John A. Curley books are written by a hard hitting private investigator and author who has obviously walked the streets he writes about and that experience translates neatly into his books.
John A. Curley has worked as a private investigator since 1987. He is the president of J Curley Investigative and Protective Services LLC and of J Curley and Associates, LLC a consulting company. He has studied martial arts since 1981 and began teaching in 1985. He is an advocate for child protection and his writing reflects the need for changes in child protection as well as the legal system. He resides in Staten Island and is an avid supporter of The Legislative Drafting Institute for Child Protection and the Staten Island Council for Animal Welfare.
BONDS by John A. Curley brings a stark and striking new voice to crime fiction. In a world overflowing with novels about PI’s who are supermen, Jonathan Creed stands out as a regular human being, flaws and all. Mr. Curley has obviously walked the streets he writes about, and that experience translates neatly to the page.
The character of Creed himself is a stand out. Instead of relying on luck (or lucky accidents), Creed hits the streets and does some actual detecting. As in real life, he already knows his work will have consequences for others, but this time he learns that sometimes his work has consequences for himself.
“Don’t fool yourself: this is not a TV or Fantasy Private Investigator who solves problems with his fists or a gun as the first resort. Jonathan Creed is the real deal and, as a reader, you’ll not only come to like him as a person, but his cynical – yet romantic – view of the world will sometimes tug at your heartstrings.” – Will Graham, author of SPIDER’S DANCE and others.
One case I often thought about happened a few years ago. I didn’t just think about it often, it was like a semi consistent headache … heartache would be more accurate. A divorce case where the judge wanted joint custody. Made the job much easier, a trial meant work. The layman’s version of the story is we were hired because the father thought there was abuse and maybe neglect. Drug tests provided overwhelming evidence the mother endangered the child, but the judge never considered anything but joint custody. He appointed a Law Guardian and held a hearing. Visitation was supervised for a while, then unsupervised on the application of the mother’s attorney and the Law Guardian concurred. That was followed by splitting the time the child spent with the mother and father again. The mother hired an expert and sought help. The Law Guardian agreed with her attorney, every time but my client’s attorney fought like hell. Judge told them settle it, because if it goes, he’ll rule shared custody. The case lingered for a while, and the judge punished the father for making him work. Sometimes they forced settlements that way. Schedule a trial over the course of a long period of time, then threaten and intimidate the parties off the record, and the money flows and then usually dries up.
The father shared with me that his son told his Law Guardian, “Mommy yells at me. She hits me. Mommy sleeps all day. Mommy talks funny sometimes and cries.” Law Guardians in New York were supposed to be independent counsel for the children. They were appointed in cases of allegations of abuse or neglect. A great idea, but then the law changed, forcing them to specifically advocate for the wishes of the child. Maybe not a great idea – what ten-year-old kid wants to watch TV instead of doing homework? There were supposed to be guidelines about what to do if the kid wanted what wasn’t good for the kid, or was being unduly influenced. No one seemed to have a handle on that. There was training required to be a law guardian but no tests, no performance reviews. They were supposed to be selected on a rotating basis, or specific ones could be appointed if the judge felt they were suited for the case. Not going along with what the judge decreed meant you wouldn’t get a case for a while. If the Law Guardian just thought that, same effect.
The judge ruled shared custody, and my client’s lawyer started the appeal. The child resided with his mother.
A few days after the ruling, the mother was driving with the child. She was drunk and on Xanax. She bumped the curb and hit a pole. There was enough sufficient evidence presented during the trial to prove the mother was a danger to the child, but the judge didn’t care. When her hired guns testified, he agreed. The Law Guardian agreed. The Italian sports car the woman bought for herself as a present after the divorce, after it hit the curb, was two feet off the ground when it hit the pole and disintegrated. They scraped what was left of the kid up with a putty knife. Throughout the proceedings, the Law Guardian was too busy flirting with the mother and pontificating how he was raised by his mother. Parenting was in the genes. Neither the judge nor the child’s attorney seriously considered the forensics that said the mother was a risk. She slipped up due to the stress of the divorce and then got better, they reasoned. The judge didn’t like squeezing a trial into his schedule.
