Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Have You Considered Voodoo

 We're back with day two of the Summer Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & BookHounds. To kick off this great giveaway I invited Author Wayne Zurl to post a guest blog. What he came up with was quite creative. A short story Have You Considered Voodoo, which will be featured over four days. Today is part two of this great story. 


Wayne Zurl grew up on Long Island and retired after twenty years with the Suffolk County Police Department, one of the largest municipal law enforcement agencies in New York and the nation. For thirteen of those years he served as a section commander supervising investigators. He is a graduate of SUNY, Empire State College and served on active duty in the US Army during the Vietnam War and later in the reserves. Zurl left New York to live in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with his wife, Barbara.
Eight (8) of his Sam Jenkins mysteries have been produced as audio books and simultaneously published as eBooks. His first full-length novel, A NEW PROSPECT, was named best mystery at the 2011 Indie Book Awards by the Independent Publishing Professional’s Group. It is also available on Kindle.
For additional information on Wayne’s Sam Jenkins mystery series see www.waynezurlbooks.net. You can read excerpts, reviews and endorsements, interviews, coming events, and even see photos of the area where the stories take place.

Have You Considered Voodoo - Part Two

I knocked and a good-looking Hispanic woman in her early-thirties answered the front door. She had dyed red hair, wore a well packed halter top, and short-shorts that hugged her muscular mid-section.

“Mrs. Santiago, I’m Detective Jenkins, 5th Squad. Can we talk about what happened last night?”

I learned that twelve pigeons in her husband’s coop had been strangled and six of their throat’s cut. The screened-in coop was located behind their house and built on stilts to keep animals away. Whoever killed the birds defecated in the middle of the coop and left a half-smoked reefer behind.

Since Maria Santiago could tell me nothing more than she surmised it happened between 7:30 and 10:30 the night before while she and her husband Indio were at the movies, I started knocking on doors of the surrounding houses. At house number three I scored a bingo.

The woman living in the home with a back yard abutting the rear of Santiago’s property told me something interesting.

“I heard a racket behind Santiago’s place,” the elderly woman said. “His birds were going crazy, flapping and squawking. I looked outside but didn’t see anything. Then I heard someone whisper, ‘Come here baby, come to Cisco.’”

“And what happened next?”

“And nothing. I went back to watch TV. The noise kept up for a couple minutes, that’s all.”

She blew smoke from her unfiltered cigarette toward the ceiling and stuck her left hand defiantly into the pocket of her house dress

“Mrs. Bloomberg, why didn’t you call the police?”

“I don’t want to have nothing to do with these Puerto Ricans. Let them fight among themselves. Let someone younger call. It’s none of my business.”


I parked the gold Plymouth and walked back into the Squad. Louie Demarco sat leaning back in his chair with his feet on his desk reading the newspaper.

“Hey, Sergeant, do me a solid and get your ass in gear. We’ve got police work to do.”

“What’s your hurry, you young cock-a-roach?”

“Check our nickname file and then call Intelligence to see what they have. I need to know who’s called Cisco in this area.”

“Only half the male population on the west end of town. Why? What have you got?”

“Some old battle-ax heard a guy who killed a bunch of pigeons call himself Cisco. See if you can get me a name while I call Crime Scene.”

“I wouldn’t do this for just anybody, Sam.” Louie laughed. “You’ll owe me.”

“Yeah, yeah, sorry to interrupt your current events study.”

The duty sergeant at the Crime Scene Unit told me the ET who handled the massacre at the Pigeon Hotel recovered a fingerprint from the glass pane on the door to the coop. The print had been forwarded to the Identification Section to match against their files and the elimination prints he took from Mr. and Mrs. Santiago. He anticipated getting it back in a few days.

I called the ID Section myself.

“Come on, John,” I said to a sergeant. “I think I’ve got a hot lead here. I need to match the print to someone called Cisco. Do me a favor and push this to the top of the pile.”

“Sam, we’ve got robberies, real burglaries, recovered stolen cars, and a homicide that came in overnight to go on the bottom of the stack. And you want me to play around with a latent from a dead pigeon case? I know a coop is technically a building, but gimme a break, it’s not a real burglary.”

“John, this is bigger than just pigeons. I’ve got two other cases with probably the same perp. From what I’ve learned, it may be connected to Voodoo. And now that Hispanics are involved I might have to look at Santeria. Come on, we go way back. For me?”

“Okay, but I’ll remember.”


I drove to the bodega on West Main Street and spoke with the owner, Anibal “Benny” Quilas.

“You know anything about people around here practicing Santeria?” I asked.

“That’s private thing, Vato. Why do jou ask?”

I explained my theory.

“I don’t know, man,” he said. “A few old people may believe in that, but no one who would kill pigeons.”

