Roaring Twenties Cop

Mike Fargo Cover 6

Roaring Twenties Cop

ROARING TWENTIES COP, Mike Fargo’s Own Story, is a different kind of book in the Fargo Mysteries series. It’s really a kind of mini-autobiography in Fargo’s own words in which he talks about his life and work in the New York City of the Roaring Twenties. Those reading it will have a better understanding of this tough detective and hopefully enjoy the other books in the series even more as they’ll view the protagonist in a more complete light. At the same time, this is an original, engaging read as a stand-alone book. Here is the book description for Roaring Twenties Cop.


Just who is Mike Fargo? If you’ve read any of the books in THE MIKE FARGO MYSTERIES series you know he is a no-nonsense, resolute New York City detective fighting crime and solving murders in the decade known as the Roaring Twenties. Even if you haven’t yet read any of the books you probably can come up with an educated guess about the kind of guy he is just from the book descriptions. Now you don’t have to guess anymore. The real answers are in ROARING TWENTIES COP, Mike Fargo’s Own Story.         

This book will answer all your questions. What kind of childhood did he have? What was his family like? You’ll read about the tragic incident that made him want to become a cop and learn why being a New York City detective was the perfect situation for him. You’ll also learn what Fargo thinks about the decade of the 1920s – the joke that was Prohibition, the women known as flappers, and all the amazing social and artistic changes taking place right before his eyes. And, of course, you’ll also learn just what he thinks about crime and his dogged pursuit of murderers.

It’s Fargo’s story because he’s telling it in his own words, starting with his 1890s childhood on Staten Island to growing up at the turn of the century and then working on the docks; his first trip into New York City and his early days as a cop on the beat. He’ll also describe his feelings when he had to kill for the first time, recall how he acquired a telltale scar across his left cheek and relive the day he called the worst of his life, the 1920 anarchist bombing on Wall Street. He’ll also talk about the ladies, the great dames he has known, as well as some of his toughest cases. This is a guy with a difficult and dangerous job, but one who still saw the Roaring Twenties as a special decade, one he enjoyed more than any other.

NOTE: ROARING TWENTIES COP can now be downloaded for FREE at not only Amazon, but at Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo and Smashwords. There is an offer inside. If you sign up as one of FARGO’S FOLLOWERS, my newly-created mailing list. Sign up and you can also download the novella, MURDER ON BROADWAY, for FREE. As a member of Fargo’s Followers you’ll receive emails about the series, including coming books, information about 1920s New York City, and any other special offers coming to the table.








Sign up for the author’s “Fargo’s Followers” mailing list and get a free copy of MURDER ON BROADWAY, an action-packed novella set in 1925 New York City.

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CHAPTER ONE – Growing Up on Staten Island

     Why do I do what I do? Damn, three “do’s” in one sentence. Guess I ain’t supposed to write like that, but then again, I’m no pro. I’m just a cop, a flatfoot. Oh yeah, a detective to be exact, one step above a cop to some. But we all do the same thing. So, then, why do I do what I do? Simple. I hate crime. Always have. I hate it when good people are victimized. And what I hate most of all is murder, especially when the victim had no business being killed. No one should lose his or her life to a piece of garbage.

     But I’m getting ahead of myself here. You probably wouldn’t expect a guy born in rural Staten Island in 1887 to be nosing into the deepest hellholes New York City had to offer in the 1920s, but that’s where I ended up. It would have been a lot easier to have become a local constable at home, looking for stray cows and chasing kids for stealing apples. But you know what they say about bigger and better things. That’s what everyone wanted in those days. Bigger things for me just meant being a cop in a bigger town. In fact, the biggest town there was.

     My father worked construction, long hard days, and died in a job-related accident when I was just eleven. My older brother, Joe, became a fireman and never left home, not even for a day. My younger brother wasn’t so lucky. He wanted to go to college but ended up one of the doughboys in the trenches of France in 1918. He never returned. Now only my mother is left. She still lives in the old place and I try to get out there from time to time, but it’s not always easy because the job always has to come first.

      You might say I was a wild kid growing up in the 1890s. There was some electricity on the Island, but we didn’t have running water in the house. You had to fetch water from a hand pump out back, and it wasn’t far from the outhouse. Try that on for size in the winter. There were no cars then, but horse-drawn wagons everywhere. Me and my friends took a few for some crazy rides through the streets now and then. Told you I was wild. But to us that was fun and we didn’t think about the danger or that we were taking someone else’s property. Luckily we were young and the only trouble we got into was the whippin’ when we got home. A criminal record could have stopped me from becoming a cop.

     I can still remember people celebrating when Staten Island became part of New York City in 1898. They were setting off fireworks and some were even shooting guns in the air. Of course, there were also those who didn’t like it much. They were afraid the city would come to the country and corrupt everyone. Fat chance. But it served as an early lesson for me. You’ll never find a situation where everyone wants the same things and that can lead to trouble for a simple reason. There will always be some who think about their own wants and needs first, their motivation usually being either power or money.

