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Beat (Hayden Glass Series #2)

Beat (Hayden Glass Series #2)

3.7 7
by Stephen Jay Schwartz

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LAPD Robbery-Homicide Detective Hayden Glass has always had trouble controlling his urges. No longer trolling the streets looking for working girls, he has a new obsession--the Internet. Infatuated with a woman he finds on a website, Hayden Glass's sex addiction drags him to San Francisco and into a web of corruption and crime.

Glass's search for this woman


LAPD Robbery-Homicide Detective Hayden Glass has always had trouble controlling his urges. No longer trolling the streets looking for working girls, he has a new obsession--the Internet. Infatuated with a woman he finds on a website, Hayden Glass's sex addiction drags him to San Francisco and into a web of corruption and crime.

Glass's search for this woman leads him to a massive sex slave trade, run by the Russian mafia and protected by a group of powerful and corrupt San Francisco cops. Glass gets co-opted by the FBI to aid in their investigation...but his presence is doing much more harm than good.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

A harrowing catalog of all the bad things that happen to the two of you and everyone else when you fall in love with a prostitute.

When he's not working cases for LAPD Robbery-Homicide, Detective Hayden Glass (Boulevard, 2009) is trawling the Web for sex. It's a time-consuming obsession, not because it's hard to find, but because he's never satisfied. One day he happens onto an interactive site featuring a young woman named Cora who invites him, "Come talk to me," and soon enough he's tracked her to a seedy hotel in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco. "I'm here for you, Cora," he tells her, but it's much less certain that she's happy he's in town than that Glass's SFPD colleagues aren't. It would be bad enough if Cora were merely an illegal kidnapped as a child and pressed into the sex industry by brothers Ivan and Michael Popovitch, owners of the Diamond and the Candy Cane clubs, respectively. Even worse, the brothers have had a falling out that makes Cora both a pawn and a liability. Worst of all, however, is that she's unwillingly learned too much about a high-ranking police officer's personal peccadilloes. So Glass—striking up an uneasy alliance with Officer Lisa Holbrook and Inspector Tony Locatelli of the SFPD and a pair of FBI agents who as usual have their own agenda—struggles to rescue Cora from not only the gangsters who've been pimping her but his law-enforcement counterparts who want to kill her.

The action is brutal; the tour of the Bay Area's sex trade is sordid and sad; and Glass's quixotic determination to rescue a woman who doesn't even like him from a fate worse than death never rings quite true. Even so, the soiled hero's relentless interrogation of his motives for pursuing Cora will make it hard for like-minded readers to put down his odyssey unfinished.

From the Publisher

“Just as I thought there wasn't an original take left on the detective novel, along comes Stephen Jay Schwartz and Beat. Fast and slick, this book is a great ride!” —Michael Connelly, New York Times bestselling author of the Harry Bosch novels

“Stephen Jay Schwartz writes with a paintbrush and expertly guides us through the gates of hell into a world where sex and violence merge into a toxic yet highly addictive alternative reality. Hayden Glass is a character we've not seen before, with fiendish impulses and a desperate desire to overcome his past. This is one of the most darkly sexual books I've ever read and I devoured it in one suspenseful sitting. Schwartz pulled me in and held me captive from beginning to end.” —Katie Arnoldi, Los Angeles Times bestselling author of Point Dume

Library Journal
Detective Hayden Glass, of the LAPD's Robbery-Homicide Division, is a sex addict in a 12-step program to stay "sober." He is on medical leave following a horrific murder described in Schwartz's debut, Boulevard. On an interactive video site he falls for Cora, a sex worker, who lures him to San Francisco. Here their assignations involve him with Russian mobsters, the porn film industry, crooked cops, and murder. Believing the kidnapped Cora is a key witness against a high-ranking police official, Hayden single-mindedly pursues her while trying to elude the San Francisco police and the FBI, all the while recovering from a bullet in his chest. As a screenwriter and film developer for Wolfgang Peterson, Schwartz certainly knows the underbelly of San Francisco. VERDICT The nonstop action borders on the melodramatic, and the graphic descriptions of the porn industry may limit the audience, but this is a scene perhaps uniquely described. If Hayden can pull himself together, with the aid of a female holistic medical examiner, he likely will appear in another tale.—Roland Person, formerly with Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale

Product Details

Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)

Read an Excerpt


He found her in a junked-out residential hotel room in the Tenderloin. He pulled her close, and her breathing slowed and he knew he had done the right thing in coming. She cried softly into his chest and he stroked her long red hair, letting his fingers trail across the Braille-like vertebrae that led to the small of her very small back. She was barefoot and dressed comfortably in a burgundy Stanford sweatshirt and hot pink sweats. Her skin was soft and pampered and carried the scent of peaches and plums. He breathed her in. “I’m here for you, Cora,” he whispered. He had come to save her.

