had passed, in the chilly hour before dawn, the last of the “space zombies” found their way back to their nest in the derelict house.

From his command post, the squad leader gave the signal. “Go!”

A black van pulled up in front of the house. Albany PD vice cops wearing protective gear jumped out and stormed up the walk. They used a battering ram to smash open the wooden door.

“Police! Albany PD!”

“Police!”

Their high-powered torches illuminated the grotesque horror movie creatures in the 3-D posters on the walls.

One of the cops ripped down a dangling black plastic replica of the 2012 UFO. He tossed the boomerang-shaped object to the floor.

Hippiefreaks, he thought. Ought to make them all go live out in the Mojave Desert and wait for the mother ship to arrive.

He kicked at the nearest mattress on the floor. “Police!” he shouted down at the long-haired occupant. “On your feet!”

Blank eyes in an eerie white-painted face stared up at him.

“Hands up! Hands up!” the cop yelled as the kid stumbled to his feet. He shoved him against the wall and patted him down.

Upstairs, in a bathroom, another cop had found a girl sprawled out, unconscious, on the dirty tile floor beside the toilet. She had vomited in the toilet bowl. Her jeans were stained with urine and feces.

Reaching down, he shook her, and then rolled her onto her side to see her face beneath the mop of dark hair. A nasty bruise on her cheekbone stood out against the streaked white paint. He moved her red scarf aside to feel for a pulse in her throat. The scarf was damp, like her tee shirt and soiled blue jeans.

“Whaddya have?” another cop asked from the doorway.

“Looks like an OD,” the cop inside the bathroom said. “Still breathing, but the wagon had better get here fast.”

“Got it,” the other cop said, touching thecomm button on his helmet.

The cop in the bathroom spotted a smear of blood on the corner of the sink. That explained the bruise. She’d banged her face on the sink when she passed out.

Downstairs in the kitchen, cops surveyed the debris of dirty dishes and rotting garbage – and an impressive array of drugs and paraphernalia.
One of them lowered her weapon and observed, “With a stash like this, they could have stayed zonked out until the next UFO came to visit.”

Chapter 2



Saturday afternoon
3:17 PM


Funeral director Kevin Novak stared at the Cupid and Psyche bronze clock on his host, Olive Cooper’s mantel. He had allowed himself to become marooned on a conversational island with Paige, Olive’s great niece.

As Paige complained about the conversation and laughter filling the long room — the “rabble babble,” as sheput it — Kevin found a name for what he had been feeling for the past forty-eight plus hours. Grief.

He was experiencing first-hand what he had often observed when relatives came into the funeral home after the unexpected death of a loved one. That first stage of grieving the experts described as denial, but he often thought of as amazement and disbelief. The stage of bereavement when family members spoke of their dead loved one in the present tense because they couldn’t yet believe their lives had been ripped apart.

It seemed in this state of mind, one went through the usual motions, saying what was expected. But the shell was thin. His was developing cracks. He could tell because he felt no inclination at all to warn Paige Cooper that he had glanced over her shoulder and seen her Great Aunt Olive headed their way and Paige had better shut up. So he must be moving into the next stage: anger.

“Where in the galaxy did Aunt Olive find these people?” Paige said. “Look at them.”

“Some of them are from the church’s community outreach,” Kevin said.

True, Olive’s guest list for this celebration of her life reflected her eccentricities. An odd assortment of guests: old friends, relatives, church members and business associates, and other people who tickled Olive’s fancy or touched her big heart. But they had all cleaned up and put on their best in Olive’s honor.

“It’s freezing in here,” Paige said. She pulled the belt of her hand-knit cardigan tighter and held her hands out toward the fireplace.

“Feels fine to me,” Kevin said.

“It really is annoying we have to come out for this farce when there’s a blizzard on the way. The least Aunt Olive could do is heat this mausoleum. Everyone here except her will come down with pneumonia, and we’ll still have to do this all over again when she finally does kick off.”

“When I finally do ‘kick off’, Paige,” her great aunt said, right behind her. “You may feel free not to attend my funeral. In fact, if you die first – maybe of the pneumonia you expect to catch – you’ll spare us both that annoyance. And for your information, it was your father who insisted on including you in this shindig.”

