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John Westermann

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John Westermann was a police officer for the Freeport Police Department (New York).  Since leaving the job, he has written five novels: Ladies of the Night; High Crimes; The Honor Farm; Sweet Deal; and, Exit Wounds.

Kirkus Reviews said of Sweet Deal, “Suburban Long Island, scene of Westermann's Exit Wounds (1990), is the menacing background in the search for a cop killer. Westermann, one of the few crime writers to realize that America is now the suburbs and that criminals live in ranch houses too, uses the sprawl outside New York to great effect as Detective Jack Mills seeks to become a real cop after years in the police department's p.r. division. Mills, a handsome former athlete now in his 30s, skated through his youth, supported by men and women who would do anything for a jock. Now divorced and living alone after the departure of his latest popsy, the homicide detective stands his first real police duty when he's charged with finding out who murdered Arthur Backman, a policeman disliked by everyone he knew, including his wife and yuppie son. Teamed with sexy Claire Williamson, a more experienced and competent detective, Mills begins to turn up evidence of Backman's corruption and his sordid liaison with a pathetic cop groupie, and rather quickly Mills finds that he is poking into the affairs of the local syndicate, the local Republican machine, and his own superiors at the police station. He may be in over his head. Even more awkward, he has become more than a little smitten with Detective Williamson, a very difficult woman to impress. Things get uglier as another rotten policeman dies and a nice little old Irish lady is menaced by a villain on a ten-speed. Good stuff. Westermann paints people rather than types and puts them into a palpable world of strip malls, frontage roads, and postwar subdivisions. Gangsters in the townships are as creepy as their brothers in the boroughs.”

One reader of Sweet Deal said, “Someone is brutally bumping off corrupt Long Island cops. I found this a page-turner with good dialog and strong plotting. Although the characters are believable they are mostly stereotyped. Lucy Lallos the tricycle-riding alcoholic was the best, and Champ the dog was good. The hero Detective Jack Mills is handsome, athletic and incorruptible. His marriage is on the rocks because of his dedication to his job. There's a black officer with a chip on his shoulder about being black, and an attractive female officer with a chip on her shoulder about being attractive and female, a hooker with a heart of gold, a rich obnoxious lawyer and sinister Mafiosi. It is all well done and the writer knows his craft and how to divert us with red herrings and how to keep us on the edge of our seats with cliffhanger chapter endings and clever switches of POV but we've been here before. The climactic hostage scene was high in tension but low in plausibility. The most original touch is the dense Long Island atmosphere. If you live there this might be appealing, but there was nothing that made me want to jump onto the LIRR and take a look at the place.”

Publisher’s Weekly said of The Honor Farm, “On Long Island, Vietnam vet and Nassau County cop Orin Boyd (returning from Exit Wounds) is still only a uniformed cop, largely because of his frank contempt for authority. Breaking up an apparent assault, Boyd knocks around crooked right-wing State Senator Tommy Cotton (aka "Senator Sewer"). Cotton wants Boyd's head. But Police Commissioner David Trimble has a plan of his own: in exchange for Boyd copping a plea for assault, thus satisfying Cotton, and doing six months in the county's "country club" jail, he'll grant Boyd a gold shield on the further condition that, while in jail, Boyd investigate the death of Trimble's son, who allegedly hanged himself with one day left in an 18-month sentence. Shortly after Boyd's arrival at the "farm," there's another "suicide" and the surfacing of many motley suspects. The top con there, an ex-PBA leader looking for Boyd's legendary stash of ill-gotten money, begins a computer campaign to dry up Boyd's bank accounts and to frame his wife for embezzlement. Boyd's boat is sunk, his house is torched and his wife and little daughter are stalked by a hit man. Westermann, who worked 20 years as a Long Island cop, brings plenty of colorful detail to the novel and to Boyd, who's smart, funny and not above taking the law into his own hands. The pacing is relentless, and the uncovering of secrets old and new will keep readers glued as they're plunged into a Long Island that's way beyond Levittown.”

