Dave Haggard Thrillers

 "...a style reminiscent of the forefathers of the genre, Chandler, Hammett and Cain with the type of sharp wording, crisp dialogue and vivid descriptions that flow easy like a smooth Tennessee whiskey then kicks you in the throat when you least expect it." Amazon reviewer

 "Brass Knuckles is a pure thrill ride from beginning to end. I finished the book in an afternoon, I couldn't put it down. The story and it's characters could easily have been ripped from today's headlines... If the reading adrenaline rush is what you seek, I recommend you buckle up and grab some Brass...5 stars"

Johnny Holliday
, Radio Hall of Fame: "A must read for everyone in the Media."

Jim Bohannon, host of The Jim Bohannon Show: If you want to know how the media and their sources really dance with each other, this is it, from a first class reporter.

Dave Haggard thrillers

Dave Haggard. Radio street reporter in Washington, D.C. He's a bit rough around the edges for the public radio crowd but he's willing to go where the dandified won't go, so he's on the payroll.

Book one of the Dave Haggard series is Butterfly Knife. A crazed lunatic is using the weapon to murder priests. Dave finds himself at the center of the investigation and he and his girlfriend are used as bait by the police and the F.B.I. It might be the worst story idea he ever had. It nearly kills him.

Book two is Brass Knuckles. This story features cameos from three real broadcasters: Jim Bohannon, Neal Augenstein, and Jim Russell. They graciously agreed to "help" Dave as the story progresses.

This time he's chasing a story of assassination, greed, and an out of control hired killer.A federal judge is shot down outside the courthouse in Washington. A member of Congress is being investigated for skimming Oak Ridge cleanup money. A professional assassin, a former army sniper, is on the loose. Brass Knuckles takes you inside the world of investigative reporting in Washington, where journalists and their sources feed off each other. Dave Haggard, ace reporter for Now News, is again in the center of a dangerous search for the truth about murder, millions of dollars skimmed from the federal government by a powerful subcommittee chairman, and the madness of one man. The search for the truth runs through the F.B.I., the Justice Department, the office of a high powered defense attorney, Capitol Hill, and the beautiful mountains of East Tennessee, to its shattering conclusion.

from Butterfly Knife

It was the feet that kept him awake, not the urine. The stench from the feet was overpowering in the sourness that had fermented on the man. The guy was inches from Dave’s nose, just across a trough of sour clothes in the space between the mattresses. Dave Haggard turned over and faced the wall, but it didn’t help. The reek of urine came up from his own mattress and he wondered yet again why he thought this would be a good story.

Life on the street, that’s what he wanted to call it. A week with homeless men would give him and his listeners a real understanding of the problem. Washington, D.C., the capital of the free world, the seat of power, the city of monuments and memorials, was also the place where half-insane homeless men begged for change in front of the F.B.I. building and outside Metro stations as over-educated professionals scrambled for a spot on subways so they could get to their jobs at law offices, lobbyists, Beltway Bandits, and other slurpers at the public trough. Shit! Dave Haggard, Ace Reporter, was about to gag on his own story, right here in the shelter. Why don’t they clean the damn mattresses? Who peed here? He imagined that the others were plotting to steal the few things he had brought with him. His shoe laces were tied to his wrists to prevent them from stealing his shoes.

The man next to him moaned and farted and his eyes opened in a wide stare as he sat up and gazed at Dave. “Are you the word?”

Dave stared back, wondering what the man was talking about. The fellow had not bathed in a very long time, nor had he changed his clothes. Rumor had it that the old guy had maggots crawling around on his skin. The guy was clearly out of his mind. “I’m sorry. What did you say?”

The man leaned closer and looked into Dave’s face. “Are you the word?” He was wearing a dirty knit hat and his greasy hair was hanging to his shoulders. His rheumy eyes were red and sad. Something crusty was stuck in his beard. It was hard to tell if he had any teeth.

“No,” Dave said.

