As regular readers of this blog know, DSP Publications acquired the rights to the BJ Vinson mystery series during last year’s holiday season. They have already begun the process of getting the basics out of the way (learning about the author, general thrust of the series, type of series -- these are associated, stand-alone books featuring continuing players which can be read in any order -- and that sort of information).The beginning of the editorial procedure on the first book is set for May 10. I understand publication follows the editorial process by around four months. So hopefully, we’ll see the new Zozobra Incident somewhere around September or October of this year. Except, it probably won’t be The Zozobra Incident by then. DSP has already alerted me they may change the titles of the novels.
At any rate, I chose a scene from Chapter 12 of The Zozobra Incident for this week’s blog post. BJ is uncomfortable with his recent suspicions about the new man in his life, Paul Barton. In the following scene, a telephone conversation with Gene Enriquez, his former APD partner, he’s relieved to learn that a witness has not been able to identify a photo of Paul’s as a suspect in the case. When he asks for the photo back, BJ discovers all may not be well, after all.
THE ZOZOBRA INCIDENT
“Yeah. Will you return the pictures to me? I need Prada’s for the file, and I’d hate for Paul’s to get into your system for no good reason.”
“He’s already in it. Don’t tell me you didn’t check for a sheet?”
“Of course not!” Then I screwed up my standard of ethics by asking why he was on record.
“Nothing serious. Drunk and disorderly at an off-campus beer party. Got into a fight with another guy, barely missed being charged with assault.”
“Oh, crap. Is it still pending?”
“Naw. He got fingerprinted, mugged, and slammed into a cell overnight. But the judge let him go with a warning.”
“When was that?”
“A year back. Nothing before or since.”
“Thanks. I owe you.”
“Man, do you ever. But there’s more. One of the guys in the Gang Unit tells me Barton flirted around with one of the gangs back in high school. There’s no evidence he actually joined, but there was some sort of blood connection, I gather.”
“Which gang?” I asked with my heart in my throat.
“Probably the Santos Morenos. That was their turf, even back then. I can check it out if you want.”
“No, thanks. Let me do it.”
I hung up and processed what I had learned. The system snares a lot of young men for one thing or the other, and Paul’s charges hadn’t been serious. A wake up call was probably what he needed at the time.
The other thing bothered me, but maybe it shouldn’t. Every kid in Albuquerque was exposed to a gang like the Saints sooner or later. And in Paul’s part of the South Valley, half the people were related by blood or marriage. The fact Gene’s contact was vague about the details was both good and bad: Bad because whatever brought Paul to his attention was enough for him to remember it years later. Good because it meant Paul hadn’t been seriously involved with the Saints or any other gang.
Hope you enjoyed the glimpse into Zozobra. As always, let me close by urging you to keep on reading and by inviting you to contact me.
See you next week.
New Posts are published at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.