The Mob, a barrel, a body, and a big case
14 Peck Slip by Ed Dee (1994)
This was probably the first cop novel I ever read. I think I was in the academy when I picked it up. There was no great interest in wearing the blue growing up, but the job grew on me, and this book helped.
14 Peck Slip is retired Lieutenant Ed Dee’s first foray into novel writing. He was a Bronx cop who ended his career in OCCB (Organized Crime Control Bureau) around 1982. He calls upon his OCCB experience in this first novel.
The book is set in the early 80’s and introduces the reader to two OCCB Detectives, Anthony Ryan and Joe Gregory. (Ryan being the narrator for the book). This pair would appear in several of Dee’s other novels that followed.
The story starts out on the east river docks back before they became a tony strip mall. The mob ran the fish market, and all sorts of criminality was run out of the surrounding warehouses. A detective could walk out of the back of The Puzzle Palace (1 Police Plaza) and be steps away from the nefarious underworld.
And that is how this book starts. Two detectives watching mobbed up guys dumping a sealed barrel off pier 17. Acting on a hunch, the two get NYPD divers in the water and they find a barrel. A different barrel. With a body in it. (they probably missed another dozen that are still down there)
The body is that of a missing cop that disappeared during the Knapp Commission era. Our two protagonists have a caper on their hands that touches the bad old days of police corruption.
Dee uses his personal experience to paint a vivid picture of the NYPD and the city. He knows what he is talking about, and it is evidenced on every page. You get insight into detective work before cell phones and computers. Dee does a good job of portraying the relationship between the partners and how their styles complement each other. It’s a first novel for Dee but the characters are well developed, gritty, and realistic. You can imagine yourself in a squad room with the two of them.
Too much TV will rot your brain, so, this weekend we recommend you put down the remote and grab a paperback. 14 Peck Slip is a quick and enjoyable read. You will breeze through it and maybe look to his other novels to get some more of Detectives Ryan and Gregory. I found a copy at my local library, or you could pick up a used copy on Amazon for $5.
Thanks for following The Ops Desk and have a great weekend!