A WITNESS ABOVE by Andy Straka

A nifty detective  story featuring  falconry!   Yeah, really.   The protagonist is a former New Rochelle, NY, police officer who, along with his partner and a third officer, get booted from the force for shooting an unarmed kid as part of a robbery call.  They swear the kid had a gun — it was a dark place between cars, but when they investigated, there was no gun, only a lead pipe.  Another officer was shot and killed before they arrived as backup on the scene.

Fast forward twenty years to Charlottesville, Virginia, where Frank is training as a falconer under the mentorship of his former partner.  He works as a P.I. when he is not flying his red-tail hawk.   He is in a remote mountainous area and when his bird loses the rabbit she was after, he follows the rabbit in case it is injured and he would need to put it out of its misery.  He stumbles over a dead body — that of a teenage boy.  He sees a wallet partially hidden in the brush and picks it up with a couple of sticks, because I guess he didn’t learn squat working crime scenes in New York, sees a dollar bill partially sticking out with a series of numbers written on it…. numbers that coincidently, are the phone number of his daughter.   He takes the bill, puts the wallet back, collects his bird, and returns to where there is cell phone service and calls it in.

So, what are you guessing?  Drug dealer?  You get a smiley sticker if you guessed drug dealer.  And what has this kid got to do with Frank’s daughter?   And her exotic dancer bff?  And that shooting back in New Rochelle? And the nice lady prosecutor?

Some pretty good twists and turns here, and as I recall, this is the first of a series, so more falconry stuff to follow.  Although, really, sad to say, the falconry has much less to do with it all than  we might have wished, since the only thing we …. and I am using the Royal We here …. know about falconry is what we read in historical novels set in England back in medieval times.

Good mystery, good charactersd, all in all, happy me.

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