Read the Prologue & First Chapter of Softening Flatbush, soon to be available from your local bookstore, or Barnes & Noble.

I, Max Royster, fat, broke, divorced, thrown off the NYPD for mental illness. Now in Flatbush, Brooklyn, I find new love, new murder and new career. Can I keep my love? Crack the case? Can I inspire and change private security? And maybe regain my NYPD shield?
I, Max Royster, ex-NYPD cop, am changing.

I want to marry and stay in one place.

Cooper, my new love, lives in Flatbush, Brooklyn, a neighborhood that used to be the borough’s jewel. The Brooklyn Dodgers and Jackie Robinson played ball there.

Back then, nobody in Flatbush locked their doors.

Sixty years later, street crime plagues the area.
As an ex-street cop, I watched robberies and shootings increase and criminals savage the neighborhood.

Someone kills a local black comedian.

Cooper and her friends want to clean up the neighborhood and improve Flatbush’s image. That way, they can ‘flip’ their homes and triple their profits

I call her friends “Flippers,” a term that does not amuse them.

She challenges me to run a guard agency that suffers from guards ducking work and taking bribes.

Somehow, I think I can inspire the guards by instructing them tricks I learned as a cop. I can transform them from unhappy minimum wage-earners to passionate, hardworking crime fighters.

If I succeed and make Flatbush safe for Cooper and her friends; we will buy a home there and enjoy a happy marriage.

My new employees and I fight to take back the Flatbush streets. I give them better training, uniforms and weapons. The guards buff their new badges with pride.

My boyhood friends, out-of-work actresses, barflies and story-tellers, join us in our quest.

But some guards refuse to let go of old vices. Others turn vigilante and bully innocents.

Curbing their zeal, I try to teach them to uphold civil rights as I hunt the suspect in the comedian’s murder.

Then, under cover of night, good and evil clash at the Lefferts Historic House. Facing disgrace and prison, I must decide what matters most in life to me.

Come walk with me on that razor edge between brutality and staying alive as Cooper and I, my Flippers and my guards give everything to try Softening Flatbush.

Cover Illustration by Nad Wolinska

Cover Design by Richard Amari

“Another riveting read from Frank Hickey. Once again, the author draws upon his years of law enforcement experience and his intimate knowledge of New York City to weave an authentic, compelling narrative. Softening Flatbush is a must-read for anyone who enjoys a contemporary edge-of-your-seat murder mystery.”

~ Eric Martin
(NYPD Lieutenant / Former TV News Producer)

Softening Flatbush is a remarkable work of writing. As a crime thriller, I was dazzled by the brilliance of the story line. I marveled at the carefully flushed out character development and found the dialog to be resoundingly familiar. As a police procedural novel, the book hits the nail right on the head. And as an homage to Flatbush, the book reminds me of the love affair that I had with its citizens, culture, music and food during my time there as a police officer.”

~ Moni Brahm
(ex-Flatbush NYPD officer)

“Being in the wrong place at the right time is the sign of a good detective, but being in the wrong place at the right time along with a social conscience makes a great detective. And Max Royster is a great detective. For him, solving a murder is not a job, it is a personal challenge. I just wish he had been on my team.”
~ Brian Russell
(Detective Superintendent [Retired], U.K.)

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