Four to Midnight [NOOK Book]

Overview

Sometimes the hardest thing for a cop to do is the right thing.

A black city councilman is badly beaten on a West Philadelphia street and blames two of Sgt. Eddie North's best cops. They deny it. Eddie, uncertain of what really happened, decides to back his men—and finds himself accused of a conspiracy to cover up the truth.

The media, the politicians and the public are outraged. And then a man in a black ski ...

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Four to Midnight

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Overview

Sometimes the hardest thing for a cop to do is the right thing.

A black city councilman is badly beaten on a West Philadelphia street and blames two of Sgt. Eddie North's best cops. They deny it. Eddie, uncertain of what really happened, decides to back his men—and finds himself accused of a conspiracy to cover up the truth.

The media, the politicians and the public are outraged. And then a man in a black ski mask begins a campaign to assassinate cops.

As Eddie races to learn what was really behind the beating, there's even more trouble. A fellow sergeant has taken advantage of the confusion in the city and formed a ring of corrupt officers—including one of the two cops Eddie is risking his career for.

The widening conflict between the police and the black community is mirrored by the battle of cop against cop. And with the stakes so high, there are no winners—just those strong enough, and lucky enough, to survive.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Flander certainly knows his Philadelphia and his cops. As in his highly praised first novel (Sons of the City), the Philadelphia Daily News reporter plunges readers directly into Sgt. Eddie North's daily life as a cop in a city riven by racial tension. When Sonny Knight, a powerful African-American city councilman, is found beaten on the streets of West Philadelphia, he accuses the first two white police officers to arrive on the scene of inflicting the damage-and then adds Eddie's name to his list when North answers their call for backup. Eddie knows he's innocent, and neither of his cops appears to have been involved in any violence. But the city's police and political leaders, already under pressure from the controversial case of a radical black college professor charged with killing a white cop, seem less than eager to believe North and his men-especially when one of the accused cops appears to have a hidden history of mayhem. Under investigation by internal affairs, Eddie risks his beloved job and several police department friendships as he tries to come up with reasons for Councilman Knight to have lied about his beating. Flander is especially good at showing how decent people on both sides of a racial quagmire can be dangerously blinkered and how easily hard-won loyalties and friendships can be destroyed. Agent, Barbara Lowenstein. (July 8) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061850059
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 106,908
  • File size: 386 KB

Meet the Author

Scott Flander, a reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News, is the author of Sons of the City. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Karen.

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Read an Excerpt

Four to Midnight

A Novel
By Scott Flander

Harper Collins Publishers

Copyright © 2003 Scott Flander All right reserved. ISBN: 0060188987

Chapter One

Every cop who's been on the job for a while can tell you about the call.

That one call over Police Radio, that if he had to do it all over again, there's no way in the world he'd answer it. Maybe he'd pretend his radio was turned off, or its battery was dead. As a last resort, he might try to leave work early - Hey, Sarge, I don't feel so good, I've been throwing up, I really think I should go home right away.

It might be an innocent-sounding call, part of the daily routine. Or one that hints of danger, the dispatcher's voice suddenly tense, just slightly higher pitched. A call out of nowhere, out of the air, a voice that breaks the silence as the patrol car cruises through the familiar streets. The cop doesn't know it yet, has no way of knowing, but it's the call. And once he answers it, it changes his life forever.

For me, it came late one night, near the end of my shift. I was already making plans, thinking about seeing Michelle and having that first cold beer.

"Twenty-C-Charlie, we have a request for a supervisor."

No big deal, I thought. It just meant one of my cops needed me, probably for something minor, maybe even idiotic. Uh, Sarge, we just broke up a fight between like eight dogs - dowe got to do paperwork on it?

This time, it was Mutt and Roy who wanted me. Mutt had radioed in, asking for a supervisor at 43rd and Market. The dispatcher, knowing I was the only 20th District sergeant on the street that night, relayed the request to me.

I headed down Market toward 43rd, past the darkened, run-down stores, the Chinese take-outs, the grim bars we were always going into to break up fights. The bars always seemed to have two or three black guys standing out front, hands in their pockets, doing nothing. I never understood that. Why would you want to be outside the bar, rather than inside?

There was no one at 43rd and Market, the intersection was clear. But then I saw, halfway down 43rd, Mutt and Roy's patrol car, overhead lights flashing, pulled up behind another vehicle. It looked like a routine car-stop.

