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Today we have a police procedural and get to drive-along with cops Mike and Sal as they look for a sixteen-year-old in trouble. If it feels real to you, that’s because it was written by a real cop from Toronto. So hold onto to your seats, and please spit all your sunflower seeds out the window.
About the Book
10-33 Assist PC tells the story of an ambitious young cop with a knack for following hunches on the verge of cracking an international prostitution ring. With only days left before their pimps shuttle the underaged girls out of the country, D/C Mike O’Shea pushes his team into overdrive. Hours later, with too little information, sleep, or luck, the unthinkable happens.
And now, the chase is personal.
Written by retired Toronto Police Detective Desmond P. Ryan, 10-33 Assist PC, the first in The Mike O’Shea Series, draws us into the dirty world of human trafficking through the eyes of the cops who put their lives on the line every day to shut it down.
Read an Excerpt
Detective Constable Mike O’Shea casually drove the unmarked scout car around the corner. He felt good. Maybe it was the particularly bright October sunlight that he noticed reflecting off of the crushed beer cans scattered on the overgrown lawns. Maybe it was the police-issued snubby holstered in the small of his back. Or maybe it was the anticipation of a successful end to a long project that made him smile.
“Mike! Left!” Sal grabbed the dashboard with one hand while instinctively reaching for his gun with the other.
The clang of metal rang in their ears just as a streak of green flashed in front of them.
Someone bounced off the hood of the car.
Mike slammed the brakes, one hand on the wheel and the other reaching for the snubby. Despite their ratty sweatshirts, stained jeans, and unshaved faces, neither cop looked as rough as the scrappy man who popped up from the pavement beside Mike’s window. They watched, hands on their still-holstered guns, as the scruffy man yanked a battered bike from under the front tire. Without a word, he wobbled away, apparently none the worse for wear.
“Hey!” Mike hollered after the cyclist, who responded with a suggestive finger in the air.
“Bike’s stolen and he’s drunk. Or stoned. Let him go,” Sal said, spitting sunflower seeds on the floor of the car before settling back into the passenger’s seat.
“Unbelievable,” Mike mumbled, shaking his head.
“No shit,” Sal agreed, stuffing another handful of sunflower seeds in his mouth.
“I’m talking about you, asshole. You’re not spitting seeds in the car, are you?”
“Use the fucking window.”
Sal spat a seed at Mike’s feet.
Mike continued towards the boarded-up shithole that was their target, his hand tightening on the steering wheel as he considered how close they were to the successful end of this project.
He knew this neighbourhood like the back of his hand. Old houses with good bones that had fallen into disrepair lined the streets. The sidewalks used to be overflowing with women with three and four children in tow during the daytime and old men with meagre pensions in the evenings. Now the only people outside were homeless addicts who would rather live rough than face the violence inside the shelters that had popped up in the neighbourhood over the ten years.
During the past few weeks, Mike and Sal had been gathering bits of intel from those eyes and ears on the street in exchange for a smoke or a couple of bucks. They’d spent days shoving a photo of the girl who sparked the investigation under the nose of anyone who would look. Some of their leads were good; most were bullshit.
The girl in the photo was Chelsea Hendricks: barely sixteen, missing since fourteen, and an apparent runaway. She’d been spotted in several security videos from a fairly upscale hotel lobby in Niagara Falls over a five-day span in February of this year, always with different men, and sometimes with one or two other girls.
Mike knew a couple of the guys who monitored the equipment and would drop a dime on the down-low whenever a new girl appeared. When Chelsea surfaced, he’d got the tip during an ice storm. After a precarious drive down and several drinks with his boys, he had boxes of security videos and a pounding head. It took the team three sleepless days to positively identify Chelsea and sixteen other girls who had been reported missing from Toronto in the preceding two years. But by the time Mike got the warrant to search sworn to, the girls were long gone.
A couple of months later, Chelsea Hendricks was back in Toronto on the stroll. Someone had called police about condoms in their laneway. A neighbour had a decent security video and turned the footage over to the local D’s, who, after hours of footage of cars driving by, saw an emaciated girl getting fucked in the back seat of a car. She looked pretty young, so they called Mike. It didn’t take much work to identify the girl as Chelsea Hendricks.
Mike and Sal set up on the stroll for two weeks with no luck finding her.
In the middle of May, after a call from his counterpart in Buffalo regarding an unrelated project, Mike randomly asked for the names, dates of birth, and photographs of any of their known prostitutes who remotely matched Chelsea Hendricks’s description. It turned out that a girl known to them as twenty-year-old Tracey Henderson was really his sixteen-year-old Chelsea Hendricks. She had been investigated several times on a strip known for girls on the younger side, and each time, she’d had no ID and gave a false name and date of birth that put her past the age of concern for underaged street hookers. The bogus name also didn’t raise any flags regarding her missing status in Canada.
It was now October and Mike, Sal, Julia Vendramini, and her partner, Fred ‘Hoagie’ Hogan, had been working the case for almost a year. Despite their best efforts, they always seemed to be a day late and a dollar short. Until about three weeks ago when the mailman noticed some activity at a house that had been empty for months and called the police. Mike and Sal were in the area and got to the address before the uniforms arrived. They recognized a couple of guys having a smoke out front from another project they had worked on and convinced the attending officers to let them handle the call. Dozens of computer checks, around-the-clock surveillance on the house, and some other intel was enough to give them a signed search warrant for this address.
Today, within the hour, they’d be kicking in the door and shutting down a sizable prostitution ring that ran underaged girls between Toronto, Niagara Falls, and Buffalo. Mike was hopeful that Chelsea Hendricks would be here. His jaw tightened whenever he considered that this girl—like all of the girls whom they dealt with in his unit—had been barely out of childhood when these fuckers had got hold of her. And destroyed her. Now, at sixteen, she was likely the most senior offering, leaving her precariously close to her expiration date.
He could not lose this girl.
You can find 10-33 Assist PC at these online retailers:
Barnes & Noble
About Our Author
Born and raised in Toronto, Desmond P. Ryan graduated from University of Toronto and joined what was then the Toronto Police Force. He has been a front-line officer, a beat cop, a patrol sergeant, an instructor at the Toronto Police College, and a detective over the almost thirty years of his career.
Whether as a beat cop or a plainclothes detective, Des dealt with good people who did bad things and bad people who followed their instincts. Now a retired detective, he writes crime fiction. Des is presently working on the Mike O’Shea Series and the Mary-Margaret Series, both published by Level Best Books.
Des now lives in the Toronto neighbourhood known as Cabbagetown, where he can be seen wandering about, considering his next plot point or on his way to the pub.