“They practice animal sacrifice in their religion, don’t they?”

“I don’t know, man, maybe. Hey, I’m a Catholic, what do I know. But who would sacrifice pigeons? That’s sick, man.”

“I don’t know either, Benny. I’ve got a dead cat, a chicken and now a dozen pigeons. What do you know about Voodoo?”

He looked at me like I had two heads.


Sergeant John Rondinelli from the ID Section called me the next day.

“I did that print for you, but it doesn’t match anything Smitty took from the scene of your pigeon caper or anyone who’s been arrested in the county.”


“You’ve got dead rats now?”

“No, wise guy, that was an expletive. Now I’ve only got 400 Ciscos in the Precinct to look at. Thanks anyway.”

“Sorry, pal, but you still owe me.”

“You’re all heart. John.”


Just after lunch, Officer Paul Thomas walked into the Squad. I dropped the phone back onto the cradle as he stood in front of my desk.

“What’s up?” I asked. He looked a little frazzled.

“You know that homeless guy they call The Bishop?”

“Yeah, tall skinny guy. Tyrone something.”

“Tyrone Banks.”


“And you got a minute?”

“Yeah.” I pointed to the guest chair next to my battered metal desk.

He sat down and tossed his hat on my blotter atop stacks of paperwork and pushed a hand through his dark hair as he settled into the armless chair.

“Yesterday on the 4-to-12s, Frampton and Leonard get a call: Dead dog near the tracks on that vacant land off Railroad Avenue.”

“You think it’s connected to the chicken and the cat?”

“It was decapitated.”

“What did they write it up as?”

“Just that. But those two are sharp. They forwarded a copy of the field report to you.”

“Haven’t seen anything yet.”

“Probably sitting in the back room waiting to get processed.”

“Maybe it was some sick bastard who took a dead dog and laid it across the tracks just to see a train cut it in two. It’s happened before.”

“I don’t think so. We drove over there this morning. About fifty feet from the tracks the grass was stomped down to make a clearing and there’s blood all over. The dog wasn’t decapitated post mortem.”


“I called the dog warden who picked up the corpse. He said the dog’s throat was cut and then above that cut, someone hacked off the head.”

“So what’s The Bishop got to do with this?”

“He flagged us down about a half hour ago.”

“The old guy’s half nuts, you know.”

“Yeah, he is, but he brought us something.”


“Come outside. You don’t want this in the squad room.”

We walked into the parking lot. Car 501 was parked in the breezeway between the Precinct house and the 5th Squad building with its trunk open.

I looked at Thomas’ partner. “Whaddaya say, Jimmy?” Armstrong was blond and stocky, but not fat.

“Hi ya, Sam.”

A red and white plastic cooler sat in the trunk.

“You guys having a beer party?”

“Not hardly,” Armstrong said.

“Tell me I don’t already know what’s in the cooler.”

“’Fraid so,” Thomas said.

I gingerly lifted the lid.

“Oh, man!”

To be continued in Part Three Tomorrow...

Sam Jenkins never thought about being a fish out of water during the twenty years he spent solving crimes in New York. But things change, and after retiring to Tennessee, he gets that feeling. Jenkins becomes a cop again and is thrown headlong into a murder investigation and a steaming kettle of fish, down-home style.

The victim, Cecil Lovejoy, couldn’t have deserved it more. His death was the inexorable result of years misspent and appears to be no great loss, except the prime suspect is Sam’s personal friend.

Jenkins’ abilities are attacked when Lovejoy’s influential widow urges politicians to reassign the case to state investigators.

Feeling like “a pork chop at a bar mitzvah” in his new workplace, Sam suspects something isn’t kosher when the family tries to force him out of the picture.

In true Jenkins style, Sam turns common police practice on its ear to insure an innocent man doesn’t fall prey to an imperfect system and the guilty party receives appropriate justice.

A NEW PROSPECT takes the reader through a New South resolutely clinging to its past and traditional way of keeping family business strictly within the family.  

Wayne will be giving away ten eBook's of A NEW PROSPECT to ten randomly drawn commenter's on August 5. 

Lorhainne Eckhart will be giving away three copies of her new release THE CHOICE, to three randomly drawn commenters at the end of the summer hop. Don't forget to leave your contact information when you leave a comment. And remember to visit the other blogs participating in this summer giveaway by clicking on the link I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & BookHounds.


  1. Thanks for the giveaway.

    bookworm.nikita at gmail dot com

  2. Please enter me in the draw!

    I'm following you on GFC (Darlene), and my email address is darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  3. Count me in!
    I am a GFC follower.
    jwitt33 at live dot com

  4. Thanks for the giveaway! Gloria

    geschumann at live dot com

  5. Thanks for the excerpts. Really interesting story.


  6. Thanks for the giveaway!