Book Title: Ocean Park
Author: Michael Park
Genre: Mystery with Minor Romance
All Detective Matt Conley ever wanted was to raise a family in Ocean Park with his stunning and ambitious wife Lisa. When a corpse is found in his church, Matt begins a journey that reveals corruption and decay in his city and deceit in his marriage. As he searches for the murderer of a local businessman, a gang war erupts for control of the city’s drug trade, and the body count rises. With his reluctant new partner, Detective Lloyd Kendricks, Matt weaves his way through the puzzling connections between street gangs, politicians, bikers, and a private kink club.
Will their unlikely alliance be enough to return Matt's beloved hometown to its halcyon days? And will he find the faith he needs to rebuild his crumbling marriage?
EXCERPTS (Exclusive excerpt):
The whore opened the motel room door, the light snapped on, and Vithu clutched her collar, his fist full of red pleather and fake fur. Samay saw that the tattooed letters on the back of his mentor’s fingers spelled LOVE. The irony wasn’t lost on him—the whore suddenly sported a human-hand necklace that advertised her trade.
She almost escaped before Vithu slammed the door. In fact her hand was flat on the guest instructions—CHECKOUT AT 11:00. ICE MACHINE DOWN THE HALL. Samay and the eleven others, ethereal in a cloud of hash smoke, stood around a bed with a nappy ivory spread and watched Vithu trap the girl for bauk.
Bauk—the Cambodian practice of gang raping a prostitute, was the first initiation rite for the Ocean Park Asian Boyz. Samay found her surprise exciting, delicious, as if she’d stumbled onto her own party. But tonight the party was for him, and they were guaranteed privacy. Two Ocean Park policemen, paid off by Vithu, stood sentry outside the door, easy duty on a slow Monday night.
Seconds later the girl nodded, knowing her choices were rape or a beating—and then rape. Samay was glad. They’d already spent too much time waiting. Smoked a lot of hashish and drank sweet wine. Talked too much about gang fights and Pon, the legendary Asian Boyz gang leader traveling to Ocean Park from Long Beach.
Laughter rippled, surrounding the girl as she stripped with the resignation of a prisoner walking to the gallows. She lay on the sagging mattress. Pale skin peppered with freckles and moles. Samay was first, and though he was a stranger to white women and the company of others to so intimate an act, he had no trouble performing. His friends cheered, congratulated him when he was done, then jockeyed for their place in line. The girl’s musk and sweat mixed with the sweet smoke.
There was trouble once—a question of place in line, booze-fueled threats, shoving. Vithu stepped forward and surprised everyone with a vicious chop to an ear that knocked the troublemaker down and drew blood from a gash on his scalp. The Boyz candidates quieted.
The sex was exciting, but not the way he thought it would be. Camaraderie was the high, the laughter and joy of his new friends, the ones he was pledging his life to.
When Vithu helped himself to the girl and spread his other hand next to her head, Samay saw HATE tattooed on those fingers. Vithu was a strange man.
No matter. This was the greatest night of Samay’s young life.
Bauk was good.
Brotherhood was good.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Michael Walsh attended Boston University, where he became a staffer for the Daily Free Press and earned a degree in journalism. His first professional job was at a public relations and advertising firm, writing press releases that appeared in the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, and New England Journal of Engineering. He later became a technical writer, writing and editing jet engine manuals for General Electric Aircraft Engines. GE relocated him to Cincinnati and Florida, where he currently resides. He’s written and studied fiction for years at BU, the University of Cincinnati, and now Jacksonville, where he won the First Coast Writers Festival short story contest and had work published in the UK’s Twisted Tongue and Askew Reviews. He’s an active member of the Bard Society, Florida’s longest-running writers’ workshop.
His five novels and dozens of short stories, most of them richly-layered mysteries, take place in New England. Mike and his wife Jean live in Florida with their three sons.
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