When the father came to see me, I saw his punch coming from a mile away, but didn’t move out of the way. He was big and strong but didn’t know how to throw a good punch. When it hit me, it rocked me back, like being hit with a club, and opened up an old cut over my left eye. I heard that dull thud you hear when you get hit, and felt the heat and disorientation normally accompanying that kind of impact. I felt the warmth of my blood as it flowed down my face. My hands balled up instinctively, but I kept them at my sides. He cried and kept yelling at me that I didn’t save his son. The guys in the office all moved on him, but I waved them off. After he hit me he stopped yelling, and the rage was replaced by a deep, soul crushing grief. He fell into me, weeping. I put my arms around his shoulders. His tears and my blood mingled on the front of my shirt. For a long time, his body jerked with uncontrollable sobs.
A few days later, he returned to pay me the money he owed but I told him I didn’t want it. He asked me to give it to a charity for abused children. He apologized then fell quiet. No tears, no anger, just an abyssal chasm of sadness. He told me he knew I did everything I could, but I wasn’t so sure. I couldn’t think of anything else I could have done, but felt I missed something. He left an envelope thick with cash on my desk.
Later that week, he killed both the Judge and the Law Guardian. He killed the Law Guardian at his home in the morning. He knew he couldn’t get the gun past the metal detectors at court, so he waited in the area where the judges parked their cars. He shot the judge twice then turned the gun on himself. The judge recovered, sort of, then retired from the bench. I heard they gave him a standing ovation at his retirement dinner. He died three months later. People still talk about him as though he was a hero.
I once read a physics paper about something called the theory of many worlds. Quantum mechanics claimed there was a good possibility that, for every possible reality there existed a reality. It had something to do, I think, with an electron existing in multiple places at the same time. Somewhere, I was in the family business. Somewhere, that kid was still alive.
Reprisals: Sins of the Father (Short Story E-Book)
Doc is a an old school private investigator whose work is swimming in the cesspool that is the justice system. A civil rights activist and a bad cop are murdered. A father is trying to save his daughter from her greedy abusive mother, a child molester goes unpunished. Doc is the key, Doc is the catalyst.
From Reprisals: Sins of the Father
“Hey Doc!” Jeannie, Diane’s office manager smiled as she greeted him with her usual enthusiasm.
“Hey J, how’s the baby?”
“He’s great,” Jeannie said. “How are you?”
“Any day above ground is good miss,” Doc said.
“Diane said to go up and see her and she’d take you in to meet her client after you guys spoke.”
Doc went into Diane’s office and she rose from behind her desk and kissed him on the cheek. There was steam rising from the coffee that sat on the coaster in front of the client chair waiting for Doc. He smiled and sat.
“Thought you’d be overdue for your afternoon coffee fix,” Diane said.
“This is one of the many reasons I love you Lady Di,” Doc said.
Diane waited for him to take a few sips of the coffee and settle in to his chair. She looked out her window. Doc looked at the pictures of Diane’s husband and children.
“So, what have we got?” Doc asked.
“I have an order of protection that needs to be served. I have a client that needs protection. And,” She paused and looked at Doc.
“I have a client that can’t give your normal retainer.”
“Miss Valeria do I not recall that you used to take me to task for not getting paid enough money?” Doc said with a slight smile.
“I know,” Diane said. She clicked the mouse and turned her computer screen to him. “Not every client is in her situation.”
The first video was of a man standing naked in what looked like a puddle of blood moving his head back and forth and shuffling his feet in the blood. He was chuffing like a horse and picking imaginary bugs off of his arms.
“Coke?” Doc asked.
“Crack,” Diane answered.
The first video lasted 2 minutes. It was obvious the man wasn’t paying attention to the fact he was being recorded. The next video popped up. It looked like the same room. The picture was the same. For a while it just showed the room.
“Cell phone?” Doc asked.
“Yeah,” Diane said. “She had him arrested once before and dropped the charges. He promised he’d change. She knew she would need evidence, so she set up the video on the phone and left in running on a shelf.”
The video showed a woman, petite and pretty with black hair backing into the room. She was backing into the corner saying “Please don’t Mikey, the baby” She was holding an infant. He followed her to the corner and began hitting her. “Please!” She screamed. “Let me put the baby down! Mikey! Please!” He hit her in the ribs and she fell somehow managing to keep the baby from being crushed under her. The man kicked her a few times cursing at her and then stormed off. The woman gasped and sobbed intermittently trying to breathe and cry and soothe the baby who started crying also. All of that would have been pretty hard to do with broken ribs, but she managed. He came in a few more times and yelled and at one point she covered the crying baby with her body.
Doc looked out the window. “Mother fucker,” he said very softly.
“I know.” Diane said. “He told her he was going to kill the baby.”
“He wasn’t high there,” Diane said. “She didn’t have any money to give him for drugs.”