Black and White: A Novel

Black and White: A Novel

by Dan Mahoney

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In a secluded New York City park, a double homicide draws two detectives named McKenna. One is a legend; the other is a brilliant young investigator. Together, they are entering a case that will grow more bizarre and more horrifying with each new piece of shocking evidence...

One of the victims was tied to a tree and slowly tortured to death. Veteran detective Tommy McKenna realizes that he has seen this killer's work before-eighteen years earlier...

Tommy will get a second crack at his killer. Brian McKenna gets to work with a legend. And both men are setting in motion an investigation that will take them to California, Arizona, a Costa Rican mountaintop, and all the way to the Fare East. The two McKennas are on the trail of two human monsters who have been killing for two decades-and murder isn't even the worst of their crimes...

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781466852730
Publisher: St. Martin's Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/17/2013
Series: Brian McKenna Series , #5
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 368
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Dan Mahoney was born and raised in New York City. After serving the Marine Corps in Vietnam, he joined the New York City Police Department, where he worked for twenty-five years before retiring as a captain. His Detective Brian McKenna series begins with Detective First Gradeand includes the New York Times-bestselling Black and White and The Two Chinatownsand lives in Levittown, New York.
Dan Mahoney was born and raised in New York City. After serving the Marine Corps in Vietnam, he joined the New York City Police Department, where he worked for twenty-five years before retiring as a captain. He is the author of novels including Black and White and Hyde and lives in Levittown, New York.

Read an Excerpt

Black and White

A Novel

By Dan Mahoney

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 1999 Dan Mahoney
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4668-5273-0



John Cocchi and Kathy Rynn had worked together for six years doing day tours in the 34th Precinct's Sector Eddie. Like most partners, they had developed a routine that made casual conversation unnecessary. Each usually knew what the other was thinking. They made their arrests, gave their summonses, and handled all the radio runs assigned to them with few words passing between them. They had a stoic attitude about their job, but that didn't slow them down. In a tough precinct they were known as good cops who weren't afraid to work.

And work they did, most of the time. The 34th Precinct covered Washington Heights, a poor neighborhood at the northern tip of Manhattan where the vast majority of the residents were immigrants from the Dominican Republic, many of them illegal aliens. It was a tough life for the new arrivals. Most had learned to live by their wits, but there were always those prepared to prey on their neighbors. Consequently, crime was a sad daily fact of life for the good people and a livelihood for the bad.

As usual, Rynn and Cocchi expected that they would spend the day "tied to the radio," going from one call to the next if they didn't run into an arrest. However, like most radio car teams throughout the city, they tried to reserve to themselves the first half hour of the tour. They bought their coffee and bagels and headed for their spot in Fort Tryon Park, under the Cloisters. Although it wasn't in their sector, they had used the spot for years and considered it their own secret preserve.

Rynn drove into the park, up the steep road leading to the Cloisters, the medieval castle perched overlooking the Hudson River. A quarter mile before the Cloisters, Rynn left the road and drove across a small meadow and into the woods on a narrow dirt track. Their spot was a hundred yards into the woods, where the road ended at a steeply pitched hill that ran straight down to the New York Central Rail Road tracks paralleling the Hudson. There was another car in their spot, a late-model two-door red BMW. The passenger door was open, but they didn't see anybody sitting in the car. What immediately caught their attention was the rear license plate, NYC-9. Cocchi and Rynn naturally assumed that the politically important occupants of the BMW were trespassing and other-wise engaged in the backseat, using their spot as a lovers lane. That wasn't allowed.

"Let's be nice to the big shot when we break up his session," Cocchi said as he got out of the radio car.

"Let's," Rynn said. She approached the car from the driver side and Cocchi headed for the passenger side. Then Rynn stopped and motioned for Cocchi to do the same.

"Problem?" he asked softly.

"Maybe," she answered, pointing to the driver's door. "Window's shattered and there's glass on the ground. Be careful."