Paige flushed an unbecoming shade of scarlet. “Aunt Olive, I didn’t mean –”

“I know what you meant. Get yourself a glass of champagne, now you’re actually old enough to drink, and make the best of the situation.”
Olive’s sharp gaze fastened on Kevin. “And since you already know you’re going to get to bury me when I’m dead, you can relax and enjoy the party.”

“I always enjoy your parties, Olive,” Kevin said.

“Come with me,” she said. “There’s someone I want you to meet.”

Aware of Paige’s suspicious glare, Kevin smiled in her direction. That would teach the little brat to say funeral directors reminded her of vultures without first checking for one of the species within hearing distance.

Vultures sometimes exacted their petty revenge.

“At your service, Olive,” he said, offering his arm to the woman, who was eighty-five years old and counting and might well live to be a hundred.

“How have you been?” she asked him.

“Fine,” Kevin said. “Never better.”

“Don’t give me that. Anyone who knows you can tell you’re still taking Bob’s death hard.”

“Having your best friend collapse with a heart attack while you’re beating him at tennis and then die on the operating table can have that effect.”

“It’s been over four months since it happened. You should be coping with it by now.”

“I am coping with it.”

“You’re still off-kilter. Not your usual self. That’s why I want you to meet Luanne Woodward.”

“Luanne? That medium or spiritualist or whatever she calls herself that you found somewhere?”

“I didn’t find her ‘somewhere’. She was the featured lecturer at a fundraiser.”

“Lecturer? Don’t you mean ‘performer’?”

“She talked about being a medium and answered questions. She’s an interesting woman. I think you could benefit from talking to her.”

“I don’t believe in that hocus-pocus, Olive.”

“I don’t believe in most of it, either. I’m almost ancient enough to remember the Fox Sisters and their flimflam. But, as I said, Luanne’s interesting. I invited her today so you could meet her.”

Kevin noticed one of Olive’s guests filling his plate high with the urgency of a man who expected the bounty in front of him to disappear.
“And do what?” he said in belated response to Olive. “Sign up for her next séance?”

“That might not be a bad idea. Spiritual therapy, so to speak.”

“I get my spiritual therapy at church on Sunday from our minister. You might consider doing the same.”

“At my age, I take what I need from wherever I happen to find it. And the fact you’re going all righteous on me instead of laughing about my eccentricities, as you like to call them, proves you’re off-kilter. We need to get you putto right.”

“Olive, I don’t think a medium and a séance will do the trick.”

“You need an opportunity to confront your feelings.”

“I have confronted my feelings. I confronted them after Bob died. I sought counseling from both Reverend Wyatt and Jonathan Burdett.”

Olive stopped walking and glared at him. “Now, if you want to talk about hocus-pocus, psychiatrists are right up there. You lie on their couch spilling your guts. And they mumble an occasional Freudian pearl of wisdom while they’re thinking about how they intend to spend what they’re charging you.”

“Burdett offers the option of sitting in a comfortable armchair, and, as you well know, his services are free to church members.”

“The church pays his salary, so he’s not free. He’s full of his diplomas and his jargon, that’s what he is.”

“And what about your medium? Is she one-hundred percent jargon free?”

“Not a chance. They all have their language intended to impress, but she’s a hell of a lot more fun then Burdett. So come along and meet her.”

“I suppose it would be a waste of time to say no?”

“Yes, it would. You said you were at my service.”

“Yes, I did say that.”

Not much sleep last night or the night before. His moment of irritation with Paige had given way to weariness. No doubt he would feel the anger later. No chance he’d be able to skip over that stage. Not with the piper to pay.

“Luanne,” Olive said to the plump, blonde woman sipping from a champagne glass as she observed the people around her. “I’d like you to meet Kevin Novak, the friend of mine I was telling you about.”

“I’m so happy to meet you, Mr. Novak,” she said in a Southern drawl that suited her pleasant, round face. Her blue gaze met and held his.

If he believed in such things, Kevin would have sworn she’d looked past his tailored suit and crisp white shirt, straight into his tarnished soul.

He took a step back, and reached out to steady Olive, whose hand rested on his arm.

“Sorry,Olive” he said. “I just remembered something I need to do.”

