Broken Windows

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Pub Date 10 Sep 2018 | Archive Date 17 Sep 2018

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While the storm rages over California’s notorious anti-illegal alien Proposition 187, a young woman climbs to the top of the famous Hollywood Sign—and jumps to her death. An undocumented day laborer is murdered. And a disbarred and desperate lawyer in Venice Beach places an ad in a local paper that says: “Will Do Anything For Money.”


Private investigator Duke Rogers, infamous for solving the case of murdered starlet Teddie Matson, feels he must do “penance” for his inadvertent part in her death. To that end, he takes on the case of Carlos, the murdered day-laborer, as a favor to his sister Marisol, the housekeeper down the street from Duke’s house.


Duke must figure out what ties together Carlos’ murder, the ex-lawyer’s desperate ad and the woman jumping from the sign? And who is the mysterious “coyote”? Amid the controversial political storm surrounding California’s Proposition 187, Duke and his very unPC sidekick Jack are on the case. They slingshot from the Hollywood Sign to Venice Beach. From East Hollywood to the “suicide bridge” in Pasadena, and from Smuggler’s Gulch near the Mexican border back to L.A. again. Their mission catapults them through a labyrinth of murder, intrigue and corruption of church and state that hovers around the immigration debate in this searing sequel to the explosive Shamus Award-winning novel White Heat.

While the storm rages over California’s notorious anti-illegal alien Proposition 187, a young woman climbs to the top of the famous Hollywood Sign—and jumps to her death. An undocumented day...

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Featured Reviews

Outstanding sequel to White Heat! This story grabbed me from the opening paragraph. I wondered how the author would tie together the 3 storylines but he connected the dots in a way I never saw coming. Perfectly plotted and descriptive of a period of time in the LA area that I had forgotten but shouldn’t have. I really like this main character and his sidekick. This book tells the story of a young woman who comes to LA to be a star but it also tells the story of a very troubled attorney and the story of illegal immigration all wrapped up in a few murders and some other disturbing criminal acts. It also deals with some serious social issues of the time, some of which are at the core of these crimes. I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a great mystery that is truly hard to put down and will make you think long after you have.

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Broken Windows is a page turner! The story, set in 1994 Los Angeles, centers around a PI needing to make amends for a tragic error and his un-PC sidekick. A young woman comes to Hollywood with stars in her eyes only to have those stars dimmed; a disbarred attorney struggles to make ends meet; and the controversy around illegal immigration rages in the present day. Is there a common thread here? And is everyone who opposes illegal immigration REALLY against it? Read Broken Windows and find out.

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Illegal immigration leads Hollywood PI Duke Rogers to the dark and deadly heart of Los Angeles power politics in Broken Windows (Down & Out Books, 2018), Paul Marks’ probing follow-up to his Shamus Award-winning mystery White Heat.

Business is booming for PI Duke Rogers in Clinton-era LA, but you’d never know it. He’s vexed by the death of actress Teddie Matson (her murder is the basis for his case in White Heat), for which he’s indirectly responsible. He’s also desperate to rekindle his romance with Teddie’s sister Rita, but he’s too burdened by guilt to pursue her. Perhaps the biggest bummer for Duke is his disenchantment with Los Angeles, the city he loves and knows so well. The ultimate Angeleno (and a part time screenwriter), Duke is an expert on LA’s ever-changing landscape, both geographic and cinematic.

Duke is forced to face these changes head-on when he offers to find the killer of Carlos Rivera, the brother of Marisol, a neighbor’s housekeeper. Both came to the U.S. illegally, aided by Miguel, a shady coyote, or migrant smuggler working on the U.S.-Mexico border. Duke discovers that Miguel is in the employ of powerful figures on both sides of the political spectrum that exploit migrants for their own gain. Even the Catholic Church is involved. Duke also finds that Carlos’ death is linked to the apparent suicide of Susan Karubian, a would-be actress who took a high-dive off the Hollywood sign a la ‘30s would-be starlet Peg Entwistle. Powerful politicos bring the heat down on Duke, Marisol, and Duke’s ex-military partner Jack, and they fend for their lives while getting closer to the truth.