Both cops unholstered their guns and reached their positions at the sides of the BMW, nerves on edge and ready for anything. They relaxed a bit when they saw the body. He had been behind the wheel, but the force of the bullet fired into his head through the closed window had knocked his upper torso across the front seat. He was white, about thirty years old, and dressed casually in tan slacks and a green shirt. Death had caught him in an embarrassing position. His pants were pulled down to his knees and his eyes were wide open in shock. Hours before, a small puddle of blood had flowed onto the seat from his head wound. The blood had congealed and hardened.

"He looks Irish. Unusual for this neighborhood," Cocchi observed.

"Probably grew up around here in the old days, when the Irish were still in charge in the Heights. That's how he knew about this place," Rynn surmised.

"Probably," Cocchi agreed. "Let's go find the other body, if there is another one."

"Okay. But remember crime scene protocol. No need to give ourselves more problems than we already have."

She didn't have to say more. Both had been around long enough to know that many crime scenes were damaged and evidence inadvertently destroyed by the first officers on the scene. They prided themselves on doing the job right. Their problem would be explaining how they had stumbled on the BMW, deep in the woods and out of their sector. Both knew that they were headed for some grief from their cranky old sergeant, but what bothered them more was that their wonderful spot would no longer be a secret.

It took them only a minute to find the woman's ripped and bloody clothes at the edge of the hill and another minute to sight her body. They couldn't get to her. The killer had thrown her down the almost-vertical incline and the body had tumbled down until hitting a large rock protruding from the hill.

Even from a distance, Cocchi and Rynn could see that she was dead. She had come to rest face up, she had deep slashes all over her torso, her face was battered, and they were sure that her neck was broken.

"That poor girl surely suffered before she died," Rynn observed.

"You got that right. There's a real sick bastard responsible for this mess," Cocchi answered. "You ready yet for our own dose of misery?"

"Not really, but let's get the ball rolling and get this over with. I feel a fit of depression coming on."


Detective First Grade Brian McKenna of the Major Case Squad was easily the NYPD's most famous detective and had been involved in many news-worthy cases over the years, so many that people he had never met before stopped him on the street to ask him how Angelita and the kids were doing. McKenna figured folks overrated his skill and intelligence, but he was still New York's darling and he loved it.

McKenna arrived for work at the squad office in Police Headquarters at 9:30 A.M., half an hour early. Inspector Dennis Sheeran, the Major Case Squad CO, was sitting on McKenna's desk, waiting for him.

"There's been a murder," Sheeran announced. "Two of them, in fact."

"So?" McKenna answered. Murders were handled by the Homicide Squads, not the Major Case Squad.

"One of the victims is Cindy Barrone."

"Cindy Barrone? Who's she?"

"The married daughter of Paul Barrone."

"Uh-oh. The speaker of the city council? That Paul Barrone?"

"The very same. Her body and the body of a man not her husband were found in a lovers lane by the Cloisters a couple of hours ago. He was executed straight out, one bullet to the head, but she got it much worse. Raped, tortured, and beaten to death. Some kind of sadistic bondage thing."

"Am I being assigned to this Magilla?" McKenna asked.

"I'd say so, but I don't think it was Ray's idea. He wants to see you."

McKenna understood at once. Paul Barrone wanted that famous Detective McKenna assigned to what was sure to become a very delicate and embarrassing case, aside from being a family tragedy. But Police Commissioner Ray Brunette didn't like political interference in his department and probably would have turned him down. No problem for Barrone; he'd gone straight to the mayor. By the time His Honor spoke to Brunette, McKenna's assignment to the case was no longer a request. It was an order.

* * *

Ray Brunette was on the phone, sitting back in his chair with his feet on Teddy Roosevelt's ornate desk when McKenna entered his large office on the fourteenth floor. Although he was ten years older than McKenna, the two appeared to be about the same age. It was Brunette's confident air, his outgoing personality, his straight black hair, and his dimples that made him look under fifty. People liked him minutes after meeting him, and nobody ever thought of him as one of the old guys.

Brunette closed the conversation with "Thanks a lot, Tommy. I owe you." Then he hung up, took his feet off the desk, and turned his attention to McKenna. "Whatcha been up to, buddy?"

