Brooklyn District Attorney Charles “Joe” Hynes thinks he is wielding a new, extra-legal deterrent against police corruption — his debut novel.
It took him 13 years to get it published — far longer than it took him to get a conviction in the Howard Beach beatings in 1987 — but he thinks “Triple Homicide” can be a cautionary tale for all the rookies out on the beat.
“My hope is someday a young cop will walk up to me and say, ‘I read your book and it scared the hell out of me,’ ” Hynes said after reading a chapter at Red Hook’s new bar, Rocky Sullivan’s, on Tuesday night.
“Triple Homicide” is the hardboiled story of a young NYPD sergeant’s fight to clear his name after murder charges are pinned on him by crooked cops. It received good reviews this summer, but sales have been modest.
No matter. Hynes said he felt compelled to write the cop story because of “how easily many [cops] were corrupted by chump change.”
Not that he means it in a negative way, of course. Hynes is apparently so concerned that his book might be considered an attack on the men and women in blue that he prefaced his reading by saying the story “arose out of my profound admiration for the New York Police Department.”
Some admiration! Hynes said graft has been an enduring problem in the NYPD because of loyalty among cops.
“Cyclical corruption,” he said, has been exposed “every 20 years for about 100 years” because of the “blue wall of silence.”
The audience quickly bought up all the available copies of Hynes’s book, whose real events, neighborhoods and characters will be recognizable to anyone familiar with the 1970s and ’80s.
“I can remember a lot of the events,” said Jim Boyle, the former head of the firefighters union. “It holds your interest and the ending caught me,” Boyle added while socializing with a friend at the bar.
“I think it’s great how passionate he is about the topic,” added Corey Calabrese, a Fordham law student.