COVER REVEAL of Hard Case by Marc Hirsch

Title: Hard Case (Alice White, Investigator #2)
Author: Marc Hirsch
Genre: Romantic Suspense/ Mystery
Age Category: Adult
Release Date: July 15, 2015
Published by: Books, Authors and Artists

In 1956 New York City, a year after Alice White’s first investigation, she becomes entangled in her Bronx neighbor's troubles. A United States customs inspector at the Port of New York, he has fallen into the grasp of the vicious dockworkers' boss.
As Alice attempts to free him, the power struggle created by the post-World War II wave of Italian immigration into the predominantly Irish run West Side imperils both. Can Alice save him? If she fails both may die.


In the 1500s, the Lenape Indians traveled and fished the waterways of New York Harbor. Four centuries later the harbor had become the site of the bustling Port of New York and New Jersey.

A dense fog hung over the water. Waves slapped the piers. The smell of seawater and tar penetrated the evening air. Thick lines groaned under the strain of ships at dock. Tugs tended their floating trusts. In the final hours of the night, the port sat at rest, protecting its living organism of cargo and crew―at rest, but certainly not asleep.

Mild as the spring temperature was, the young man shook as if it were polar winter. His hands trembled violently as he lit his last cigarette. He crushed the empty package and tossed it into the breeze. He leaned into the chain link fence against which he had been thrown. He lifted his battered face to the stars. Through his broken glasses, they sparkled like diamonds on a jeweler’s cloth.

The night air penetrated his broken nose. The taste of beer mingled with his blood.

He took a deep drag on the cigarette, only vaguely aware of the two men standing in front of him.

One of them held a gun pointed at his forehead. They were shadows, phantoms, ghosts in the moonlight.

The finger whitened on the trigger.

His being merged with its surroundings: the docks, the sea, the gulls, the sky overhead.

Somewhere inside him was an ethereal presence, an island of tranquility he had been aware of since he was a small child. A dream-self he was confident would survive this night even though he was positive his mortal body would not.

Alice White’s boyfriend, Jim Peters, was still asleep in her apartment on the west side of the six-lane boulevard known as the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, New York City. It may not have been the standard of behavior for a single woman in 1956, but she was perfectly happy with their relationship and had no intention of further committing herself, despite his apparent wish for her to do so. One failed marriage for each of them was enough to last a lifetime, she thought.

It was a sunny morning in May. Jim awoke and watched Alice, unbeknownst to her, put on her favorite pair of gym shorts and band her straight, black hair into a ponytail. She quietly left the apartment and ran north up the Concourse toward Jerome Avenue. She was thirty-five years old with curves in all the right places. Alice would only have been superficially pretty, but her assertive nature rendered her incredibly attractive to some men, intimidating to others. Jim liked to think of himself as self-confident, but Alice strained his nerves to their limit. He had to admit that this was part of his attraction to her.

She had graceful, athletic legs. A woman running bare-legged on the public streets, for anyone to see, was yet another deviation from society’s norms. She honestly did not care. She was running in the footsteps of her idol, the “flying housewife,” Fanny Blankers-Koen, who had won four gold medals at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London. If it was okay for Fanny, then it was good enough for her.

Alongside the elevated train tracks of Jerome, Alice made her way up the sidewalk, north until she got to Zabronski’s Meats.

The sawdust on the floor and the smell of fresh cut meat always made her mouth water in anticipation of Zabronski’s beautiful steaks and chops on her table.

“Vhat can I get for you this fine morning, young lady?” the short, ebullient, mostly bald-headed butcher asked Alice in his thick European accent. He had been liberated from a concentration camp at the end of the war. His protuberant belly and multiple gold-capped teeth were the result of his non-stop celebration of freedom in the decade since. Alice had met his lovely wife and delightful daughter on previous visits to the shop.

Her answer to Mr. Zabronski was lost in the deafening screech of metal on metal, as a train passed overhead.

When the train was gone she repeated, “Mr. Zabronski, I am dying for some of your lamb chops. Would you cut me six, please?”