Marks’ story takes place in 1994 under the backdrop of the Prop 187 movement, a largely Republican effort that would’ve barred illegal immigrants from using many of California’s public services. As Duke explores Carlos’s death, Marks humanizes Angelenos on both sides of the issue; from La Reconquista, or Mexican’s who want to reconquer the southwest U.S., to African Americans who feel undocumented laborers are taking their jobs. Broken Windows refers to the theory that social chaos and incivility lead to crime; if you fix the broken windows in a bad neighborhood, crime will go down. By reaching out to Marisol and others in need, Duke is helping fix the city he loves. With ICE arrests making headlines daily, and Trump’s voter fraud commission coming up hopelessly empty handed, Broken Windows will stir up discussion, and couldn’t be more pertinent today. Highly recommended.

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Broken Windows is exciting, riveting and a joy to read. A private investigator has found that politicians, church leaders, actors and illegal aliens are intricately linked in an investigation. Two former Navy Seals Chase down leads in this tale of crime and corruption. An excellent read!

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If you enjoy old-school PI tales, you’ll love getting to know L.A. PI (and former Navy SEAL) Duke Rogers. Duke is still reeling from the events of White Heat—the first (and Shamus Award-winning) thriller to star the dogged PI—a case that involved the death of actress Teddie Matson. He feels personally responsible for her untimely passing, even if he didn’t kill her himself.

Marks expertly drops readers (returning and new) into Duke’s world—1994 Los Angeles—from the start, and the prologue is a doozy. In it, a young woman climbs to the top of the Hollywood sign and jumps off. The scene isn’t exploitative, but it is realistic and heart-wrenching in its realism. What would make this woman do this? What could have made her lose all hope? After all, she came to L.A. to be a star.

When Duke sees the news of her death, he can’t help but think of Teddie Matson, and it pierces his heart. But right now, he’s got other concerns. Luckily, money isn’t really one of them, since he’s had a steady stream of work since the high-profile Matson case. He’s also ready for a new dog. Baron was killed two years ago, and Duke is ready for a new companion. Luckily, his friend Jack shows up with a mutt named Molly that needs a new home.

About Jack:

I opened the door to see a desert camouflage Humvee there. What the hell?

The driver’s door opened. I had my finger on the Firestar’s trigger guard. Then Jack appeared standing above the car’s roof. His ever-present wraparound shades hid his sniper’s eyes and thousand-yard stare. He should never have left the service. He was a politically incorrect man in a politically correct time. And while he didn’t always think or say the right thing, he mostly did it. He knew he was tough but he took no false pride in it.

We were opposites in many ways. He was six-two, built like the Rock of Gibraltar. I was five-seven, but tight and stocky like a mortar round. He wore his hair in a brush cut. Mine looked like I’d just gotten out of bed, no matter what I did to it. He was my friend. I could count on him, without ever having to think about it. How many people could you say that about?

Opposites is putting it lightly, but somehow, the friendship works—even though readers may find themselves wincing at some of Jack’s comments.

So, Duke is feeling about as good as he can when he takes Molly out for a walk and encounters Marisol, a young woman who works as a live-in housekeeper for an older couple nearby. They strike up a friendly conversation, and a few days later, he comes upon a visibly upset Marisol on the Santa Monica Pier where she tells him that her brother Carlos was found with his neck broken. The police say it was an accident, but she doesn’t think so. She suspects, as does Duke, that the police might be putting it on the backburner because Marisol and her brother are in the country illegally.

Keep in mind that California in 1994 was on the cusp of voting on Proposition 187, which proposed a state-run citizenship screening system and sought to keep illegal aliens from using state resources, such as non-emergency healthcare and public schools. So tensions are high, and resources are stretched thin as a result.

Eventually, Duke decides to take on her case pro-bono, but it won’t be easy. Like I said, racial tensions are high, so questioning the local immigrant community will be difficult.

Duke narrates in his wry, melancholic voice, but a side narrative about a down-on-his-luck ex-lawyer who gets tangled up in something very, very bad adds some flavor.