He thought his words would calm her, but she pushed him away.

“What are you doing? How did you find me?” she asked urgently. She pressed her hand to his lips to silence him. They listened to the footfalls and voices of hotel guests in the hallway.

She looked into his eyes. “Don’t let them take me,” she whispered.

“Don’t let who—?”

“Please.” Her hand dropped down to grab his, squeezing. He had stared into her soft, calm eyes so often that it surprised him to see fear. She had always been the one in control.

He returned her gaze and spoke with a conviction that would have felt false under any other circumstance. “I promise I won’t let anything happen to you—”

The door flew off its hinges. The two men who came were strong and rough. One clamped his meaty hands around Hayden’s neck and forearm. Another set of hands, equally thick but lighter skinned, grabbed Cora’s arms and pulled with unforgiving strength. Hayden held on to her wrist while her fingernails dug into his forearm like fishing hooks.

“I’ve got you!” Hayden screamed at her. “I’ve got you,” he lied.

He winced as the arm tightened around his throat. The second man slammed his fist like a mallet onto Cora’s elbow, and she slipped from Hayden’s grip and fell to the floor.

“Cora!” Hayden yelled, his fingers grappling. He felt himself lifted off the ground by the bearlike arms. He reached for the Colt in his ankle holster, but his legs were kicked out from under him and he fell hard, his head clipping a corner of the steel bed frame as he landed.

A hand ripped the Colt out of Hayden’s holster and pointed it at his face. Hayden braced for the impact, his eyes shutting tight. A foot came down on Hayden’s chest, and his body cringed into a fetal position around the heavy steel-toed boot. It slid into the crook of Hayden’s neck, pinning him to the floor. Hayden coughed, pushing with both hands, struggling to keep an open airway.

He could see Cora’s feet beside him. She had been forced facedown on the bed with her butt and legs hanging off the edge. Her breathing was muffled under dirty bedcovers. He saw the pink sweats come down over her feet, peeled off by thick hairy arms. Heard the weight of the man as he descended upon her.

Hayden arched his back, pushing hard against his assailant’s boot. The man didn’t budge, except to grind his foot deeper into Hayden’s neck.

The bedsprings creaked in rapid, rhythmic motions above his head. He saw her delicate feet, uncallused, unblemished except for the small crescent-shaped tattoo marking her inner ankle. Small toes fighting for traction against the patchy carpet, curling against the assault, appearing and disappearing in the balls of her feet. Her toenails were painted baby blue with a playful Hello Kitty decal affixed to the nail of her right big toe.

Hayden couldn’t find the air to cry for help. He barely found the air to breathe. He felt his chin nudged sideways by the boot, forcing him to gaze into the barrel of his own gun. Beads of sweat fell from the man’s face, landing like drops of acid on Hayden’s chest. Hayden spit hard and high, and much of it landed on the man’s thick lips, which were marred by a purplish cleft at the corner of his mouth.

The lips formed a smile despite the birth defect. When he spoke, he spoke clearly: “Yesly bi ’nyeti mi bi yeyo- po-teryalee. Spy-ceebo bul-shoye.”

Hayden squinted, not understanding. It sounded Slavic, maybe Russian.

The man released the pressure of his boot from Hayden’s neck, but held the gun steady. He repeated the phrase, enunciating, making sure Hayden caught each word. “Yesly bi ’nyeti mi bi yeyo-po-teryalee.”

Hayden had no clue what it meant. He sensed sarcasm, and that was all. Beside him, Cora’s breath grew short and soft.

Hayden twisted the man’s boot with all his strength, spinning him sideways. The man tottered and Hayden rolled away and a gunshot sounded and the lights went out.

