A New Prospect
by Wayne Zurl
Black Rose Writing

"Few people believe me when I speak about my life altering experience at the checkout in Wal-Mart."

After retiring as a big-city cop, Sam Jenkins bought the local newspaper while shopping in small-town Prospect, Tennessee. He'd read about how the local police chief was arrested for trying to sell illegal firearms. Jenkins soon takes on the police chiefs job with misgivings about a new career at his advanced age, but a badge in his pocket feels very familiar. Then a murder investigation arises, involving an innocent man and the complications begin.

In the end Jenkins solves the case and continues to cope with his own demons, but retains his hard-nosed, wise-cracking style of classic detectives such as Raymond Chandler's Phillip Marlowe. Like all such remarkable characters, this self-described tough guy has his sentimental side. He muses about a second retirement. After his first one, he recalls getting a lapel pin and a watch. He has never worn the watch. The pin is a dinosaur. But he did get emotional for a brief time about a plaque he received from members of the last section he commanded before he retired. He was proud of them: They spelled everything correctly.

Author Zurl is retired from the Suffolk County, New York police department. As the author of seven Sam Jenkins novelettes, his experience helped him master writing in an authentic, laid-back, hard-bitten police procedure style. Written in the first-person, his hero Jenkins is a Vietnam vet who drinks gin and tonic to help with the bad dreams. Zurl's spare style quickly captures his heros nature, but the characters are also offered in condensed and pithy bites such as an unhappy 62-year-old "painfully thin woman... who no longer feels remotely attractive, although people used to call her pretty." These descriptions capture Zurl's eye for the old style in a modern world.

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