One reader of The Honor Farm said, “I picked this book up at a wholesaler for three bucks. I recognized the author's name from the press for "Exit Wounds", the movie. Needless to say, my expectations were not very high. I was surprised at the depth of character and the layers of plot that Westermann is able to tool into this story. Of course, the hook is that the author has been a real cop for twenty years, but don't let that mislead you. It definitely shows in his writing that he knows his stuff, but Westermann is a true craftsman with words. His pacing, dialogue, and characters are directly on target, telling a story with minimalist narrative (ala James Ellroy). If Westermann was half as good at being a cop, as he is at writing about it, the streets should be very safe in his neighborhood.”

Ladies of the Night
John Westermann  More Info

Exit Wounds: Exit Wounds
Westermann  More Info

The Honor Farm
John Westermann  More Info
High Crimes
John Westermann  More Info

Sweet Deal
John Westermann  More Info

One reader of Ladies of the Night said, “Nassau County Police Commissioner Frank Murphy knows that the worst type of case is not a drug-related showdown or getting in the middle of a domestic dispute. The worst police case is anything involving politics and the political parties. This is what faces Frank and his staff when a high ranking republican vanishes just a few weeks before election day. Frank assigns two of his mentally toughest cops, Maude Fleming and Rocky Blair, to investigate what happened to Elizabeth Lucido, deputy to County Executive Martin Daly (who trails in the polls).

The first thing the cops learn is that politicians only talk when their handlers and spin doctors tell them that cooperation reflects a positive trend for them in the polls. The second thing they learn is that the missing person was having a heated affair with Jackson Hind, the democratic opponent to Martin. As the two kick butt cops dig deeper, they run up against what is perhaps the last great political machine in existence, run by Boss Cammeroli, who will not let a few police officers interfere with his dealings.

LADIES OF THE NIGHT could only be written by dark satirist John Westermann, who writes the most humorous (but deadly serious) police procedurals on the market today. His current tale has the usual powerful descriptions of police officers, making them feel genuine. At counterpoint, Mr. Westermann makes delicious fun of politicians, who appear more like the toon-villain from WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT than anyone else. Anyone who enjoys a touch of cynicism within a well sculptured story line needs to try any Westermann novel because this is one author who combines a superb police procedural while taking a bite out of crime in a satirically humorous way.”

Publisher’s Weekly said of Ladies of the Night,Lustful, greedy, ambitious and none too bright, the politicos of Nassau County, N.Y., trip over themselves in this irreverent send-up of machine politics and good but Machiavellian cops. When his deputy disappears during election month (along with the chair of the Republican Women's Caucus), bumbling Nassau County Executive Martin Daly is behind in the polls, out of favor with his machine boss and battling press coverage of his tippler wife and pot-smoking no-show employee son, Junior. Police Commissioner Frank Murphy puts the unflappable homicide duo Maude Fleming (a lesbian with an attitude) and Rocky Blair (a bodybuilder with an attitude) on the case and lets the chips fall where they may. The team digs up enough real estate scams and musical beds to have nervous pols covering their butts and slinging back dirt of their own, but the detectives grind on toward a perfect ending in which Westermann's (The Honor Farm) trademark black humor, sharp ear and eye for setting are all on display. If the portraits of political power brokers border on caricature, the cops and ethnic characters are rock solid and totally engaging. Indeed, Westermann gives readers so much cynical fun that they may almost forget there's a body or two to account for. Westermann spent almost 20 years as a Long Island policeman.”

One reader of Exit Wounds said, “A cop novel by a Long Island cop, the first of two in the series, so far as I know. The sequel is The Honor Farm. Very funny, yet dark, and quite moving. A movie based on EXIT WOUNDS is coming, and crime fans who might have missed this book get one more chance to meet Police Officer Orin Boyd (Steven Seagal) up close and personal. They should take it.”

About the Freeport Police Department

Freeport Police Department full-service municipal law enforcement agency that is the primary law enforcement agency for the incorporated Village of Freeport. It was established in 1893 and currently has approximately 92 sworn officers and 47 civilian police employees.  The Police station is located at 46 N Ocean Ave.

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