Gerry’s War – firefighter crime novel

Gerry’s War is  a firefighter crime novel.  I think you’ll like this story.  It’s a sequel of sorts with a few of the same characters as Old Flames but stands on its own.  I like putting a courageous man, in this case a firefighter, into situations he’s never encountered.

If you enjoyed Old Flames and suspenseful firefighter action, you’ll be glad to see Captain Ormond back in action in Gerry‘s War.  He returns to the fire service after a year’s absence on an early firefighter pension, accepting what appears to be an easy gig as the fire chief for the City of Niagara Falls.

After a tragic commercial fire where two firefighters die due to negligence, the consequent inquiry goes awry. He is set up as the scapegoat. While battling a hostile administration, he discovers missing capital funds and high-level corruption.  A cabal in the city administration has neutered his power, limiting his actions.He discovers he’ll also take the fall for the dismantling of the department and subsequent privatization.  Unwilling to play nice he vows to set things right–his way.  What’s worse is the Red Mafiya moving into the city via their hijacking of a casino hotel project, an iconic structure. Karen, his common-law wife, is savagely beaten by her estranged husband, Branko, who is now a suspected Red Mafiya enforcer. Hunting down Branko consumes him, putting himself and Karen in harm’s way. Forces Gerry barely understand push back–hard, and more firefighters die.

While running a gauntlet of bribes, threats, and extortion, he stumbles into a federal investigation of the brutal Mafiya. The feds warn him to back off. He declares war against his enemies, jeopardizing his woman and best friend. Fire Chief Gerry Ormond is like no other chief you’ve seen.

note: The four black cards depicted on the book cover are eights and aces, supposedly the Dead Man’s Hand dealt to Wild Bill Hickok before he was shot to death.

(read excerpt below)

What’s been said:  “Especially, I enjoyed reading the sections about actually fighting fires.”  –  ECW  Press

This review is from: Gerry’s War (Kindle Edition)

“I bought Gerry’s War after getting Old Flames from the same author. It was a great read and hard to put down!” – Jennifer Hutchinson

excerpt – “Dispatch to Chief Gerry Ormond.  We are unable to strike third alarm response.”

“Repeat, please,” said Chief Ormond.  “I did not copy.”

The dispatcher repeated herself, louder and slower, as if he was a deaf idiot.

“That’s what I thought you said.  I don’t understand.  I called a third alarm, now push your buttons and get me some backup, please!”

“Sorry, Chief, I was just told that Deputy Williams is taking Command, sir.”

“The deputy?  He’s not even here.  Why in the hell would– ”

To Gerry’s surprise, a white Crown Vic flew around the showroom corner and stopped some distance behind his pump.  Deputy Chief Williams got out, pushed on his uniform cap, and marched over wearing a thick-knitted brow.  When he saw Gerry he began shaking his head.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” asked Gerry, his eyebrows forming a single angry line.  “I’m in command!  I am the only officer here – ”

“Get the hell back to your office and pretend you’re a chief.”  Williams scanned the building and sized up the situation.  He swept a hand back over his wavy black hair and adjusted put on his gold-leaved cap.

Gerry’s mouth dropped.  He had always obeyed his superiors; District Chiefs, Battalion Chiefs, Assistant Chiefs, or Platoon Chiefs.  The fire service operated on a chain-of-command, pseudo military structure.  As a firefighter and a fire officer, he respected higher ranks; experienced men who had hard-won knowledge.  The vast majority of them deserved respect.  But he’d learned to respect the man first, then the uniform.

“You can’t waltz in here and yank this baby away.  The situation is being handled.”

“You should have been in there already,” spat Williams.

Gerry frowned.  “We got a first response rig out of service and the Quint’s just getting set up.  There are no officers on-scene.”

Deputy Williams flashed the throat-cut signal to the Quint crew and radioed them not to set up the water tower.  The ladder was already a few feet off the bed.  The Quint crew stopped their operations and glanced at each other, confusion on their faces.

“What are you doing?” asked Gerry, heat beginning to flush his head.  “It’s gone through the roof into the tar.  We need water on it.”  He turned to the men at the Quint.  “Get that thing up!” he yelled and made a frantic flapping motion with his arm.  He turned to Deputy Williams. “This pump has water.  We’ve got a hydrant.”

Williams ignored Gerry and barked at the men again.

“Command to Dispatch, this is Chief Ormond.  I am in command at this fire.  All units will ignore any further orders from Deputy Chief Williams.  I need more units here, Dispatch.  You copy?”

Not even a crackle came from his portable radio.  He hit it with his palm.

Williams’ round face turned beet red.  He stepped toward Gerry and swatted the portable radio from his hands to the pavement.  “I cancelled third alarm units.  We got enough on scene.”

Gerry grabbed Williams by the lapels of his double-breasted tunic and roughly shoved the man.

Firefighter Trufel’s eyes widened.

A gold button from Williams’ tunic spun away as he stumbled backwards and made a deft snatch for his tilting cap.  Employees from the dealership looked on in astonishment and great concern.

In the corner of Gerry’s eye, he saw a news van pull up at the curb.  “Are you insane, Deputy?  This building’s going to burn down,” said Gerry.

Williams charged at Gerry and shoved him against the side of the truck.  Gerry clenched a fist and took a few steps toward him.  Trufel quickly stepped between them, not sure how far to go with this.  He picked up the radio and handed the radio to Gerry who turned away and fiddled with the channel selector.  The dispatcher informed Gerry he was not on the fire channel and demanded to know who was in command.

“You prick!” he said to Williams.  “You changed operation channels on me!”  Gerry cursed so viciously, his head swung to one side and his helmet flew off.  His teeth grated as he glared at his Deputy Chief.   Another wheel fell off, making him wonder if there were any left.

He reset his portable radio channel to the dispatch channel and keyed his mike.  “All units.  This is Chief Ormond, the big Chief, the head honcho, and I am in command.  Where’s my third alarm response?”

“Dispatch to Chief Ormond.  We have no more units available.  Deputy Williams cancelled them and is in command.  Please refrain from communication.”

If that dispatcher was standing next to him Gerry would’ve strangled him.

A staccato burst of explosions, like a string of firecrackers, sounded in the building.  Smoke swirled around them from the opened door.

Gerry turned to his mixed crew.  “We’ve got to get the attack going.  I can’t argue with this asshole all day,” shouted Gerry, looking squarely at his DC, then turned to the two men from the Quint.  “You two got a choice here, guys – me or this fucking prick who cancelled more rigs.  I’m going with my original plan for Fire Attack Two.”

The men nodded tentatively.  Gerry went to the rig for an air tank.  Williams returned to his car.

Gerry stepped from the rig and went to the front of the cab to grab the clipboard with the incident sheet on it.  He walked over to the deputy’s car and flung it at the open window, hitting the door post.  Williams flinched.

“Thanks for the help, Deputy Asshole,” said Gerry.  “You can clean up this mess.  There’s enough paper on there to write another thesis.”

Gerry keyed the mike on the dispatch channel hoping someone on scene was monitoring it.  “Pump One to all units.  Chief Ormond and two men are now Fire Attack Two, going in through the east service bay.”

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” asked Williams, yelling as he emerged from the car, knuckles white on the clipboard.

“Stepping into my office,” answered Gerry, walking over to his crew.

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