"Been busy, but not killing myself," McKenna answered. "I found out where Freddie Buchanan buys his crack and I thought I'd be able to grab him today."

"Freddie Buchanan? Is he the note passer?"

"That's him. Eight banks in ten weeks for a total of more than eleven thousand dollars without ever showing a weapon. From what I hear, he doesn't even have a gun. He just gives them the note and they give him the money."

"Who's been working that one with you? Cisco?"

"Yeah, but it was my case."

"Sorry, but it looks like Cisco gets the collar and the glory. I hate to do this, but I'm under some pressure and I have to give you this Barrone case."

"I haven't worked in Homicide in years, but I don't mind taking it," McKenna said, lying to make Brunette feel better. Murders were always a sad business and he hated working them. "Are the bodies still there?"

"Waiting for you."

"Who's handling from Manhattan North Homicide?"

"Tommy McKenna."

So that's the Tommy who Ray was talking to, McKenna realized, shocked that Barrone would want Brian McKenna when he already had Tommy McKenna. Tommy was widely recognized as the best homicide detective in the NYPD. He had worked on all of the famous murder cases in Manhattan and had achieved a large degree of fame by solving most of them. His exploits had been featured in a book that was still in print and selling well.

Although McKenna had never worked with Tommy, he had no doubt that Tommy knew more about murder than he did. Barrone was making a mistake. "Doesn't Barrone know that he already has the best assigned?"

"When it comes to murder, that's what I told him. But he doesn't like it. Says he doesn't want his daughter's murder showing up in a book down the line with all the gory details."

"Tommy's still going to be working this with me, isn't he?" McKenna asked.

"Sure. I'd never think of taking him off a case. As far as we're concerned, you'll be helping him out. As far as the press is concerned, he'll be helping you out."

"What does the press know so far?"

"Probably quite a bit, but they don't know yet that one of the victims is Cindy Barrone. The pressure won't be on you until you tell them."

"Who was the other victim?"

"The guy? Don't know, yet. It's Cindy's car and the killer took his wallet, so he's not ID'd yet. I'm just hoping he's not the son of some other big-shot politico."

"Where's Paul Barrone now?"

"At Cindy's house with her husband, sweating it out and cooking up a statement through his tears. I imagine he'll give his to the press right after you identify her for them and give yours."

"Once I do, the press is gonna go crazy with that old McKenna-McKenna thing."

"You mean I'm giving them a chance to find out which one of you two is really the best?"

"Exactly. They're gonna read controversy and innuendo into everything we say to each other, and they won't be afraid to print whatever they think."

"I'm not worried about that. You get along with Tommy, don't you?"

"Love him, but that won't mean much to the press once they get their imaginations going. How's he taking this?"

"Not well, at first, but I eventually got him to see things my way. Now he tells me he's looking forward to teaching you a thing or two about murder."

"Wonderful, because he's the man to do it. Probably forgot more than I ever knew."

"We'll see," Brunette said, smiling. "I think I'm gonna enjoy reading about this one."


McKenna had a hard time finding the crime scene. He cruised slowly around Fort Tryon Park without seeing any signs of police activity until he got lucky. A radio car from the 34th Precinct passed him and he followed. McKenna saw the driver, a female cop, eye him in her rearview mirror and then her partner turned around to get a quick look. They turned off the road, across the meadow, and into the woods on the narrow dirt trail for fifty yards before stopping. The road was blocked by a Crime Scene Unit van. There were many cars in front of the van including radio cars, un-marked cars, and a morgue wagon. The uniformed cops got out of their car and waited.

McKenna guessed that both were in their early thirties and had been on the Job a while. The row of medals above their shields told him they hadn't spent their time idly. Sharp cops, was his first impression. He was the serious one in the team. Dark and handsome, he reminded McKenna of Valentino. Opposites sometimes do attract, and they did in this case. She was all smiles, and she exuded personality.

"Are you gonna be working on this case, Detective McKenna?" Rynn asked.