His face throbbed and he felt carpet burns on his back as he walked. He wore an army surplus jacket that was too small and cut his circulation just below the elbows. It wasn’t his.

It was daytime and there was fog around him, in his mind and in his path, smelling like the sweet discarded garbage in the gutters by his feet. The fog fit the city, because the fog and the city were the same. And then he remembered. This isn’t L.A. He was in San Francisco.

There were the noises of cars and commercial trucks and the clatter of humanity, the pounding of arrogant music from windows rising seven stories above him. Hayden wavered, wondering where he’d left his Jeep, wondering why he was walking and where he was walking to. He turned a corner and stepped into the intersection of Turk and Taylor. Looking up, he viewed a sepia tableau of ancient brick structures forming office and living space as far as the eye could see. Architecture from another era. He imagined Ben Siegel and Meyer Lansky walking side by side, poking their noses into the entrances of single-room occupancy hotels, SROs, looking for a piece of whatever action was going. In their day, it was booze and hookers. Today it was heroin and meth and crack and hookers. Always hookers. The whores in the street stared at Hayden with predatory eyes sunk deep in their outward skulls, broken-down women sniffing the air for a fix, sensing nothing to gain from Hayden Glass. He shuffled by, keeping to himself, his shoulders stooped inward in an effort to hide his wounds. He didn’t want to appear weak in front of these jackals.

Tucked behind the whores, the pimps and dealers huddled in loose affiliation, looking over their shoulders for the beat cop or unmarked “cool cars” the narcs and vice cops used when patrolling their turf. Above their heads, a city-commissioned mural spoke in contrast to the conditions of the street, with its water scene of dolphins leaping over dark African waters, with pre-Western villagers in tribal dress and wooden bowls of fruit on their heads. Bloodred graffiti cried for attention, sandwiched between the mural’s sandy beach and the piss-colored sidewalk below.

Hayden felt his shoes peel off the sticky concrete with each forward step. He had heard somewhere that the Tenderloin was the armpit of San Francisco. If this was true, then Turk and Taylor was the venereal scab on its cock.

Hayden wondered how he got the jacket, from what bum or thug on this or some other street corner. He wondered if it had been traded for his gun and badge or if someone had rolled and robbed him and left the jacket in a gesture of pity.

He stuffed his hands in his pockets to ward off the cold and felt a hard plastic cylinder bite the skin between his thumb and fore-finger. He removed his hand to find a dirty syringe.

“Shit!” He tossed it aside, and it bounced off the pavement and rolled into a storm drain.

A dark-skinned Honduran hustler leaning against a brick wall nodded in his direction. He wore a tattered leather jacket over his white T-shirt, blue jeans, and Ed Hardy sneakers.

“OC forties, eighties, ice, rock.”

He spoke soft and fast, avoiding Hayden’s gaze. Hayden quickened his pace, his eyes darting from one side of the street to the other. It was the police he was looking for. Now he remembered. Cora was in trouble.

Cora was in trouble because he had failed her. He told her that he would keep her safe. That he wouldn’t let them take her away. He didn’t know who they were, but he suspected they had come to take her back.

Hayden turned the corner onto Market Street, and the full force of San Francisco hit him like the gale that swept down from the hills. Scores of homeless pushed past, shoeless, pants soiled from ancient excretions, caked with grease and dirt and the oils that pooled in the driveways and sleepways of back-alley camps. Tweakers like zombies, white and pasty skinned with dark forest eyes and vacant stares. Hip teenage grunge addicts ruined by heroin, obsessively scratching their scalps under black knit skullcaps, scratching their chests and arms for the invisible gnat that tickled needle marks and abscessed scars. Wasted talent—what the narcs called the fifteen-, sixteen-, seventeen-year-old street girls who still had a little blush in their cheeks, who perched nevertheless on the edges of self-made chasms, preparing to take the plunge. Limbless beggars crippled on wooden stilts or sitting forever in ancient rusted wheelchairs, toeing themselves from one storefront to the next, shaking empty 7-Eleven Big Gulp cups in the hope of attracting a handful of nickels and dimes. Pimps, dealers, hookers, petty thieves, hustlers, quick-change artists, pick-pockets, parolees, rapists, murderers. There wasn’t a single person on Market Street whose intentions were good.