Luanne Woodward said, “It’s all right, Kevin, honey. You don’t have to run away from me.”

But he did, Kevin thought. He had to run as fast as he could.



Author Bio:

Frankie Y. Bailey is a mystery writer and a professor in the School of Criminal Justice, University at Albany (SUNY). Her academic research focuses on crime history, popular culture/mass media, and material culture. She has done research and writtenabout topics ranging from local history and women who kill to African American characters in crime and detective fiction. She is currently at work on a book about dress, appearance, and criminal justice. She is the author of two mystery series, featuring crime historian Lizzie Stuart, and Albany police detective Hannah McCabe. Frankie is a past executive vice president of Mystery Writers of America and a past president of Sisters in Crime. A dog lover, she now shares her home with a Maine Coon cat/mix named Harry.


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Showcase Post: THE RED QUEEN DIES by Frankie Bailey




The Red Queen Dies


by Frankie Bailey


on Tour August 1 – September 30, 2013

 


Book Details:
Genre:  Mystery & Detective
Published by: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: Sept 10, 2013
Number of Pages: 304
ISBN: 978-0-312-64175-7 / 978-1-250-03717-6
Purchase Links:    


Synopsis:

The first in a new high-concept police procedural series, set in Albany with an Alice in Wonderland theme.
Frankie Bailey introduces readers to a fabulous new protagonist and an Alice in Wonderland-infused crime in this stunning mystery. The year is 2019, and a drug used to treat soldiers for post-traumatic stress disorder, nicknamed “Lullaby,” has hit the streets. Swallowing a little pill erases traumatic memories, but what happens to a criminal trial when the star witness takes a pill and can’t remember the crime? Biracial detective Hannah McCabe faces similar perplexing problems as she attempts to solve the murders of three women, one of whom, a Broadway actress known as “The Red Queen,” has a special interest in the story of Alice in Wonderland. Is the killer somehow reenacting the children’s tale? This smart, tough mystery will appeal to fans of high-concept police procedurals.


Read an excerpt:
[CAUTION:  Strong Language]
Excerpt:

DATE: Thursday, 24 October 2019
TIME: 0700 hours
WEATHER TODAY: Mid 90s. Air quality poor. Evening storms.
DISPLAY ON WALL: Wake-up News

“Good morning, everyone. I’m Suzanne Price.
 “First, the news from the nation. The federal government says, ‘No hoax, no conspiracy, but still no definitive answers.’
 “The administration denies suppressing portions of the commission report on the November 2012 close encounter between NORAD fighter jets and the black boomerang-shaped UFO that appeared over the Mojave Desert, creating worldwide awe and panic before disappearing in a blinding flash of light.
 “In Las Vegas, preparations are underway for the now-annual spectacular celebration of that close encounter.
 “However, a warning from alien invasion survivalists, who say this seventh anniversary will be the year the spacecraft returns leading an armada. Survivalists plan to retreat to their bunkers on November 2. Gun shop owners report sales of firearms are up, as they are every year as the anniversary approaches.
 “Meanwhile, the National Weather Service says another eruption of solar flares could cause more communication and power disruptions early next week.
 “Forest fires in both Canada and breakaway nation New France continue to burn out of control, sending smoke southward.
 “Scientists taking part in a climate change conference in Philadelphia disagree about the explanation for the significant improvement in the acidity levels of the world’s oceans. ‘It shouldn’t be happening,’ an MIT oceanographer said. ‘Nothing in anyone’s data predicted this turnaround. But I think we can safely rule out divine intervention and UFO babies.’
 “Out on the presidential campaign trail, a political firestorm erupts as Republican front-runner Janet Cortez accuses independent candidate Howard Miller of ‘rallying angry, frightened people to commit hate crimes.’ During an arena speech yesterday, Miller called on several thousand supporters to ‘reclaim America for Americans’ and ‘restore our way of life.’ Cortez says Miller is ‘morally responsible’ for the attacks that have been escalating since he announced his third- party candidacy.
“Now, here at home . . . a chilling scenario posed by a local crime beat threader. Is there an ‘Albany Ripper’ in our midst?”
“Dammit!” Hannah McCabe jumped back as the grapefruit juice from her overturned glass splashed across the countertop, covering the still- visible display of the nutrition content of her father’s breakfast.
“Bring up the sound,” he said. “I want to hear this.”
“Half a second, Pop. Hands full.” McCabe shoved her holster out of the way and touched clean up before the stream of juice could run off the counter and onto the tile floor.
“. . . Following last night’s Common Council meeting, threader Clarence Redfield interrupted a statement by Detective Wayne Jacoby, the Albany Police Department spokesperson . . .”

