The First Domino
by Dennis Collins
Tired of his job and wanting to be higher up on the Mafia chain, Joe Pellerito decides to make a name for himself by murdering three Detroit police officers. Unfortunately, the mob has adopted a more subtle relationship with authority. The Family would rather work behind the scenes.
Otis Springfield, in charge of the triple homicide, is also dealing with the death of his mother and the discovery of his father’s wartime record. Springfield and his task force slowly uncover a possible suspect – Pellerito. Unfortunately, the head of the mob has also discovered Joe’s crimes. Pellerito is forced to flee and it’s a race between the Mafia and the police to capture a man who only wanted a little recognition for his efforts.
I liked the premise of the story. It’s something a little different. The subplot regarding Springfield’s father was interesting.
Joe Pellerito: Dispatcher for a gravel hauling company, father was in the Mafia, named after a boxer whose real name wasn’t Joe, physically fit, was barely edged out of playing college football, black hair
Otis Springfield: Black, new Acting Lt. in Detroit homicide, father was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in WWII where he also died, athletic stature, tall, married with children, only child
Albert McCoy: Sergeant in Detroit homicide, dust colored hair, hunts partridges, not computer savvy, wants to be an author, grew up in farm country
Michael O’Conner: private investigator and reserve police officer with computer skills
Although there are definite backgrounds for each character, I didn’t find them too exciting. I also thought Pellerito lacked intelligence and common sense. A man on the run would not immediately flee to a foreign city where his relatives live and act the way he does while trying to create a new existence. This would be, and was, the first place the mob looked and soon after, the cops discovered the Italian connection.
No distinctive voices. Every conversation sounded similar.
Relatively short chapters. Two instances of mild profanity which is okay, however, the story is about cops and mobsters. There is no need to overdo the bad language, but both parties would definitely use more colorful words.
The action was quick and precise. However, there are obvious problems. Spelling and punctuation errors, including missing quote marks at the beginning of paragraphs in extended dialogue. Pellerito is spelled with two L’s most times, but with one ‘L’ at least once. A lot of little things didn’t seem either plausible or believable. One instance has the cops thinking the killer may have worn surgical gloves while driving a stolen truck. No explanation is given for this conclusion.