Hayden waded through the mess of it, pushing forward toward some imagined oasis. He knew San Francisco wasn’t that big and if he kept walking, he’d end up someplace he’d rather be. He caught a glimpse of himself in the window of a Walgreens pharmacy. His eyes looked bewildered. Shit, he thought, I fit right in.

His thick dark hair was matted to his scalp from a combination of sweat and blood. The strong lines of his cheekbones and chin were reduced to a soft swollen mush. There were U-shaped black-blue-and-yellow knots on his jaw from where the steel-toed boots had made their marks. From the pain in his ribs and legs, he figured the bruising continued under his clothes. His jacket was torn and soaked with blood, and he realized it came from the bullet hole in his chest. He remembered now that he’d been shot.

He felt an onrush of pain. Waves of nausea. Sweat boiled off his forehead. The people in his path came forward in a blur. Loud voices in his ear, the screaming of madmen, their expressions suddenly challenging him, their mouths stretched to incredible widths.

Then he saw her, not ten feet away. Cora with her long red hair, the gentle sway of her hips, her round, soft shoulders, her air of confidence, her youthful gait.

Hayden pushed his legs to follow her on the street. He kept pace, feeling the strain in his calves and quadriceps as he turned onto Powell Street to encounter the long, steep incline leading up to Knob Hill. The cable car turnaround sat to his left, and thirty tourists stood waiting for a five-dollar ride. He veered clumsily into the group and felt himself pushed back by shoulders and gloved hands. The hill slowed his pace, but it slowed Cora’s as well. He stood five steps behind her as they approached Union Square. He reached out as they crossed Geary, but when she turned, it wasn’t her. Not even close.

Hayden looked left and right. The thieves and hustlers had been replaced by men in suits and ties. The soup kitchens and SROs had become Macy’s and Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. He trudged up the hill, passing the opulent Westin St. Francis and its bellhops in their flamboyant tunics. They stared, challenging him to cross an imaginary line. Hayden veered away, walking the sidewalk edge like a tightrope.

At the sound of gunshots, he dropped and threw himself against a parked car. It stopped as quickly as it had begun, and when the smoke lifted, Hayden saw a giant red-and-white paper dragon winding its way through the crowd. Hayden realized that the gunshots were only firecrackers. Chinese New Year. A banner held in the hands of children read YEAR OF THE TIGER. Two dozen Chinese dancers maneuvered the ceremonial dragon using sticks attached to its belly. Chasing the evil spirits away.

Hayden exhaled, laughing at his embarrassing display of caution. He stood and stepped absently into the street and collided with an eight-ton cable car and was sent flying.

Meet the Author

Los Angeles Times bestselling author Stephen Jay Schwartz grew up in New Mexico and traveled the United States extensively before settling down in Los Angeles. There he became the director of development for Wolfgang Petersen, helping develop films such as Outbreak, Bicentennial Man, and Air Force One. Beat is his second novel, a sequel to Boulevard. Schwartz currently lives in Southern California with his wife and two young boys.