In the Chief of Police’s office, Jacoby struggled to keep his expression neutral as the footage of the press conference and his exchange with Redfield began to roll.
“The Albany Police Department remains hopeful that the Common Council will approve both funding requests. The first to expand GRTYL, our Gang Reduction Through Youth Leadership program, and the second to enhance the surveillance—”
“Detective Jacoby, isn’t it true that the Albany PD is engaged in a cover-up? Isn’t it true that the Albany PD has failed to inform the citizens of this city of what they have a right to know?”
“I know you want to offer your usual observations, Mr. Redfield. But if you will hold your questions until I finish—”
“Isn’t it true that we have a serial killer at work here in Albany, Detective? Isn’t it true that a secret police task force has been created to try to track down a killer who has been preying on women here in this city?”
“That is . . . no, that is not true, Mr. Redfield. There is no secret task force, nor is there any cover-up. We . . . the Albany PD does not engage in . . .”
From his position by the window, Chief Egan said, “Stammering like a frigging schoolgirl makes it hard to believe you’re telling the truth, Wayne.”
“The little bastard caught me off guard,” Jacoby said, his annoyance getting the better of him.
The others at the table avoided his glance, their gazes focused on the wall where his confrontation with Redfield was continuing.
“So, Detective, you’re telling us that there aren’t two dead women who—”
“I’m telling you, Mr. Redfield, that we have ongoing investigations into two cases involving female victims who—”
“Who were the victims of a serial killer?”
“We have two female homicide victims. Both deaths were drug-induced and both occurred within the past six weeks. On each occasion, we made available to the media, including yourself, information about—”
“But you didn’t release the details that link the two cases. You didn’t tell the media or the citizens of this city that both women were—”
“We do not release the details of ongoing homicide investigations, Mr. Redfield. And you are not aiding these investigations with your grandstanding.”
“My grandstanding? Don’t you think it’s time someone told the women of Albany that the police can’t protect them? That they should stay off the streets after dark, get inside when the fog rolls in, and lock their doors? Shouldn’t someone tell the taxpaying citizens of this city that in spite of all the hype about your Big Brother surveillance system, a killer is still moving like a phantom through the—”
“What the citizens of Albany should know is that the Albany PD is bringing all its resources and those of other law-enforcement agencies to bear to solve these two cases. Veteran detectives are following every lead. And the citywide surveillance system the department has implemented—”
“When it’s working, Detective Jacoby. Isn’t it true that the solar flares have been giving your system problems?”
One of the captains sitting at the conference table in Chief Egan’s office groaned. “Is he just guessing?”
On the wall, Jacoby’s jaw was noticeably clinched.
“As I was about to say, Mr. Redfield, before we began this back-and-forth, the DePloy surveillance system has been effective both in reducing crime and solving the crimes that have occurred. That is the end of this discussion.”
 “You mean ‘Shut up or I’m out of here’?”
 “Ladies and gentlemen of the press, I am now going to finish the official statement regarding funding. I will only respond to questions on that subject. . . .”
Chief Egan said, “Not one of your better performances, Wayne. You let him rattle you.” He walked over and sat down at the head of the table. “Her Royal Highness, the mayor, was not pleased when she called me last night.”

