Maybe the violent death of Paco "Packy" Johnson was inevitable.
Packy Johnson spent a lifetime in the system – starting in foster homes at age 10, then juvenile detention, then prison for most of his adult life. But during his last seventeen-year bit, Packy Johnson managed to make one true friend in prison – James Beck. When it finally came time for Packy to get parole, Beck helped him with the process and was ready to help his friend build a new life outside prison. But only seventeen hours after being released, Paco Johnson was found dead, brutally beaten and shot, lying in the gutter on a desolate Bronx street.
James Beck can't help Packy any longer, but he can try to find out what happened to his friend, and why. Beck, the ringleader of a tight clique of ex-cons based in Brooklyn's Red Hook section, is determined to accord Packy Johnson at least some dignity and a measure of justice.
What drove Packy out onto the streets of the Bronx his first night back? Who did he run into that hated him enough to viciously beat him before executing him, and yet left behind his wallet full of cash?
What appears to be a simple, if tragic, street killing, quickly becomes something much more shocking and complex. It will take all the skills, connections, and cunning of Beck and his men to not only learn the truth, but to survive the forces they unleash.
PRAISE FOR BRONX REQUIEM
A fast-moving, bloody visit to the Bronx featuring the return of tough guy James Beck (Among Thieves, 2015).
Packy Johnson has just been released after a 17-year stint in the New York prison system. Less than a full day out, his corpse lies in a gutter not far from his mother-in-law’s apartment, beaten to a pulp and shot in the head but not robbed. His old prison friend James Beck is anguished and outraged, determined to learn what happened. A friend warns Beck that if he does “anything foolish—it won’t do anybody any good.” Meanwhile, detectives John Palmer and Raymond Ippolito catch the case.
The ambitious young Palmer wants to pin the crime on Beck, a convicted but eventually exonerated cop killer. Still, says Ippolito, “You kill a cop, you’re supposed to fry.” Packy’s daughter, Amelia, street name Princess, is a teenage hooker controlled by pimp Derrick Watkins. She hasn’t seen her father since she was three.
Her grandmother Lorena Leon, a nasty piece of work, dismisses Amelia as a “whore and a drug addict.” This yarn has a lot of colorful bad guys such as the evil albino “Whitey” Bondurant and “Juju” Jackson, whose youthful acne reminds people of jujube candies, and, of course, Derrick, who calls Amelia a “broke-ass bitch [who] can’t even earn a pimp his money”.
The fights are spectacular and not for the squeamish…Readers who take their novels strong and dark will savor this one.”
"Ex-con James Beck places loyalty above all else, as shown in Clarkson’s highly entertaining sequel to 2015’s Among Thieves.
With a firm belief in the brotherhood of criminals, Beck unconditionally trusts his crew of fellow ex-cons, many of whom he met in prison before his first-degree manslaughter conviction was overturned.
He’s especially anxious to bring into his fold Paco “Packy” Johnson, who’s being paroled after 17 years in prison. But soon after being released, Packy is murdered on a Bronx street. Beck and his team, who operate out of his Red Hook saloon, set out to find who killed Packy and try to help his 16-year-old daughter, Amelia, who works for pimp Derrick Watkins, one of the Bronx’s most vicious criminals.
Beck and company run up against not only Watkins but also Det. John Palmer, an overly ambitious cop not above skirting the law.
Strong storytelling combined with breathless action and a high body count keeps the solid plot churning, as do the complex characters."
“The action sizzles in Bronx Requiem. Highly recommended.”
Listen to Audio Clip Narrated by Peter Berkrot