Confessions of a Celebrity Bodyguard
Thomas Fitzsimmons Inc., March 2016
As with the earlier novel by Thomas Fitzsimmons, Confessions of a Catholic Cop, which introduced readers to Police Officer Michael Beckett, and its sequel, Confessions of a Suicidal Policewoman, the current book’s authenticity is immediately apparent. With good reason: Following his service in the Navy during the Vietnam War, the author was an NYC cop for a decade in the notorious section of the South Bronx known as Fort Apache. Not surprisingly, Michael Beckett has a similar background, which also includes acting on tv, the fictional aspect having Beckett portray – what else? – a cop, on the show “Law & Order.” (His creator did work on NBC TV shows as well. So he definitely knows whereof he speaks.)
Beckett is still dealing with the emotional aftermath of his sister’s death, of a drug overdose, at the age of 18, with all the attendant guilt and desire for revenge against the drug dealers who’d sold her the poison that had ultimately killed her. That desire for revenge is perhaps what led Beckett to become involved with some former and current members of the NYPD known as “rockers” – a group of vigilantes who, for a price, do what the “legitimate” cops can’t do – among other things, rid houses of the drug dealers who inhabit them, “evicting” them by whatever means necessary, violent or otherwise. The history of that group, who became known as “Beckett’s Rockers,” leads to a current investigation by the Feds, who seem determined to take over the NYPD altogether.
The more prominent investigation here revolves around the search for a serial celebrity stalker known as The Angel of Death. Some of the celebrities he stalked have died from tainted heroin. The first of these was six years ago, when a 21-year-old superstar was found dead by her bodyguards, then off-duty police officer [and moonlighting] Michael Beckett and his father, a retired NYPD police lieutenant.
The book opens with the current client of Lisi & Beckett Protective Services Inc. [owned by “Sweet Tommy” Lisi, mob-connected and his father’s business partner before his father’s death], a 19-year-old D-list reality TV star Francine “Tata” Andolini. Beckett is working with his former lover, Destiny Jones, with whom he has a they-still-love-each-other relationship, complicated by all his former lovers who are still in the picture from time to time. Tata is described as a “barely literate whack-a-doodle on an inane reality TV show.” (That speaks for itself with no further commentary needed from me.)
There are several other tragic deaths in the background here, and some other horrific criminal acts, e.g., the night Destiny was gunned down in the line of duty, Beckett killing the perpetrator. Also prominent is the death by apparent suicide of the fiancée of Tommy McKee, one of the Rockers, McKee still traumatized by her death years later.
Beckett is recently retired from the NYPD, after 18 years in the 41st Precinct, and doesn’t quite know what to do with himself, feeling like a “dinosaur” who didn’t fit in any more. His father had been a cop for 35 years, as had two of his uncles. The author certainly brings to life the Yorkville section of Manhattan and its denizens, and other areas of the tri-State area, and has the patois – well, down pat! He brings the book to an exciting conclusion, and I found the pages turning more and more quickly, reading it in less than 72 hours. As with its predecessors in the series, this newest entry is highly recommended.
Reviewed by Gloria Feit, August 2016.