On the wall, the anchorwoman took over.
“Detective Jacoby then completed his statement about the proposals before the Common Council. When a reporter tried to return to the allegation made by crime beat threader Clarence Redfield that a serial killer is at work in Albany, Detective Jacoby ended the press conference and left the podium.
Mr. Redfield himself declined to respond to questions from reporters about the source of his information. We’ll have more for you on this story as details become available.
“In another matter before the Common Council, a proposed emergency expansion of the existing no masks or face-covering ordinance to include Halloween night. The new ordinance would apply to everyone over eight years of age. The recent outbreak of crimes involving juveniles . . .”
“Now, they’re even trying to take away Halloween,” Angus McCabe said from his place at the kitchen table. “Well? Any truth to it? Do we have ourselves a serial killer on the loose?”
McCabe put her empty juice glass on the shelf inside the dishwasher. “Since when do you consider Clarence Redfield a reliable source, Pop?”
“He ain’t. But I’ve spent more than half my life grilling official mouthpieces, and the way Jacoby was squirming—”
“Jacoby can’t stand Redfield. You know that.” McCabe snagged her thermo jacket from the back of her chair and bent to kiss his forehead. “And you’re retired now, remember?”
“I may be retired, but I’m not dead yet. What’s going on?”
“Got to run, Pop. Have a good day.”
“Have a good day nothing.” He rose to follow her into the hall.
“Hank McCabe, you tell me what’s—”
“Can’t discuss it. I’ll pick us up some dinner on the way home. Chinese okay?”
He scowled at her, his eyes the same electric blue they had always been, the bristling brows gone gray.
“No, Chinese ain’t okay. I’m tired of Chinese. I’ll cook dinner tonight. I’ve got all day to twiddle my thumbs. What else do I have to do but make dinner?”
“I thought you might intend to work on your book. You do have that deadline coming up in a couple of months.”
“Book, hell. There ain’t no book. I’m giving the advance back.”
“If that’s what you want to do,” McCabe said. “On the other hand, you could just sit down and write the book.”
“You try writing a damn book, Ms. Detective.”
“Not my area of expertise. But you’ve done it a few times before. Even won an award or two.”
“This one’s different. Nobody would read it even if I wrote it. And don’t ‘If that’s what you want to do’ me. We were talking about this serial killer that Redfield claims—”
“Sorry, Pop, I really do have to go. I want to get in a few minutes early this morning.”
“Why? What are you—”
She closed the door on his demand that she get herself back there and tell him what was going on. Striding to her car, McCabe tried to ignore the whiff of smoke that she could taste in the back of her throat and the sticky air, which made her want to step back into the shower. The heat was due to break to night. That would clear the air.
And Pop would pull himself out of his funk. He always did.
Of course, the other times, he’d had an office to go to . . . and no restrictions on his alcohol consumption.

“I have every confidence in your ability to get what we need, Mike boy.”
“Right.” Baxter flashed his best cocky grin. “You know you can count on me.”
His caller nodded. “I know I can.” He pointed his finger at Baxter. “Watch your back out there, you hear me?”
He disconnected, his image fading from the screen. Baxter closed his ORB and leaned back on his cream leather sofa. He stretched his arms over his head, fingers clasped. His gaze fell on the framed photograph on his desk. Himself in dress blues. Graduation day from the Academy. Baxter grunted, then laughed. “You should have seen this one coming, Mike boy.”
 He rubbed his hand across his mouth, whistled. “Well hell.”
 Baxter reached for his ORB again. He pulled up a file and began to update his notes.
 When he was done, he grabbed his thermo jacket and headed for the door.
His mind on other things, he left the apartment on cooldown and the lights on in the bathroom, but the condo’s environmental system had gone into energy-saver mode by the time he reached the lobby. In the garage, Baxter paused for his usual morning ritual, admiring the burgundy sheen of his vintage 1967 Mustang convertible. Then he got into his three-year-old hybrid and headed in to work.

