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Back to Brooklyn

Back to Brooklyn

by Lawrence Kelter


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Gambini is back! Hot on the heels of rescuing his cousin Bill and Bill’s friend Stan from an Alabama electric chair, our wildly inappropriate hero, Vincent Gambini heads home to Brooklyn where he attempts to establish a successful law career. Meanwhile, Lisa aches to have a wedding band placed around her finger and her biological clock is still ticking away like mad.

In the course of building his practice, Vinny is reunited with Joe, his walking, talking embarrassment of a brother and his dear old friend Judge Henry Molloy, who refers him the mother of all capital murder cases.

Theresa Cototi is young and pretty but far from innocent. Her boyfriend has just been scraped off the pavement after taking a dive from eight stories up and she’s going to trial, charged with murder one.

Aided by Lisa and a ragtag team of misfits, Vinny defends his client against overwhelming odds. In the balance hangs the life of a woman he believes to be innocent. Or is she?

Yes, Vinny may have finally won his first case but his and Lisa’s story is far from over.


“Top-notch fun.” —Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Order

“Lawrence Kelter is an exciting new novelist, who reminds me of an early Robert Ludlum.” —Nelson DeMille, New York Times bestselling author of Radiant Angel

“Like visiting with old friends, Back to Brooklyn captures the fun and spontaneity of every lawyer’s favorite legal comedy, My Cousin Vinny.” —William Landay, New York Times bestselling author of Defending Jacob

“This is the kind of book you will want to read again and again. I loved it!” —J. Carson Black, New York Times bestselling author

“The characters of Back to Brooklyn have not only arrived back into my life like long-lost friends, but the novel has got me down on the floor laughing my tail off.” —Vincent Zandri, New York Times bestselling author of The Corruptions

“...a murder mystery set in Brooklyn that is full of local flavor, twists and turns, and is just plain funny as hell. I loved it!” —Scott Pratt, bestselling author of the Joe Dillard series

“...clever, crisp, fun. I dare you not to laugh.” —Diane Capri, New York Times bestselling author of The Hunt for Jack Reacher series

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781943402830
Publisher: Down & Out Books II, LLC
Publication date: 05/22/2017
Pages: 358
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.80(d)

Read an Excerpt

Back to Brooklyn

Based on characters created by Dale Launer from the screenplay My Cousin Vinny

By Lawrence Kelter

Down & Out Books

Copyright © 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-943402-83-0


Here is a preview of The Place of Refuge by Albert Tucher, published by Shotgun Honey ...


"Now that," Coutinho said, "is not what the Chamber of Commerce wants to see."

As soon as said the words, he wanted them back. It wasn't his style to get flippant over a body.

He had seen death before. Even in paradise people had fatal accidents. Bar fights could end as badly in Hilo as anywhere else, and Hawaii had its share of unfortunates with no one but the police to find them in the end.

But this kind of butchery was something new. Even in Honolulu the cops didn't see much of it, and the Big Island wasn't the big city.

His partner circled the body at a distance to get a look at the woman's face.

"Gladys Robles," said Kim. "Can't say she deserved to go like this."

"Who does?"

Coutinho found the odors of death, of blood and bowels, more oppressive than usual. A glance told him that Kim felt the same.

Here was the vulnerability of prostitutes, spelled out in smears of blood on the wall and puddles of it on the floor. The body's position suggested that Gladys had slid down the wall as she lost consciousness. There were some distinct handprints among the streaks of blood, but they were probably hers.

If they were lucky, some of the blood would be the moke's. He might have cut himself in his killing frenzy.

Coutinho didn't feel lucky.

The crime scene techs obviously wanted the detectives out of the way. Coutinho turned and left the hotel room with Kim behind him. In the hallway the Filipino housekeeper who had found the body leaned against the wall as if grateful for its support. She was new enough on the island to be wondering whether this kind of thing came with her job.

"Did you see the young lady arrive?"

"Yes, I see her. She give me forty dollars."

To clean up after the day's work and keep an eye on things as much as she could.

"How about her gentlemen callers?"

"I see a couple of them. I have my work to do."

"So you didn't see the last one?"

"No, Sir."

If she had, Coutinho might be working a double murder.

"Thanks. You can go back to work."

Or back home to Manila, if her nerve failed her. He wouldn't blame her if it did.

He would have to talk to the desk clerk and the maintenance workers, but he expected similar answers from them.