I knew this block of 43rd pretty well, it was a real dead zone. On one side was a long stretch of empty lots, with an abandoned row-house here and there, like some homeless guy with just a couple of teeth left. On the other side of the street was a fenced-in, ramshackle used-car lot with bright plastic triangle-flags strung from pole to pole. As if in this neighborhood, all you needed was a little optimism.

I stopped my car behind Mutt and Roy's. Through the hazy darkness I could see them standing with a man next to his car, a black man in a suit and tie. I got out, and walked up to them, and saw that the man had a bald, round head and a graying beard. And that he was covered with blood.

It was everywhere, over his tailored brown suit, his white shirt, soaking the handkerchief that he was holding to his face.

He seemed filled with relief when he saw me, saw my stripes.

"Thank God someone's here," he said. He looked dazed, not quite sure where he was. He was leaning against his car for support.

Mutt and Roy glanced at me with worried looks.

"What's going on?" I asked them.

Mutt shook his head. "You tell us, Sarge."

"Get them away from me," the man said.

"Who?" I asked.

He seemed baffled at the question. "Who?" he repeated. His eyes flicked from Mutt to Roy, then back, as if he were expecting a punch at any moment.

He coughed and winced, grabbing his left side. Something was wrong with his ribs.

Mutt turned to me, half in panic. "We didn't touch him, Sarge. We found him like this."

The man seemed familiar, I had the feeling I knew who he was. But he still had the handkerchief to his face, and the street was full of shadows.

He looked at me and said in a calm voice, "They think they can get away with this."

He took the handkerchief away, and I could see bloody cuts on top of his smooth head, over his eyes, on his swollen lip.

And in the dim light, I recognized him.

I clicked the shoulder mike for my radio, and tilted my head down to talk.

"This is Twenty-C-Charlie, we need Rescue at this location."

"Councilman," I said, trying to keep my voice steady, "what happened here?"

Mutt and Roy jerked their heads at me, then back at the black man in the suit and tie.

"Oh, shit," said Roy. "This is Sonny Knight."

The man glanced at Roy, then turned to me. "Sergeant, get them away from me. Please."

I motioned for Mutt and Roy to step back.

"Sarge," said Mutt, "I hope you don't think ... "

"Just move back," I said, motioning again with my hand. They obeyed.

"Sir," I said. "Tell me what happened."

He wiped his face again. The bleeding had mostly stopped, but a few cuts were still leaking.

"Those two attacked me," he said, pointing at Mutt and Roy. "I thought they were going to kill me."

"Huh?" said Mutt. "What're you talking about?"

Knight kept his eyes on me. "I want them placed under arrest. Right now."

He rose to his full height. More confident, now that I was there.

I tried to think clearly. Mutt and Roy couldn't have just beaten the shit out of Councilman Sonny Knight. They couldn't have.

Take it slowly, I told myself. One step at a time ...

(Continues...)


Excerpted from Four to Midnight by Scott Flander
Copyright © 2003 by Scott Flander
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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Table of Contents

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First Chapter

Chapter One

Every cop who's been on the job for a while can tell you about the call.

That one call over Police Radio, that if he had to do it all over again, there's no way in the world he'd answer it. Maybe he'd pretend his radio was turned off, or its battery was dead. As a last resort, he might try to leave work early -- Hey, Sarge, I don't feel so good, I've been throwing up, I really think I should go home right away.

It might be an innocent-sounding call, part of the daily routine. Or one that hints of danger, the dispatcher's voice suddenly tense, just slightly higher pitched. A call out of nowhere, out of the air, a voice that breaks the silence as the patrol car cruises through the familiar streets. The cop doesn't know it yet, has no way of knowing, but it's the call. And once he answers it, it changes his life forever.

For me, it came late one night, near the end of my shift. I was already making plans, thinking about seeing Michelle and having that first cold beer.

"Twenty-C-Charlie, we have a request for a supervisor."

No big deal, I thought. It just meant one of my cops needed me, probably for something minor, maybe even idiotic. Uh, Sarge, we just broke up a fight between like eight dogs -- do we got to do paperwork on it?

This time, it was Mutt and Roy who wanted me. Mutt had radioed in, asking for a supervisor at 43rd and Market. The dispatcher, knowing I was the only 20th District sergeant on the street that night, relayed the request to me.