McCabe was stuck in traffic on Central Avenue, waiting for an opening to maneuver around a florist van.
In Albany, double parking had always been considered a civic right. With more traffic each year and the narrow lanes that had been carved out for Zip cars and tri-bikes, Central Avenue in the morning was like it must have been when Albany was a terminus for slaughter houses, with cattle driven along Central Avenue Turnpike.
Stop, start, nose, and try not to trample one another as they moved toward their destinations.
McCabe tilted her head from side to side and shrugged her shoulders. What she needed, yearned for, was a long run. Even with geosimulators, five miles on a machine was never as good as running outside.
McCabe’s attention was caught by a flash of color. On the sidewalk in front of Los Amigos, a young black woman in a patchwork summer skirt laughed as an older man, suave and mustachioed, swirled her in a samba move. Still laughing, she disengaged herself and scooped up her straw handbag from the sidewalk. Hand over his heart, the man called out to his impromptu dance partner. Giggling, she went on her way.
Stopped by the traffic light at the intersection, McCabe lowered her window enough to hear the music coming from the open doorway of the restaurant. Before it was Mexican, the place had been Caribbean, and before that, Indian. The owners of the hair salon on one side and the discount store on the other had complained about this latest example of ethnic succession. Loud  music, spicy smells— in other words, the threat posed by “Mexs” moving into this block as they had others. Some legal, some American citizens, some neither, arriving in Albany in greater numbers during the years when the convention center was going up. Now the resentment was more vocal, the sense of being in competition greater. Even the imagined threat of an interplanetary invasion hadn’t changed that dynamic. Earthlings still distrusted other earthlings. They defended what they thought of as their turf.
Since the UFO, old episodes of Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone had become a cult favorite with teen “space zombies.” According to Pop, the zombies weren’t the only ones who should be watching the series. He claimed that in the event of another close encounter, Rod Serling had left instructions. Rule number one: Even if the spacecraft looks flashy, check to make sure it isn’t a balloon from a Thanksgiving Day parade. Rule number two: Even if the lights do start going on and off  don’t turn on your neighbors, assuming they must be the aliens. Rule number three: Even if the “visitors” introduce themselves and seem friendly, ask for additional information about how they plan “to serve” mankind before hopping on their spaceship.
Meanwhile, daily life continued on Central Avenue, where Zoe James, the black female owner of the beauty shop, refused to patronize the Mexican restaurant next door. At least she and Sung Chang, the Korean- American owner of the discount store, had stopped calling the cops every time the music and dancing overflowed onto the sidewalk. Of course, the Janet Cortez Para Presidente sign now on proud display in Los Amigos’s front window might set them off again. Both James and Chang had signs supporting the current vice president, who was male, black (biracial, actually), and likely to be the Democrats nominee.
But according to Pop, the candidate they all needed to be worried about, should be scared to death of, actually, was Howard Miller, that smiling “man of the people.” Howard Miller, who was as smooth as the churned butter from that family- owned farm he boasted about having grown up on.
McCabe stared hard at the traffic light that was supposed to adjust for traffic flow and right now was doing nothing at all. She decided to give it another thirty seconds before she reported a problem.
Howard Miller.
They hadn’t looked at that kind of hate crime because they had two white female victims. But the murder weapon . . . What if one of Miller’s crazy followers . . .
Horns blared.
McCabe was reaching for her ORB when the traffic light flickered and went from red to green.
More horns blared.
Three women, pushing metal shopping carts, had decided to make a last-minute dash across the busy intersection. White with a hint of a tan, clad in light- colored shorts and T-shirts, they were too clean to be homeless.
The women were almost to the other side when a bike messenger zipped around a double- parked produce truck.
The women darted out of his way. He skidded and went down hard. Sunlight sparkled on his blue helmet, but his work-tanned legs were bare and vulnerable.
One of the women looked back, peering over her designer sunglasses. She called out something. Maybe it was “Sorry about that.”
Then she and her fellow scavenger hunters sprinted away in the direction of Washington Park, where Radio KZAC must be holding today’s meet-up.
The taxi driver behind McCabe leaned on his horn. She waved for him to go around her.
She watched the bike messenger get up on wobbly legs. He looked down at his knee and grimaced. But the next moment, he was checking his bike. Then he grabbed for his leather satchel before a car could run over it. Hopping back on his bike, he pedaled off .
A car pulled away from the curb, opening up a spot a few feet away from Cambrini’s Bakery. McCabe shot forward and did a quick parallel park.
