The upcoming episode of the Crime Cafe podcast will feature crime writer and firefighter Tony Knighton. As per usual, he’s provided a guest post and a book giveaway, as part of his appearance.
And check out the awesome cover of that book he’s giving out!
To enter the giveaway, just email Tony at tonyknighton13[at]netzero[dot]net with the subject line “Crime Cafe giveaway”. Be sure to send your entry email to Tony before Tues., Sept. 3, 2019. That way Tony won’t be waiting for entries forever. 🙂
In any case, I’m anxious to get to the excerpt from his book.
So, hey ho, let’s go! 🙂
Debbi has graciously invited me to post an excerpt from my upcoming work:
I drove west on Ridge. The antenna farm was visible above the horizon for a stretch, long black lines drawn against the gray sky. Once past the city into Whitemarsh Township, the road changed designation, from an avenue to a pike, and widened to four lanes. On either side were houses and commercial buildings, and businesses like car dealers, but the road was also fronted by long stretches of green, open land. It got more built up the closer I got to Norristown. I crossed an overpass, just beyond the big five-point intersection at Chemical Road. Low in the distance were vestiges of the long-idled steel mill property.
Once inside the borough the road changed names again, this time to Main Street, and more closely resembled a densely occupied, aging urban arterial. I traveled through the business district, past the Montgomery County Courthouse, and a few blocks later turned toward the river.
I parked just off an intersection two blocks in and approached an address in an unbroken row of shabby three-story brick houses. Some porch fronts sagged, and there were slates missing from the common mansard. I climbed the steps and knocked.
Parsons opened the door part way and squinted against the light. “Hey.” His white T-shirt stood out against his dark complexion. He let me in and closed the door behind us. It took a moment for my eyes to adjust. I hadn’t seen him in over a year. He was a big man but appeared to have lost weight. His undershirt bagged about his middle. He led me into the kitchen, scuffling along in a pair of slippers. The curtains were drawn here, too. These were lighter and gave everything a sickly yellowish tint. He said, “I think I have what you want. Something you can carry?”
“Yeah. Something small.” I could smell liquor on his breath. “It can’t be obvious.”
He nodded and opened the door to the basement. It wasn’t like him to drink at all, let alone during the day. I didn’t like it. I followed him down the steps. Something was different about the house, too, but I wasn’t sure what.
He pulled open the bottom drawer of an old metal desk. “This is a clean piece. Girl I know picked it up last month in the city. Personal protection.” Parsons used straw buyers – people without a record who could go to gun shops and make legal purchases. He was quiet and careful, and it was reasonable to assume that the others he dealt with would be, too. He showed me the pistol. “Glock forty-three, subcompact automatic, nine-millimeter, six round magazine. Made to be carried under a jacket,” he looked up, “or in a purse.” Despite his mood, his thick brown fingers moved skillfully over the weapon; he released the magazine, cleared the chamber and laid the pistol on an oil-stained towel. “You want to test it?”
“No need. Do you have ammo?”
It took an effort but he smiled at the compliment. “Sure.” The house was quiet. Usually, music would be playing here, the radio or a record. Parsons walked across the room to some shelves and said, “You want a holster for it?”
“No.” I understood what was different. The house didn’t smell of cigarettes. “Where’s Olivia?”
He fiddled with something on the shelf. “She passed.” He motioned toward his chest. “Cancer.”
“I’m sorry.” Just to say something, I said, “How long was she sick?”
“Diagnosed eight months ago. They gave her treatments – radiation – but it was just, you know, to make her feel better.”
“Yeah,” he turned, “that’s the word. Only one of her kids came to the service. Her youngest boy, Jamarr.”
I needed to move this along, but said, “Sons miss their mothers,” and pointed to the Glock. “How much?”
“That’s you, all right. Always the professional.”
I waited for him. He finally said, “Nine will do. I’ll throw in a box of cartridges.” He turned back to the shelf for them.
I counted out nine one hundred-dollar bills onto the desktop and took the pistol and ammunition. I considered suggesting that he give up the business for a while – that it might not be good for him to stay closed up in a dark house full of weapons – but he already knew that. I said thanks and left.
Thank you, Debbi.
PS: Omigosh, you’re welcome, Tony! 🙂 Incidentally, we’re one day away from the official start of my special offer on Patreon!
Tony Knighton’s novel Three Hours Past Midnight was published in 2017 by Crime Wave Press. His novella and story collection Happy Hour and Other Philadelphia Cruelties was published in 2015, also by Crime Wave Press. His stories have been included in the anthologies Shocklines: Fresh Voices in Terror, published by Cemetery Dance, Year’s Best Hardcore Horror Volume One, published by Comet Press, Equilibrium Overturned, published by Grey Matter Press, The Oxford Files from White Lightning Publishing, and A Time for Violence, from Close to the Bone. He has also published short fiction in Crime Factory, Trigger Warning, Static Movement Online and Dark Reveries.
Tony is a lieutenant in the Philadelphia Fire Department.