Michael A. “Mike” Stern has always believed in the power of the written word. His career includes success as a journalist, fund raiser, and an English Language Arts teacher. The native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania uses his writing skills to provide a glimpse of inner city decline, senseless murder, hatred and the potential for a deadly attack on a major metropolitan area with his first novel, “Inner City Fields of Fire”. Mr. Stern, a graduate of Olney High and Temple University in Philadelphia, has written for publications such as The Reporter (Lansdale, PA), The Dallas Morning News (Dallas, TX), “D” Magazine (Dallas, TX) and the Fort Worth Star Telegram (Fort Worth, TX). A resident of suburban Dallas, he also covers professional hockey for the website www.insidehockey.com. He also serves as an in game host, analyst and reporter for Arlington, Texas-based Time Warner Cable SportsChannel. Mr. Stern, who has a son, Jordan Stern, resides in Little Elm, TX. His community involvement includes the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas. He is also a public address announcer at area sporting events, and is a public speaker at youth sports banquets.
Inner City Fields of Fireby Mike Stern
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The war on drugs leads to just that – a war. West Philadelphia drug lord “Tank” Griffin organizes a well-armed band of drug slingers and fiends to stage an attack so calculated and cold-blooded that it immediately claims dozens of innocent victims, many of them African-American citizens. The attack begins on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, taking everyone by surprise. Truth be told, this is merely the first of two shocking, galling and deadly offensives designed to leave an irreparable imprint on the nation’s fifth-largest city – the City of Brotherly Love.
The unbelievable machine gun, assault rifle, anti tank and mortar fire takes its toll on victims as well as century-old residences not far from where law enforcement dropped a bomb on the radical group MOVE’s Osage Avenue headquarters in May, 1985. As Tank’s well-armed, drug-induced forces inside a once-abandoned apartment complex repels law enforcement’s efforts to quell the uprising, citizens locally, along the Eastern Seaboard and nationally fear that perhaps the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01 have moved into urban America.
Philadelphia native Mike Stern’s riveting, action-packed drama illustrates the deadly havoc that well-organized urban warfare would wreak, and how far a drug lord’s hatred for a city will take him in his quest to kill and destroy.
The fast-moving, suspenseful tale introduces South Philadelphia narcotics detective Ryan “Nick” Hennessey, who possesses an ability to wring confessions from his perpetrators, and a strong devotion to and love for his native city.
His adversary, Robert “Tank” Griffin, holds sway over most of West Philadelphia’s open air markets and shooting galleries. Tank’s hatred for the city of Philadelphia reaches its zenith when law enforcement’s Operation Westbust begins infringing on his lucrative business locales. He counters with a well-planned onslaught at the intersections of 48th and Locust and Spruces Streets overlooking the athlete fields of nearby West Philadelphia High School, touching off what Tank plans as his final farewell to the city he has grown to hate.
As bodies begin falling in West Philadelphia on Saturday morning of Labor Day weekend, Nick listens to incoming radio updates at the 15th District in Northeast Philadelphia. He has been assigned to desk duty there pending an investigation of how and why he fatally shot three well-heeled assailants – members of City Council, in fact -- in a dubious South Philly ambush. Knowing that the homicides were perfectly justifiable, and wanting to restore order to a West Philadelphia where he had once frequently visited his Irish emigrant grandparents, he must take it upon himself to investigate how he can quell the deadly onslaught.
As Tank’s crew repels SWAT and National Guard-led counter-attacks while increasing the body count and collateral damage in West Philly, Nick zigzags by auto, subway surface trolley and elevated/subway train all over the city to chase down members of the drug lord’s crew and learn of the attack’s reasons and origins. Only after traveling to Atlantic City, NJ and midtown Manhattan can he begin to contemplate the scope of Tank’s deadly offensive. He also must determine the most effective way to stop Tank’s forces – all without the assistance of anyone connected to the Philadelphia Police Department.
He comes to a shocking conclusion, but will his discovery enable him to fulfill his desperate hope of saving the City of Brotherly Love?
- Michael Stern
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