She got out and headed toward the intertwined aromas of fresh-baked muffins and black coffee. Maybe the day wasn’t going to be so bad after all.
The line wound back to the door, but it seemed to be moving fast. McCabe glanced at the old- fashioned chalkboard that always had the morning’s “featured muffin.” Not in the mood for pumpkin, she found what she wanted on the menu and sent her order from her ORB to checkout before joining the queue.
“Good morning, sister. Is God blessing you this fine day?”
She turned toward the deep voice and beaming smile of the man in the black New York Yankees baseball cap and the white suit and white shirt, which contrasted with his chocolate brown skin.
“Good morning, Reverend Deke.”
“I said, sister, ‘Is God blessing you this fine day?’ ”
“Yes, thank you, He is,” McCabe said.
“I’m pleased to hear that.”
Reverend Deke went out the door carrying his steaming coffee cup. By high noon, he would be bringing “the message” to any of the office workers who decided to leave the climate- controlled Empire State Plaza complex to patronize the lunch wagons lined up along the street. Some of the workers would pause to listen as Reverend Deke broke into one of the spirituals that he had learned on his Georgia- born grandmother’s knee.
McCabe watched him go, greeting the people he passed.
Ten minutes later, she was jammed in sideways at the counter by the window, munching on a lemon-blueberry-pecan muffin. Half a day’s supply of antioxidants, and it even tasted like it was made with real sugar. 
The police frequency on her ORB lit up. She touched the screen to see the message that Comm Center had sent out to patrol cars.
McCabe swallowed the last bite of her muffin and grabbed her ice coffee container from the counter.
Out of the sidewalk, she spoke into her transmitter. “Dispatch, Detective McCabe also responding to that call. En route.”
“Copy, McCabe. Will advise,” the dispatcher responded.
Mike Baxter picked up the same dispatch as he was pulling out of the fast- food drive-thru. He shoved his coffee cup into the holder and reached for his siren.
“Dispatch, Detective Baxter also responding.”
“Copy, Baxter. McCabe’s headed that way, too.”
“Thought she would be. This could be our guy.”
“Happy hunting.”
McCabe pulled herself to the top of the fence and paused to look down into the alley. She jumped and landed on the other side, one foot slipping in dog shit. The man she was chasing darted a glance behind him and kept running.
In a half squat, McCabe drew her weapon and fired. Her bola wrapped around the man’s legs. He sprawled forward, entangled in the cords, crashing into moldering cardboard boxes and other garbage.
 McCabe ran toward him. He twisted onto his side, trying to sit up and free himself.
 “Get these ropes off me, bitch!”
 “Stay down,” she said, training the weapon, now set to stun, on the perp’s scrawny torso. “Roll over on your belly.”
 He looked up at her face, then at the gun. Either he was convinced she would use it or deterred by the minicam that was attached to the weapon and was recording their encounter. He sagged back to the ground and rolled over.
 She stepped to the side, about to order him to raise his arm behind his back so that she could slip on the first handcuff .
 “You got him!” Mike Baxter said, running up. He was sweating, cheeks flushed, eyes bright with excitement. “That was great.”
 “Cuff him,” McCabe said, trying not to let Baxter see that she was breathing hard.
 She was thirty- four to Baxter’s twenty- nine, and, yes, she had outrun him. But she should be in better shape than this. Today’s air-quality reading was no excuse. Baxter snapped the cuffs into place and McCabe retracted her bola. Baxter hauled the perp to his feet.
 “Hey, man, this is police brutality, you hear me?” the perp said.
 “I’m gonna sue both of you.”
 “That all you got to say?” Baxter said.
 “Say? You’re supposed to read me my rights, man.”
 “You got it, man,” Baxter said. “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can be used against you . . .” He recited the words with the controlled irony of a cop who had been saying them for several decades. But he looked like a college kid. That was why he had been recruited from patrol to work undercover vice. But word was that he had wanted out of that and played a commendably discrete game of departmental politics, involving his godfather, the assistant chief, to get reassigned.
 Sirens screeching, two police cruisers pulled into the alley.
 Baxter grinned at McCabe. “Great way to start the day, huh, partner?”
 “Absolutely,” she said, scrapping her shoe on the edge of a mildewed cardboard box.
 She hoped he realized that the likelihood that this was the guy they were looking for was about zilch.
  


Author Bio:

FRANKIE Y. BAILEY is an associate professor in the School of Criminal Justice, University at Albany (SUNY). Bailey is the author of mysteries as well as non-fiction titles that explore the intersections of crime, history, and popular culture. Bailey is a Macavity Award-winner and has been nominated for Edgar, Anthony, and Agatha awards. A past executive vice president of Mystery Writers of America and a past president of Sisters in Crime, she is on the Albany Bouchercon 2013 planning committee.


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