I headed down Market toward 43rd, past the darkened, run-down stores, the Chinese take-outs, the grim bars we were always going into to break up fights. The bars always seemed to have two or three black guys standing out front, hands in their pockets, doing nothing. I never understood that. Why would you want to be outside the bar, rather than inside?

There was no one at 43rd and Market, the intersection was clear. But then I saw, halfway down 43rd, Mutt and Roy's patrol car, overhead lights flashing, pulled up behind another vehicle. It looked like a routine car-stop.

I knew this block of 43rd pretty well, it was a real dead zone. On one side was a long stretch of empty lots, with an abandoned row-house here and there, like some homeless guy with just a couple of teeth left. On the other side of the street was a fenced-in, ramshackle used-car lot with bright plastic triangle-flags strung from pole to pole. As if in this neighborhood, all you needed was a little optimism.

I stopped my car behind Mutt and Roy's. Through the hazy darkness I could see them standing with a man next to his car, a black man in a suit and tie. I got out, and walked up to them, and saw that the man had a bald, round head and a graying beard. And that he was covered with blood.

It was everywhere, over his tailored brown suit, his white shirt, soaking the handkerchief that he was holding to his face.

He seemed filled with relief when he saw me, saw my stripes.

"Thank God someone's here," he said. He looked dazed, not quite sure where he was. He was leaning against his car for support.

Mutt and Roy glanced at me with worried looks.

"What's going on?" I asked them.

Mutt shook his head. "You tell us, Sarge."

"Get them away from me," the man said.

"Who?" I asked.

He seemed baffled at the question. "Who?" he repeated. His eyes flicked from Mutt to Roy, then back, as if he were expecting a punch at any moment.

He coughed and winced, grabbing his left side. Something was wrong with his ribs.

Mutt turned to me, half in panic. "We didn't touch him, Sarge. We found him like this."

The man seemed familiar, I had the feeling I knew who he was. But he still had the handkerchief to his face, and the street was full of shadows.

He looked at me and said in a calm voice, "They think they can get away with this."

He took the handkerchief away, and I could see bloody cuts on top of his smooth head, over his eyes, on his swollen lip.

And in the dim light, I recognized him.

I clicked the shoulder mike for my radio, and tilted my head down to talk.

"This is Twenty-C-Charlie, we need Rescue at this location."

"Councilman," I said, trying to keep my voice steady, "what happened here?"

Mutt and Roy jerked their heads at me, then back at the black man in the suit and tie.

"Oh, shit," said Roy. "This is Sonny Knight."

The man glanced at Roy, then turned to me. "Sergeant, get them away from me. Please."

I motioned for Mutt and Roy to step back.

"Sarge," said Mutt, "I hope you don't think ... "

"Just move back," I said, motioning again with my hand. They obeyed.

"Sir," I said. "Tell me what happened."

He wiped his face again. The bleeding had mostly stopped, but a few cuts were still leaking.

"Those two attacked me," he said, pointing at Mutt and Roy. "I thought they were going to kill me."

"Huh?" said Mutt. "What're you talking about?"

Knight kept his eyes on me. "I want them placed under arrest. Right now."

He rose to his full height. More confident, now that I was there.

I tried to think clearly. Mutt and Roy couldn't have just beaten the shit out of Councilman Sonny Knight. They couldn't have.

Take it slowly, I told myself. One step at a time ...

Four to Midnight. Copyright © by Scott Flander. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    great police procedural

    In Philadelphia, two white police officers Mutt and Roy, call for supervisory help. Sergeant Eddie North arrives only to have African-American Councilman Sonny Knight scream at him to get the two cops away from him. Later, Sonny accuses Mutt and Roy of beating him up and adds Eddie to his list of accusation. Both officers deny ever touching Sonny and Eddie believes them because he knows he is innocent and neither of the policemen on the scene showed any sins of using force, let alone excessive. <P>However, the brass, the politicians, and the media think otherwise forcing an Internal Affairs investigation. As this scenario further splits a city divided over another controversial case, Eddie tries to learn why Sonny lied, but soon finds he is drowning in a polluted cesspool of corruption, bad cops, and duality racism. <P>The inquiries made by the IA staff and by Eddie are intelligent and entertaining so that police procedural fans have a powerful enjoyable tale. However, FOUR TO MIDNIGHT is more than another urban police story. Instead the theme focuses on how racism engulfs everyone in a swamp and destroys the innocent and their friendships. Thus the audience receives a superb police procedural with a cleverly interwoven powerful message. <P>Harriet Klausner

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