By John Lansing Editions: ebook Published: December 26th 2012 by Gallery Books/Karen Hunter Publishing Genre: Crime/Thriller
A Sizzling thriller for fans of James Patterson and Patricia Cornwell. An exciting tour into the real-life world of cops, crime, and murder. Retired inspector Jack Bertolino had strict rules when dealing with confidential informants. But Mia had the kind of beauty that could make a grown man contemplate leaving his wife, his job, and his kids. After a passionate night together, Mia is found murdered – and Jack is the lead suspect. Facing threats from the LAPD, the 18th Street Angels, and a Columbian drug cartel, Jack delves deeper into the seedy world of drug dealers and murderers and discovers that the top players knew Mia personally. And now Jack is torn between fearing for his life and seeking revenge for his slain lover…either way, the body count will rise.
~ Bewitching BT
Jack Bertolino – Character description by John Lansing
“Mia reached up and touched Jack’s flushed cheek with her warm hand. He was a handsome, big-boned man with a thick shock of dark hair. Mia traced the thin strands of gray that feathered his temples with her perfectly manicured fingernails. She ran the back of her hand along the creases on his chiseled face, a road map of the years spent doing
undercover work in New York City. She kissed the bump on the bridge of his otherwise straight Roman nose, a gift from a crack dealer named Trey he had traded punches with outside the Red Hook projects.”
I gave Jack Bertolino’s description in “The Devil’s Necktie,” to Mia because he’s not a vain man. He wouldn’t stand in front of a mirror appraising himself. He showers, shaves, and grooms in all of fifteen minutes. That’s unless he’s not sharing the shower with his girlfriend, ADA Leslie Sager. Then the mirrors get steamy.
Jack doesn’t see himself as being particularly handsome, although he is. It’s the relaxed way he feels in his own skin that makes him attractive to women and men alike. That and his intense brown eyes that if directed at you, give the feeling that he knows more than your letting on. There’s no reason to lie because he knows your secrets. It was a great tool as a detective and a talent that serves him in retirement.
He stands six-foot-three and discovered at an early age growing up on Staten Island, New York that he could take a punch and return the favor two fold. It was a skill that served him well coming up through the ranks of the NYPD, moving from a rooky undercover cop working narcotics to a full Inspector.
Jack loves women. Plain and simple. The way they look, the way they walk, the way they smile. He was always being tested when he was on the job, he had plenty of opportunities to cheat, but he never took the bait. He was a married man who respected the union. It was a rare quality in law enforcement. Jack was a man of honor, and he honored his vows. He demanded loyalty from the cops on his team and he demanded it of himself. That’s one of the reasons the failure of his marriage hit him so hard.
He’s not proud of the way he reacted when Jeannine asked him for a divorce, but Jack’s old school. He always thought they were life partners, working toward a common goal. What he didn’t see was their moving apart.
In the blame game, he took the divorce squarely on the chin, because he had in fact chosen work over family. He carried that knowledge around like a fifty-pound lead weight.
The pump, the excitement of the job was Jack’s drug of choice. Outsmarting the bad guys, putting a ton of drugs on the table, dismantling a Columbian money laundering cell, going up against Harvard trained MBA’s who were on the cartels payroll and beating them at their own game. That became his overriding focus and his marriage suffered irreparably.
Jack was an absentee father when it came to raising his son. He missed t-ball games, and little league, and confirmation, and choir recitals, and just time spent hanging out. Time he knows he can’t get back. It burned a hole in his heart that he hasn’t been able to fill. Jack believes in redemption but hasn’t found a way to forgive himself. He’s trying to make amends in retirement. His love for his son is bigger than he can describe. It drives him to distraction and is one of the reasons he moved to Southern California. To be close to his son, who won a full baseball scholarship at Stanford. Close, but not too close.
His relationship with his ex-wife is sketchy at best. It’s ragged. It’s frustrating and it went south on Jack when she moved her boyfriend into the house he had built with his own hands, and paid for with blood sweat and tears. The fact that the guy bears a physical resemblance to Jack sets his teeth on edge.
And when Jack gets really upset, the end of his rope time, he does what he’s always done to calm down. Something he learned in his aunt’s kitchen when he was just a scrappy kid. He makes a big pot of sauce and meatballs. By the time the garlic, onions, and oregano soften and meld and fill his loft with a scent that is pure heaven, Jack sucks in a full deep breath, lets it out very slowly…
And then he pours himself a big glass of red wine and relaxes.
About the Author & Links:
John Lansing started his career as an actor in New York City. He spent a year at the Royale Theatre playing the lead in the Broadway production of “Grease.”
He then landed a co-starring role in George Lucas’ “More American Graffiti,” and guest-starred on numerous television shows.
During his fifteen-year writing career, Lansing wrote and produced “Walker Texas Ranger,” co-wrote two CBS Movies of the Week, and he also co-executive produced the ABC series “Scoundrels.” John’s first book was “Good Cop, Bad Money,” a true crime tome with former NYPD Inspector Glen Morisano.
The Devil’s Necktie is his first novel.
A native of Long Island, John now resides in Los Angeles.