"At McCain Investigations, I'd be sent looking for people who didn't want to be found, following guys who didn't want to be followed, and entering neighborhoods where I was not at all welcome. There would be no commercials, no time-outs, no ‘do-overs' if somebody got shot or stabbed or run over. These guys were playing for keeps."Seasoned journalist and adventurer Jay Atkinson spent a year working as a rookie private eye for the storied firm McCain Investigations, founded by the late Joe McCain, Sr., one of the most decorated police officers in Boston history. In his colorful narrative style, Atkinson describes some of the cases he worked as a detective, chasing down an assortment of felons, thieves, and con artists, as well as the ghost of a real-life American hero, legendary cop Joe McCain.
Joe McCain, a legendary Boston Metropolitan police officer and private detective, was a larger-than-life cop's cop from Somerville, MA, a working-class Boston suburb that was home to cops and infamous criminals like "Whitey" Bulger. Atkinson (Ice Time) brings McCain to life, showing him to be a distinguished police officer, survivor of a near-fatal gunshot wound, founder of McCain Investigations, devoted family man, role model, and mentor. At the same time, he cleverly weaves in two other stories: that of McCain Investigations, where he signed on as part of his research (and discovered how tedious private investigation can be), and Joe McCain Jr., McCain's only child. Joe Jr. followed his father into police work and ran McCain Investigations. Employing creative descriptive turns, Atkinson easily integrates the book's three parts. Given its popular appeal, this book is recommended for public libraries.-Karen Sandlin Silverman, Ctr. for Applied Research, Philadelphia Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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March 14, 2005
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Excerpt from Legends of Winter Hill by Jay Atkinson
THE SOMERVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT is a low concrete structure that looks like a small town library from the 1960s, with a fenced-in yard containing a fleet of half-serviceable patrol cars and a steep concrete ramp out front that leads to a walled parking lot. Right at noon, thirty-nine-year-old Joe McCain, Jr., pulls up and I climb in the passenger side of the sump-smelling cruiser and buckle myself in. Since we're working together and so much of the "cop job" spills over to the P.I. firm, McCain has suggested I ride along with him on his shift as a police sergeant and hear about a few past cases while getting familiar with the territory. He shakes my hand with a grip like a wrestler and pushes off beneath gloomy skies, past the convenience stores, pawnbrokers, and blocks of crowded tenements.
Two of the many truths contained in the hard-boiled detective oeuvre are that there's no money in it and a whole lot of sitting around. In Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep, Philip Marlowe says, "I went back to the office and sat in my swivel chair and tried to catch up on my foot-dangling." As a working cop, Joe McCain has a distinct advantage over the classic gumshoe: instead of dangling his feet inside the Fulton Street office of McCain Investigations, four out of every six days he puts on a bulletproof vest, straps on his gun, and hits the pavement equipped with an up-to-the-minute criminal database and supported by 130 well-armed, well-trained partners. There's no down time on the streets of Somerville.