My parents, the Acquillo people from Montreal, named me Sam. Not Samuel, and no middle name, which should tell you something.
I only live in the Hamptons because my father built a shack back in the fifties on the Little Peconic Bay, in the North Sea area above Southampton. He didn’t have much money, and it wasn’t much of a house, but he wanted a place to stick his family during the week while he worked as a mechanic in the Bronx. I ended up inheriting the place, which was a lucky thing, since I’d lost everything else over a bad temper and poor choices in marriage and personal behavior.
One of the things I lost was my job running R&D for a big hydrocarbon processing company. Having worked around construction while growing up in North Sea, I had that to fall back on, so I’m twice lucky. I know a couple of really rich people, but I mostly stick with my own kind – the cops, illegal immigrants, builders, bartenders and bar-stool sitters who do all the hard work that keeps this fantasy land going. Nowadays I try to keep the poor choices to a minimum, but it’s hard to live around the people I know without running into trouble once in a while.
This latest thing was a guy I knew, a veteran of the Second Iraq War, who also had the misfortune of developing paranoid schizophrenia. That’s what caused the accident that put him in a wheelchair, not the enemy fire he took in the Iraqi desert. And then to cap things off, somebody drops him and his chair in the harbor near where I keep my sailboat.
This upsets me. I don’t like people killing helpless guys in wheelchairs, especially when they’re sort of friends of mine. And Jackie Swaitkowski’s, who happened to be his pro bono lawyer and a ferocious avenger in her own right.
We’re on the case, even though some people, probably well-connected and determined themselves, want to get in our way. This only means we double down, and that’s how it goes.
It’s probably some sort of mental problem, but when I put my mind to something, and my wiry old body, I can’t seem to give it up. Jackie’s the same way, which is probably why we’re friends. We’re going to catch these bastards, and when we do, it won’t be pretty.
Welcome to my side of the Hamptons’ tracks. The dirty side nobody writes about in the glossy magazines. Nobody wants to it know exists.
But it’s there, and somebody has to look after it.
You can read more about Sam in Cop Job, the sixth book in the “Sam Acquillo Hamptons” mystery series, published by The Permanent Press. The first book in the series is The Last Refuge.
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on Friday, October 2 for the chance to win a print copy of Cop Job. (US entries only, please.) Good luck everyone!
About the author
CHRIS KNOPF is the author of two mystery series set in the Hamptons, one starring Sam Acquillo: The Last Refuge, Two Time, Head Wounds (winner of the Benjamin Franklin Award for Best Mystery), Hard Stop, Black Swan (one of four mysteries reviewed by Marilyn Stasio in the New York Times Sunday Book Review) and Cop Job. Also a spin-off featuring Sam’s lawyer Jackie Swaitkowski – Short Squeeze, Bad Bird and Ice Cap. He’s published a standalone, Elysiana, and a thriller trilogy, Dead Anyway (winner of the Nero Award), Cries of the Lost and >A Billion Ways to Die. He lives in Avon, Connecticut, and Southampton, New York, where he sets sail on the Little Peconic Bay.
Visit Chris at www.chrisknopfmystery.com