Right now he decided to get a breath of air. Outside it was misting a little, but real rain had been scarce for months. From the sidewalk in front of the hotel he could see a piece of Hilo Bay, with the usual dark clouds on the horizon. They seemed to warn coastal dwellers to head for higher ground.

Coutinho lifted the hem of his aloha shirt and took his cell phone from his belt. Lieutenant Tanaka answered the second ring.

"How bad?" said Tanaka.

"I hope they don't come much worse."

"Anything to work with?"

"Doesn't look like he cooperated by dropping his driver's license or anything."

"So if the techs get no fingerprints or DNA, we'll have to wait for the moke to do it again."


Jessie looked at Teddy Dias and thought about having his children.

What got her thinking that way was the look of fatherly indulgence on his face, which was a little weird, considering. Teddy was watching two of his underlings administer a beat-down to a surfer-dealer named Vince, who had come up short on his money.

Vince wasn't enjoying himself, but he seemed to realize that it could be worse. The two men using their fists on him worked without noticeable enthusiasm. The crowd in Lori's Bar stayed true to the North Shore surfer's code of conduct and went about their drinking and palavering as if they saw nothing. And Jessie found herself ignoring the spectacle in favor of June Cleaver fantasies of life with Teddy.

It was more than a little weird.

"Okay," said Teddy. "Gabe, Frank, that's enough."

Gabe was holding Vince up while Frank gave the surfer's ribs some extra attention. Frank let fly with one more gut punch.

"Frank," said Teddy, "that was unnecessary."

The false benevolence was supposed to make Vince feel grateful to the same man who had ordered his pain. Teddy knew it, Vince knew it, and Jessie understood it too. She could tell that Frank didn't take the rebuke seriously.

Gabe let Vince fall to the floor, which was probably the worst part of his punishment. Six different kinds of tetanus lurked down there.

Teddy reached his arm around Jessie's shoulders. She recalled the first time he had done that. She had wanted to cringe, but at some point that urge had faded. She could feel the thrum of blood under his skin. He would be hot for her tonight, and she wouldn't have a problem with that.

Across the table, Teddy's new friend Chuey put a sycophantic grin on his face.

"Hey, Teddy, you run a tight operation. My uncle's gonna like that."

Jessie didn't like the young man, but she didn't expect her opinion to count. Teddy stroked her hair.

"So," he said, "how'd you like to go to Mexico."

"As long as it's with you, Teddy."

He turned back toward Chuey and grinned.

"The boss here says we're good to go. Let's talk details."

From the beginning Jessie had pretended that details bored her. She still had trouble believing that Teddy bought her airhead act, but here was this up-and-coming pakalolo dealer talking shop right in front of her.

She listened for a while, but not long enough to make him wonder. Then she turned to Delilah.

"Am I going to like Nogales?"

Chuey's girlfriend smiled back.

"Home is where the heart is. I like it because Chuey's there."

"You ever feel homesick?"

"A little, but not for here. For Vegas. That's where I met Chuey."

"How long you been in Vegas?"

"Couple of years."

Jessie knew that story. Economic refugees from Hawaii made a major contribution toward keeping the Vegas casinos and hotels going. At some point, someone from Hawaii must have caught on in Nevada and told his cousins and his cousins' friends, and now there was a revolving door.

"What brings you back here?" said Jessie.


Family. The word explained a lot in Hawaii.

"Chuey wants to meet them. Seriously, though, you'll like Mexico. There's even a few of us there."

"No kidding."

"One guy I'm thinking of in particular. King Kamehameha come back to life."

"What's his name?"

"Hosea," said Delilah.

Jessie didn't realize at first that she was staring, but then she noticed the strange look that Delilah was giving her.

"Hosea what?"

"Huh," said Delilah after a moment. "I don't think I ever heard his last name. He's just Hosea. That's kind of the way it goes there. Lots of people are vague about who they are, or how they got there. Especially how they got there."

Jessie got up from her seat.

"Going to the ladies'."

Delilah didn't get up to go with her, which surprised Jessie a little. Delilah was usually big on the girl stuff. But if she didn't want to come along, that would make things simpler.

Teddy nodded, only half hearing. Jessie made her way toward the rest rooms. Coming into Lori's earlier, she had suppressed her disgust as her flip flops stuck and pulled loose from the floor with each step. Now she barely noticed.

Inside the women's room she glanced around. Just to make sure, she stooped and checked under the door of each stall. Unless someone was standing on a toilet, she had the place to herself.