“Six? Aha. You’re having company. It wouldn’t be that good-looking young man you were in here with a couple of weeks ago would it? You like that man, huh? The way he looks at you I’d say he’s a good one and very polite too.”

Alice was amused that everyone was “young” to Mr. Zabronski as well as “good looking,” “handsome,” or “pretty.” She enjoyed the fact that he liked Jim. Mr. Z was in his sixties, but he had a certain sadness―and a stare in his eyes―that made him seem much older. He had told her of his captivity and terror in the camp. He would never lose that look, it seemed to her. She could only imagine the cruelty he had been subjected to. The thick-shouldered butcher was the classic immigrant that the Statue of Liberty was meant to welcome.

Alice watched Mr. Zabronski deftly cut her chops from a rack of lamb. He was a surgeon in a blood-stained white apron. She took money out of her pocket as he finished wrapping the meat in butcher paper and tying the package with string. He made change for her from his ancient cash register.

“Thank you, Mr. Zabronski. Say hello to your family for me.”

“Be well, young lady. Enjoy your lamb.”

Alice stepped onto the sidewalk and spotted an acne-pocked teenage boy sprinting toward her with a lady’s handbag under his arm. A young woman ran after him yelling, “Stop! Stop! Give me back my purse! Help, somebody, he stole my purse!”

Alice put her foot out and sent the boy, face first, onto the pavement. She grabbed the purse.

Mr. Zabronski appeared in the doorway of his shop, brandishing a knife. He looked to be considering carving the thief into pieces. He glared at the fallen man. The kid stood up, sneering back through his bleeding face at Alice, Zabronski, and the woman whose purse he had taken, apparently contemplating an attack to retrieve his prize. Zabronski shook his knife at him and surveyed the kid’s face. It would take weeks to heal.

Alice glared back at the enraged teenager and told him, “Yah, that’s right: two women and a butcher. You think you can take us?”

The boy reconsidered, turned, and then fled up the hill empty-handed, away from the pretty, but insane, woman and her two companions.

“I DIDN’T THINK SO!” Alice yelled after him.

“That was so kind of you and so brave too,” the sandy-haired woman told Alice. “I can’t thank you enough. My name is Susan Atkins. Please, let me buy you a cup of coffee.”

Alice handed Susan her purse. “Okay,” hesitating just a moment. “Sure, but I can’t stay long. I have to get this meat home. I have company.”

Alice then turned to Mr. Zabronski and told him, “Thanks for the backup Mr. Zabronski. As always, the perfect gentleman.”

“It didn’t look to me like you needed any backup, young lady. You’re a credit to your sex. This’ll be a great advertisement for the business. I can see the headline: ‘Purse Snatcher Foiled By Gorgeous Young Lady Customer Of Zabronski’s Fabulous Butcher Shop!!!’ Come by next time your boyfriend is in town, and I’ll cut you some excellent steaks, on the house.”

“What a great idea for publicity, Mr. Z. It just so happens I have a friend at the Post, a reporter named Franklin Jones. I think I’ll give him a call and see if he’ll run it. This’ll put me in solid with my bosses, the attorneys, downtown. They love to hear about me risking my life thwarting crime.” Alice gave him a cheeky grin. “It’s their peculiar form of entertainment. Who knows? It may bring in business for you and them both.”

Marc Hirsch was born in New York City in 1945. He attended Boston University School of Medicine, graduating in 1969. After 42 years as a doctor, he retired from hospitalist practice in 2011. He published his first book, The Case, in 2012 and will publish his second book, the sequel titled Hard Case, in 2015. The Case was edited and republished as a second edition in 2014. Plans for his screenplay of The Case are being made.

There is a cover reveal wide giveaway for the cover reveal of Hard Case. These are the prizes you can win:
- 3 kindle e-copies of The Case (Alice White, Investigator #1) by Marc Hirsch
- 2 kindle e-copies of Hard Case (Alice White, Investigator #2) by Marc Hirsch

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