McKenna didn't know them, but wasn't surprised at being recognized. "Yes, I am."

"Then you're probably gonna want to talk to us. We discovered the bodies."

What a piece of luck for me! McKenna thought. I'm not gonna be going in dopey when I see Tommy. "I guess you've already talked to Tommy McKenna, haven't you?"

"Yeah, talked to him for quite a while."

"Okay, now talk to me."

While Rynn told him how they had found the bodies, McKenna noticed the cops had two cardboard trays of coffee containers on their backseat. Eighteen coffees told him a lot. He was headed into a crowded crime scene that was going to be in place for a while. Traditionally, the detective boss in charge at the scene of a long, drawn-out affair bought the coffee all around, and those folks usually didn't spring unless it was absolutely necessary.

"Who's there now?" McKenna asked.

"Our captain, our sergeant, and another team from the Three-four. There's a lieutenant from the Homicide Squad who came with Tommy, but I don't know his name," Rynn said, looking to her partner for help.

"Lieutenant Greve," Cocchi piped in.

"Yeah, Lieutenant Greve," Rynn continued, counting off the cops on her fingers as she listed them. "Then there's four from the Crime Scene Unit, but the only one of them I know is Joe Walsh. A crew from Emergency Service, but I don't know if they're still there. They went down the cliff and brought Cindy Barrone's body up." Rynn turned to Cocchi. "Who am I leaving out?"

"Dr. Andino," Cocchi said.

A real high-powered crime scene, McKenna thought. The precinct CO being here is unusual. They usually deal in statistics, not specifics. And the chief medical examiner himself? A man in John Andino's position doesn't usually make house calls. John Andino, Tommy McKenna, and Joe Walsh on the case means that Cindy Barrone's murder is already being handled by the best the city of New York had to offer. "How many reporters are there?" he asked.

"Two," Rynn answered.

That didn't make sense to McKenna with a victim like Cindy Barrone. This crime scene called for a gaggle of reporters, both print and TV. "Just two?"

Rynn and Cocchi exchanged a smile. "When we saw that NYC-9 license plate, we knew these were hot murders and a big splash," Rynn explained. "We figured that maybe whoever caught it would like some time to get a story together before the press caught on and started up the pressure, so we didn't put anything over the radio."

"Nothing?" McKenna asked, impressed with Rynn and Cocchi's logic and actions. They knew that the sharper reporters monitored the police radios, but nothing?

"Not a peep, used landlines for everything," Cocchi said. "Kathy stayed here to guard the crime scene and I went to the station house. Ran the plate from there on the computer and found out who the car was registered to. Then I went in to see the captain with the news. Got a big 'attaboy,' and the captain got on the horn to everybody else. Nothing on the air."

"Captain's a sharp guy, too," McKenna said.

"A sharp lady and a square shooter," Rynn corrected, but both she and Cocchi were obviously pleased with the implied compliment. "We were set for some misery with these murders, but she saved us some problems."

"This isn't your sector?" McKenna guessed.

"Unfortunately, no, and our sergeant has been in this precinct since before we were born. A real old-timer with old-time ways."

It had been years since McKenna had worked for one of those types, but he remembered. Run afoul of them by breaking one of the sacred old rules, and each eight-hour tour seemed to last forever. But if the captain thought they had done a good job, then that was it. Case closed.

McKenna searched his mind for more questions, something to give him more of an edge over Tommy. He came up with a few. "Do you know if your spot has been used as a lovers lane before?"

"Sometimes, but they're always gone by the time we get here in the morning," Rynn said. "We find empty beer cans, wine bottles, pizza boxes, things like that."

"We like to keep our spot tidy, so we always clean up after the slobs," Cocchi added. "It's pristine, and Tommy really liked that."

Another piece of luck for Tommy and me, McKenna thought. Anything found there was probably left by the killer. Now for the small question that could tell me quite a bit. "Are two of those coffees for the reporters?"


Excerpted from Black and White by Dan Mahoney. Copyright © 1999 Dan Mahoney. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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