She needed to make this fast. Delilah could change her mind, and Teddy was capable of the odd attack of paranoia. He might bull his way right in here. She speed-dialed a phone number filed under "Janice" in her contacts.

"Hey, Jess," said a woman's voice. It was always a woman. Teddy might be listening, and she couldn't have a man answering her friend Janice's number.

"Green," said Jessie.

It was the color of the day. If she didn't work it into whatever she said, they would come running to get her out of trouble.

"What's up?" said Detective Ronald Tedeschi.

"Teddy's going to Mexico. I can go if you want me to."

"Damn, that's huge."

She could almost hear him thinking over the airwaves.

"I told you something like this could happen, but I didn't really think it would. This is going to go interagency."

Which meant more opportunities for bureaucratic fuckups.


"Soon." She said. "Any day."

"I'll set something up. Can you get away?"

"I can always go shopping."

"Damn," said Tedeschi again. "This is where we find out what you're made of. You'll be pretty much on your own."

I'm counting on it, Jessie thought.

That was the one thing she couldn't tell anyone.


Curled up on his left side, Teddy snored. He had dropped the tough-guy front he showed the world, and she saw the little boy he had once been. That wasn't something she could afford to consider, not if she wanted to keep her focus on putting him in prison.

But sometimes she couldn't avoid thinking about it. Everyone she met in this new life, every dealer, user, enforcer, or hooker, had been a child. The difference was, she never saw them sleeping.

She slid out of bed and stood naked on the small patch of floor. She usually slept naked anyway, and Teddy wouldn't have had it any other way last night.

Outside was still darkness, but the usual rapid island transition to daylight would come any minute. Jessie picked Teddy's T-shirt up from the floor and pulled it over her head. She stooped again and found her cell phone in the tangle of her clothes. She headed down the narrow hallway to the door of the trailer.

Jessie climbed down to the ground and took a seat in one of the plastic chairs under the awning that Teddy had attached to his trailer. She speed dialed another number from her contacts. Tedeschi had warned her about storing numbers from her real life, but she could trust her mother to give nothing away. Not that Mom was especially protective of her daughter. Mom never told anybody anything.

She would be up at this early hour. It came with owning a restaurant.

"Mom, it's Jessie."


"Tell me about Mexico."


"Because I'm going."


"You know why."

"It's a big country."

"I have a name and a location. Nogales. That's the last information you have, right?"

"Twenty years ago."

"Well, somebody named Hosea is there, and he sounds right. I can't afford to miss the chance."

"Why do you care after all this time?"

"I never stopped caring. But like you said, Mexico is a big country. I couldn't search it all, but Nogales, maybe I can."

The daylight was complete. Soon Teddy would start rolling around in bed. He would lose the battle against the daylight, and he would want her there when he awoke.

"I'll tell you how it goes," said Jessie.

She ended the call, before her mother could ruin it with something along the lines of, "Whatever."


Here is a preview of the second Tommy and Shayna crime caper, Crossed Bones, by S.W. Lauden ...


It was a rundown, two-story clapboard house several miles off the guidebook maps. Empty kegs were stacked three-high on either side of the screen door like dented tin soldiers. A mangy dog slept on a shabby couch under the cracked window out front. It definitely wasn't the kind of place tourists would ever visit — unless they were lost or unlucky. Shayna Billups was feeling a little of both these days.

She threw her red convertible into park and pushed the car door open, swinging her long legs out into the street. It felt good to stand up after so many hours on the road. She stretched and yawned, shifting the hem of her tight skirt back down with a practiced wiggle.

The cracked wooden porch wobbled under her high heels, like an uneven pile of firewood. Zydeco music wafted out of the bar to greet her, along with the smell of fried shrimp and stale beer. The Keel Hall might pass for quaint if it didn't look like it was about to collapse. She was reaching for the door when somebody racked the slide on a shotgun behind her.

"I wouldn't go in there if I was you."

His voice was slow and deep. Shayna brought her hands up, calmly turning around.

He had menacing eyes and spiky blond hair that glistened in the afternoon sun. His tattooed arms were bursting from the sleeves of his too- tight T-shirt. It took Shayna a beat to realize that there were also two women, one on either side of him. They both wore too much make-up and ear-to-ear smiles. It was obvious to Shayna that running a bar in New Orleans had taken a nasty toll on her high school friends.

The man brought his gun down, flashing a mischievous grin.

"These two put me up to it, I swear."