The stakes get high, and the body count gets higher, but Duke is a dogged gumshoe. And with the help of the stalwart Jack (and a few police contacts) and, of course, Molly, what could possibly go wrong? Paul D. Marks has screenwriting chops—Duke and company practically beg for their own TV show.

Although it’s set in 1994, it’s eerie how timely this story is. There’s an undeniable feeling of unease that threads through the narrative, which virtually oozes with the grit, glitz, and attitude of L.A. in the ‘90s. I’m an ecstatic new fan of Duke’s.

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In Paul D. Marks's Broken Windows, the 2nd installment in the Duke Rogers PI mystery series, this compelling tale that could've been ripped from the headlines. For famed private investigator Duke Rogers, who had been notoriously famous for catching the killer of the Teddie Matson case, a new case had landed and darkened on his Hollywood doorstep. When actress Susan Karuvian jumped off the Hollywood sign as a suicide, it made news headlines. But when Marisol Rivera asked Duke to help find her brother's killer, he might be a little over his head. With his partner Jack Riggs, they've encountered the Hollywood PD and all sorts of swarmy characters along their way including some dirty politicians, a crooked priest, and the Proposition 187 bill on illegal aliens. Little did they know, they were being followed by a well-known drug smuggler who wanted them stopped and to catch their every move. When Marisol turns up missing and later ends up dead, it was nothing but personal to find her killer and to make the connections to an illegal human smuggling ring. In the end, they would shake down the criminals and put a stop to things before someone else gets hurt.

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Broken Windows by Paul D. Marks is a 2018 Down and Out Books publication.

An original historical crime drama-

Take a trip down memory lane back to 1994 Los Angles-

In LA the contentious vote over Proposition 187 has added another layer of tension over the city. Amid this turmoil, a young woman commits suicide, jumping from the famed Hollywood sign to her death. This death strikes a chord with private detective Duke Rogers. Although he has gained some notoriety and is even stopped for an occasional autograph, he lost his girl, and is riddled with guilt.

When an undocumented woman, named Marisol, who is working for one of Duke's neighbors, tells him about her murdered brother, he feels compelled to investigate the situation, Pro Bono.

Meanwhile, a down on his luck ex-lawyer places one of those ‘Will do anything for money’ ads in the paper. The job he secures falls into the ‘see no evil, hear no evil’ category.

As Duke and his best friend, Jack, begin digging into Marisol’s case, they stir up a political hornet’s nest which is hip high in corruption and cover-ups. The stakes are raised as Duke begins to peel back layers of the proverbial onion. Then the case turns personal…

Wow! I picked this book out on a whim, hoping to help an independent publishing house and their authors. Unfortunately, the book has languished on in my ‘currently reading’ status for almost a year. I felt terrible for neglecting this one for so long, so I forced it up to the top of the heap and started reading a chapter here and there until one evening when I picked it up, I couldn’t stop reading and before I knew it, it was one o’clock in the morning.

Initially I was a little skeptical about this one. Jack, as the synopsis states, is very UNPC. Because I read a lot of older books, I have a high tolerance for politically incorrect language or attitudes, remembering the time period in which the book was written.

However, Jack's attitude hits a sore spot, as the country is still arguing over immigration and it is uglier now than ever. Even by the end of the book, with the softening of his character, and getting a small glimpse of what is behind his veneer, I still had very mixed feelings about him.

That said, the author did an incredible job of creating the time and place, and drawing strong characters, who though flawed, are still sympathetic.

When Duke first takes on the case it seems deceptively cut and dried. Not so. This is a complex and layered story that not only uncovers corruption in state politics, but also reaches the Catholic church.

The way the author connects the case of the Hollywood sign suicide with the death of Marisol’s brother, and the disbarred lawyer is slick and stylish. Once the ball gets rolling, this book is unputdownable.

It’s gritty without being overly violent, it’s poignant, but not maudlin, and has a very realistic outcome. In fact, the plot points out the overall corruption from both sides and all points in between, which is most likely the way it usually works in real life.

The conclusion is not tidy or tied up with a nice neat bow on top. But the reader will feel a sense of satisfaction, nonetheless. The book ends up on a positive note and my fingers are still crossed for Duke, wishing him all the best. I do hope we hear from him again soon!!

5 stars

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