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Beat 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
SavageBS More than 1 year ago
I've known about Stephen Jay Schwartz's gritty detective novels for awhile now. I remember when his debut novel Boulevard was released, but somehow I've missed out until now. I picked up "Beat" unexpectedly at the store about a month ago. I saw the book and just happened to flip to one of the gritty scenes in the book and I knew I wanted to read it. Schwartz's main character LAPD robbery homicide detective Hayden Glass is one for the ages. He's likeable, but no where near flawless. Actually he's a mess, he has a sex addiction. The characters are great, the writing is great in this novel. There were a few plot twists that I really never imagined in the book, but overall I kept wanting more. Schwartz sucks you in at the beginning with the character Cora and much like Glass, you want more. Schwartz does a good job of making the reader want more, I found myself reading just one more chapter, then one more to find the next big scene. One reviewer mentions in their review that Sean Penn would play a great Hayden Glass, I agree completely. This book could definitely be made into a movie, although it would lose alot of its magic trying to just get an "R" rating. This book isn't for the squeamish, the first few chapters will surely turn away readers who aren't ready for this type of ride. I do plan to read "Boulevard" now that I'm a Hayden Glass fan and I hope Schwartz will continue to keep writing more. Highly recommended for noir (with a dark sexual twist) fans!
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NatalieTahoe More than 1 year ago
Let me first say this -- you have to have thick skin to deal with this book. It's laden with sexually graphic detail and language since the primary character is a homicide detective with an addiction to sex. Generally speaking, he's not opposed to internet porn, prostitutes, and the like. (Is this a trend for what I've been reading this week...?) Hayden Glass is an LAPD homicide detective and in the prior book, he's encountered some fairly gruesome situations in which he's looked at as a hero by the public, but his file is completely sealed. Only he and a few others know what he really did. He's got some time off right now (forced medical leave), and he's making use of it by finding someone he really likes...who he happens to have met through an internet porn site, and then met in real life after obsessively traveling to San Francisco. He is a "recovering" sex addict, after all. Cora is the girl he's met online, and he likes her a lot. He thinks there's more between them, and maybe so. Not only does he like her, but she happens to be a primary link to a sex slave trade that's run by the Russian mafia. But right now, she's gone missing after being brutally taken from Hayden right in front of him, and he wasn't able to do anything about it. If you can get past the graphic subject matter and those first few pages particularly (literally, page two would make Tiger Woods blush), then you're in for a well written mystery/suspense/thriller. Although it's gritty and disturbing, Stephen Jay Schwartz finesses the images to keep you thoroughly unsettled but racing to find out who's behind the corruption supporting the sex slave trade, and more importantly, where Cora is. It's also a fascinating portrayal of a character who has a debilitating and ruling addiction that he's at the early stages of overcoming. Fans of Stephen Jay Schwartz and his character, Hayden Glass, won't be disappointed. This is the second book for the Hayden Glass character, but you can read this as a stand alone. There's enough references and background provided to not make you confused and wonder what happened in the first book, but only enough to make you want to go pick it up and read it.
SheilaDeeth More than 1 year ago
I wonder what would happen if you crossed a great crime-writer like Michael Connelly with a writer of gritty suspense movies set in the sexual underworld-something with crime and rather graphic and dark sexuality, I expect; something like The Beat. I'd already read author Stephen Jay Schwartz's short story Crossing the Line about a young LA cop assigned to vice, who learns the dark and practical way why one particular prostitute can never be arrested. When I read of Detective Hayden Glass's sex addiction on the back cover of The Beat, I knew what to expect. But the front cover quote from Michael Connelly is just as telling, describing The Beat as a great original take on detective fiction. It has a dark and gritty mystery, a powerfully convincing protagonist, a steamy underbelly running through San Francisco and internet porn, and a hard-fought-for hope. I hope it might make a good movie one day, but the novel's written with such convincing description, I feel like I've already seen it. Stephen Jay Schwartz is deservedly a Los Angeles Time Bestselling Author. The abused women caught up in vice-torn San Francisco are only one side to this story. Protagonist Glass is a wounded soul himself, with dark secrets never wholly revealed, and a berserker anger that lies just a short way in his past (and future too perhaps). Rewarded with the Medal of Honor for his valiant capture of a violent criminal, he's also consigned to the psychiatrist's couch for the destruction he wrought, and for his sex addiction. A cop with a beat of his own and demons to beat, Glass has not really fallen; he just falling with style he thinks, till the girl he believes he loves disappears and her captors fail to kill him. Now the search is on. Who owns whom? Whose money buys which influence? And who's on the take? The story is an exciting roller coaster ride as Glass follows clues, falls behind, finds hope and betrays it again. But the ride leads ever forward with Glass climbing higher after each deeper fall, till a final violent conclusion and surprise decision open the door to peaceful respite. Not a pleasant man, Glass is convincingly real and well worth saving; he has a wounded honesty that really pulls the reader to his side. Not an easy read, The Beat is a powerful evocative novel of dark crime, graphic violence, and surprising depth. I'm really glad I was given the chance to read and review it for the author's Blog Tour.
KenCady More than 1 year ago
So much is not right in Beat, from the directions to the Berkeley Hills to the believability of the action. The author wants us to see a hard-boiled LAPD cop pursue a call girl to save her, but what he is really doing is pursuing his won perversion, and the author thinks that we will believe that the FEDS will help him out. You can't care about any of the characters in this tattered novel.