Shayna lowered her hands, bringing one to rest on a strategically cocked hip.

"I almost had a heart attack, you asshole."

His eyes traced her curves, from her high heels to her pouting lips. He looked like a rescue dog setting eyes on its first steak.

"You passing through or planning to stay a while, sugar?"

"Well," Shayna said, twisting her blonde hair with an index finger. "That all depends ..."

The man took a step forward, as if in a trance. The woman standing on his left smacked him hard across the head, snapping him out of it. He spun around to give her a piece of his mind and caught an open hand across the cheek.

He gave Shayna one more glance and wandered around the side of the building shaking his head, the shotgun on his shoulder. The two women rushed up onto the porch. Georgia had been the head cheerleader back in high school, but looked more like a linebacker now. She was tall and thick, with broad shoulders and wide hips. Her greasy, yellow hair was the color of stale French fries. She threw an arm around Shayna, squeezing the air right out of her.

Ida was a fireplug by comparison. She was short and stocky, with limp brown curls framing a pockmarked face. It didn't look to Shayna like either of them went very long between drinks or meals.

Ida gave Shayna's ass a firm squeeze.

"Damn, girl. I see you packed your trunk."

"Thanks. I had a little work done last year."

Ida glanced up at Shayna's chest, screwing her lips into a smirk.

"And that ain't all. What brings you down to the Big Easy?"

Shayna chose her words carefully. She'd found out a little too late that killing your husband doesn't pay, at least not right away. The bitchy lady handling the insurance claim told her a payout could take up to a month. That left Shayna without anywhere to be.

"Heading to Los Angeles eventually, but there's no big rush. Thought I'd stop by here to see what kind of trouble the three of us could get into."

Georgia and Ida exchanged a look that told Shayna she had them on the hook. She had to be patient while reeling them in.

"I hope I'm not imposing. You two must have your hands full running a fine establishment like this."

Shayna motioned to a faded sign by the front door. It swung in a slight breeze that delivered the muddy smell of the Mississippi River mingled with the scent of olive trees and piss. The Keel Hall's website made it sound like a swanky Las Vegas resort, but it was nothing more than a pirate-themed dive bar that the locals called Keely's.

Georgia stepped forward with a broad smile on her frying pan face.

"Glad you like it. We're actually looking for a new bartender, if you feel like staying a while."

"You'll make a killing in tips," Ida quickly added. "We'll even throw in room and board."

Shayna felt conflicted, despite the fact that everything was going exactly like she wanted it to. She didn't regret killing her husband, but really missed planning it. All of the plotting and scheming, the complicated lies and manipulations, had given her a sense of purpose that felt like a missing limb these days. She hadn't just gotten revenge on that abusive, pill-popping son-of-a-bitch; she'd fooled everybody in Seatown, Florida — my hometown — including the police. And now all of that hard work was reduced to a check she was waiting to get in the mail.

The whole thing had been about the cash, but now it didn't seem like it was enough. She craved a new adventure, something to lose herself in completely. Unfortunately, the person she most wanted to share it with was back in Seatown. And he probably hated her for everything she'd put him through.

I've already ruined Tommy Ruzzo's life twice before, she thought. A third time might finally kill him.

Shayna shook her head, chasing those thoughts away. She needed a stiff drink, and maybe something a little stiffer than that. Anything to obliterate the unwanted memories she was trying to outrun.

"Aren't you two sweet? Buy me a drink and I'll think it over."

"Hell, yeah," Georgia said. "We should get you inside before the neighborhood dogs come sniffing around anyway."

Shayna waved the compliment away with the flick of her wrist.

"Speaking of dogs. Who was your friend with the gun? He's cute, in a scummy sort of way."

Ida dug her press-on nails into Shayna's arm until she almost drew blood. Her voice was a smoky growl.

"That's our bouncer, Adam, but keep your paws off of him — he's mine, all mine."

Shayna made a mental note to avoid the bouncer while she was there. She wasn't afraid of Ida, but she definitely didn't need another murder on her hands. At least not right away.


Excerpted from Back to Brooklyn by Lawrence Kelter. Copyright © 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. Excerpted by permission of Down & Out Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Back to Brooklyn,
About the Author,
Also by the Author,
Other Titles from Down & Out Books,
Preview from The Place of Refuge by Albert Tucher,
Preview from Crossed Bones, a Tommy and Shayne Crime Caper by S.W. Lauden,
Preview from Gitmo by Shawn Corridan and Gary Waid,

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