“Peppers. They call me Peppers. You can tell me your truth.” Peppers was about to say something else when a shouting scuffle broke out on the landing outside the door, which had been left open to allow light into the room where eight men were sleeping on the mattresses scattered on the floor of a former Catholic school classroom. Dave heard someone falling down the stairs, or so it seemed, and footsteps running away. Peppers cocked his head but didn’t turn around. Another man sat up, looking frightened. The others didn’t make a move.

Dave jumped up, careful to take his shoes with him. He walked out onto the landing and saw the priest at the bottom of the stairs, bleeding and trying to speak. Blood was coming from his mouth and he was gasping for air. He was making a moaning, animal-like noise and motioning for Dave to help him. Dave ran down the stairs, bent to the priest, and ran out the front door to find help. Two D.C. cops were driving by, halfway through their shift, hoping for a quiet night. They saw Dave run into the street and wave, pointing to the entrance to the shelter.

“What the hell!” said the driver, pulling to the curb and turning on the patrol car’s flashing lights. “What’s up?” he asked, thinking that Dave was just another out-of-his-mind drunken bum.

“A guy’s been stabbed in the shelter. The priest. He needs help. He might be dying.”

The two cops looked at each other. The senior officer, the one riding shotgun, shook his head, thinking of the paperwork that would be involved if a priest in a shelter was stabbed. His first thought, as he opened the car’s door, was that he might not get home until noon, eight hours from now.

The officers ran up the stairs, nearly falling on the ice that had built up during the night’s cold, and into the vestibule, where two homeless men pointed to the priest, now unconscious. Thirteen minutes later two D.C. Emergency Medical Service members were trying to get Father Phil to breathe again. Father Phil went to his heavenly reward before he arrived at George Washington University Hospital. He had been stabbed ten times, eight of the wounds were in his chest.
Cops filled the building, some in uniform, others in plain clothes. They sealed the exits and tried to herd the homeless men into manageable groups for questioning. It was clear that some of the evening’s guests had already gone, driven away by the threat of any contact with the police for any reason. One of the missing was Peppers, a shadowy man under the best of circumstances. He came to the shelter on only the coldest nights. He preferred living under the big bushes near federal buildings, finding a measure of privacy in the tunnel-like warrens between the branches and the stone of the government edifices.  But others were gone as well.

By Dave’s estimate, about a third of the seventy-odd men in the shelter that night were crazy, another third were unlucky saps whose lives went south and stayed there, and the rest were a mix of criminals on the run, hobos, sociopaths and oddballs of various stripes. More than a few of the men had the shifty eyes of gamblers, swindlers and thieves. Looking around at those who remained to be questioned by the police, Dave saw that the crazy and the unlucky were over-represented, while the shifty had quietly moved on.

One of them was a thin, fit man whose head was covered with a black knit hat. He had used burnt cork to hide his face from glare and notice as he moved down an alley near Connecticut Avenue and into an area that accommodated a small loading dock for one of the buildings that fronted the avenue. A dumpster was set against the wall of the dock and man used it as a ledge to gain access to an open window. Within seconds, he was inside and the window was shut. Thirty minutes later he walked out onto Connecticut Avenue, just another well-suited businessman getting an early start to his day.
At the same moment, Dave Haggard was answering questions from D.C. Police Captain Daniel O’Neil, a tall, pot-bellied, red haired Irishman who cultivated reporters all over the city if he thought they might one day be useful to him or the department. O’Neil was heading Homicide at the moment and angling for promotion to Inspector. O’Neil worked reporters he thought might be useful and so Dave had been invited for coffee on several occasions in the past. A half-dozen other street reporters in the city had also been subjected to O’Neil’s charm and bullshit.

“So, you really are a bum,” O’Neil said, laughing at his little joke.

“You guys have been calling us reporters bums for years,” Dave replied, looking tired.

“You’ve been bums for years. Cheer up. You gave your statement to my guys, right?”