     That was also the year my father was killed, so there wasn’t any celebrating in our house, just my mother fretting about her boys going bad without a daddy. She needn’t have worried. We may have been wild, but we weren’t bad. And once my old man was gone we knew we’d have to chip in to keep the family afloat.

     As a kid, New York City might as well have been a million miles away. Never went there, nor did my friends. When we were young, we didn’t want to. Our whole world was on Staten Island. But we heard stories about all the people, the shows and bars, the coming of gasoline engine cars. It always seemed that Staten Island back then was way behind the times. Not that we cared. Life was fun. None of us was much into school. That wasn’t fun. Sure, we had a couple of nice teachers as well as some mean ones. But to us the definition of school was just waiting for the bell at three o’clock so we could go out and play. And when June came, we were free for a summer of more crazy fun.

     Childhood came to a screeching halt in many ways when my father was killed. Two years later everyone was celebrating the turn of the century, but I wasn’t. That’s because a few days before some guy had come into old Ben Croft’s candy store just before he was closing, pulled a gun and demanded money. Ben gave it to him and then, for no reason, he gave it to Ben. Right in the head. I had known old Ben since I was about six. Me and my buddies always hung out at his store and he always gave us candy and a friendly smile. Never asked us for a penny. I even did a few odd jobs for him – ran some errands, delivered some candy to people and he would slip me a dime and give me a wink. I really liked that old man.

     I remember when I heard about the robbery and shooting the day after it happened. I ran down to the store as fast as I could. There were cops all over but they didn’t seem to be doing much, just hanging around because they were supposed to be there.

     “Did you catch the guy?” I asked one of them.

     He just looked down at me and smiled. “You the Fargo kid, ain’t ya?”

     I nodded. “Well, kid,” he said. “Dese things happen. Ain’t much we can do about it. The mug what shot old man Croft is probably long gone. For all I know he came from the city for some easy pickins.”

     “You mean you ain’t even gonna try to find him?” I asked.

     “Yeah, we’ll give it a go,” he said, re-lighting his cigar. “But something like this, well, like I said, it happens.”

     In the end, they really didn’t give it much of a go. I was old enough and smart enough to see that. Guess they asked a few questions of people in the neighborhood then said the hell with it. Within a week or so everything was back to normal, only old Ben wasn’t around anymore. I didn’t quit on it as quickly as they did. I hung out in the neighborhood for a couple of nights, checking other candy stores to see if someone tried to rob any of them. It was kind of stupid of me. I was a twelve year old kid with a homemade slingshot. What would I have done against a mug with a gun? But I couldn’t stop thinking about old Ben Croft and tried to imagine what he must have felt when that mug pointed the gun at him. Ben was probably at least 65 or 70 years old. He would tell us stories about the Civil War and even about the old west, always with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. That some guy would walk in, take his money and then shoot him, well, I just couldn’t let that go. I think it was right then and there that Mike Fargo became a cop. It wouldn’t be official for another 10 or 11 years, but I remember thinking if I was a cop I would catch that guy, no matter how long it took.

     By the time I was eighteen I was working on the docks – hard, backbreaking labor that was getting me nowhere, just putting a couple of bucks in my pocket and letting me help out at home. If nothing else, it made me bigger and stronger. I could eat like a horse then and it seemed that everything turned into muscle. I’d had a few fights in my time and once I reached 20 or 21, I noticed that no one wanted to mess with me anymore. They told me I had one helluva right hand and that was even before I knew a damned thing about Jack Dempsey.

     Then came the day that changed everything for me. It was the summer of 1909. I was 22 then and a couple of friends and I decided to take our first trip into New York City. We knew by then that there was a whole world outside of Staten Island, so we took the ferry to the city on a warm, sunny day, then walked into the heart of Manhattan.

     What a place. I’d never seen anything like it. I kept looking up at the tall buildings until my neck hurt, gawked at the horse-drawn wagons sharing the road with the early cars and the rail-riding, crowded trolleys. Then there were the people. They were everywhere. It seemed there were more people on one block in Manhattan than on all of Staten Island. Everyone seemed to be in a hurry – men in suits, others working on buildings or on the roads, those making deliveries from wagons, and more good-looking young women than I’d ever seen before. Everyone was busy; everyone was going somewhere, doing something. Looking around, Staten Island seemed a world away, different, old and out of touch.

     That, however, wasn’t all that caught my attention. New York City also had a real police force. There were cops walking the streets, directing traffic and looking for lawbreakers. I couldn’t imagine these guys taking the murder of an old man like Ben Croft lightly. Most of them really looked as if they meant business. I even caught a couple of them giving us the once over. Maybe we looked as if we didn’t belong. But they were just doing their job. They were nothing like the hilarious Keystone Kops who would appear in the silent movies some years later.

     We had a good meal that night, then hit a couple of lively bars and threw down a few beers before catching the last ferry home. Back on the docks that Monday I found myself bored and restless. There was just one thing that kept going through my mind. Those New York City cops. Then it came to me. After years of just floating along on Staten Island and working a nowhere job, I knew what I really wanted to do. I wanted to be a member of the New York City police department.