Excerpt from True Justice by Robert K. Tanenbaum, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

True Justice

by Robert K. Tanenbaum

True Justice by Robert K. Tanenbaum
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Aug 2000, 416 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2001, 400 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Chapter One

A Salvadorean Chinese man wearing a red Hebrew National apron with a black-checked kefiya around his neck and a Yankees hat on his head -- in short, a typical New Yorker -- jaywalked across Tenth Avenue at Fifty-second Street, contemplating, like so many of his fellow citizens, a minor offense. He was a food vendor, the January dusk was closing in, and he wanted to dispose of the considerable trash that had collected on his cart after twelve hours of dispensing edible garbage. He was supposed to carry it back to the cart depot, but he was now about to deposit a fat plastic bag in one of the row of trash cans he knew was kept behind the pizza joint across the street. The commercial trash collectors of the city were still recovering from a week of snow and ice, though, and he discovered that the five cans in the alleyway off Fifty-second were full, with bulging black bags stacked around them. The man looked over his shoulder to see whether anyone was watching and lifted up one of the bags. His plan was to secrete his own modest contribution behind one of these stinking blimps. Instead, he froze, goggling, and stumbled backward, knocking over one of the trash cans. Someone else had obviously had the same idea, because a dead baby was lying on top of the trash bag he had uncovered. It was slaty-blue, faceup, the little face shriveled like an old vegetable. It was a boy, with the exaggerated genitals of the neonate, and its long, ropy umbilical cord dragged down into the shadows beneath the trash.

"What's happening?" said a voice in Spanish behind him. A kitchen worker in whites and a cheap black parka stood behind him. The vendor was speechless. The kitchen man said, "Hey, man, what're you doing, kicking over my...," and then he saw the baby, too.

"Oh, shit!" said the kitchen man.

"Oh, shit, is right," said the vendor. He spoke both Spanish and Cantonese and was thus able to converse with nearly every low-level food-service worker in the city.

The kitchen man looked at him narrowly. "You didn't put that baby there, did you?"

"What're you, crazy? I just come here to stash my garbage from the wagon. That baby's been here awhile. Look, it's all blue and stiff."

"Poor little bastard! It's a boy, too," said the kitchen man. "Hey, man, where're you going?"

The vendor had turned away and was starting back toward Fifty-second. He paused and said, "I got to get back to my wagon, man."

"Hey, but we got to call the cops."

"You got a green card, man?" asked the vendor.

"Yeah, I got a green card."

"Well, you call the cops, then," said the vendor, and walked off.

What followed had happened well over a thousand times in the previous year, and already twenty in the current one, the digestion of a dead human by the bureaucracy established for that purpose. The police arrived, two patrolmen, who secured the crime scene and took an initial report from the kitchen man. Then the crime scene unit arrived in its van and examined the dead baby and its surround for clues. The baby was lying on some paper toweling, and they bagged that. Then the patrol sergeant arrived, and an ambulance from Bellevue, and shortly after that two detectives from the unit assigned to Midtown South. These looked at the baby and the scene and asked questions and found the Chinese Salvadorean vendor and yelled at him a little. Then the ambo took the dead baby away to the morgue. The next morning, an assistant medical examiner autopsied Baby Boy Doe Number One and discovered that it had died of exposure. Since exposing a baby to January weather in New York falls under the section of the homicide statute having to do with death resulting from a depraved indifference to human life, the death was ruled a homicide. The District Attorney's Office for the County of New York -- that is, the isle of Manhattan -- was duly notified, and thus it came, but only modestly, into the cognizance of the district attorney's chief assistant by means of a pair of lines on a computer printout. This printout was generated by the complaint bureau, an organization that was to the district attorney's office as the little ovoid plastic tube on the top is to the Cuisinart. The lines for Baby Boy Doe Number One indicated that this was a fresh case, that no arrests had been made on it. The chief assistant's name was Roger Karp, called Butch by everyone except his aged aunt Sophie.

Copyright © 2000 by Robert K. Tannenbaum

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Before We Sleep
    Before We Sleep
    by Jeffrey Lent
    Katey Snow, aged seventeen, leaves home one night. "There was a void within her and one that could ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Hermit
    by Thomas Rydahl
    If you can be comfortable with Scandinavian noir played out against the sun-drenched backdrop of ...
  • Book Jacket: The Radium Girls
    The Radium Girls
    by Kate Moore
    In 1915, Austrian-born Sabin von Sochocky developed a luminescent paint that used radium to create a...

Win this book!
Win News of the World

News of the World

A brilliant work of historical fiction that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.

Enter

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Gypsy Moth Summer
    by Julia Fierro

    One of the most anticipated books of 2017.
    Reader Reviews

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T's S I Numbers

and be entered to win..

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

A richly layered novel of hearts broken seemingly beyond repair and then bound by a stunning act of human devotion.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.