BOB MARTIN – 911

Bob Martin served the NYPD for 32 years in a wide variety of commands. These include the fabled Tactical Patrol Force (TPF), the Street Crime Unit, the Mounted Unit, the 72nd, 69th, and 6th Precincts, Queens and Bronx Detectives, and finally, the Commanding Officer of the Special Investigations Division. Martin was a charter member and played with the NYPD’s Finest Football Team for a dozen years. He served for twelve years on the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) “Committee on Terrorism” and traveled extensively, in this country and abroad, speaking on the subject. He retired as a Deputy Inspector in 2000 and began writing. In 2004, he led a law enforcement mission to Israel. His stories have been published in numerous magazines and newspapers. Bronx Justice, based on an actual case, his first novel, came out in 2016. His second book, the non-fiction 9/11 Remembered-Twenty Years Later, was published in June 2021.

In doing publicity for the 9/11 book, I was often asked about my motivation for writing both books. My answer was very simple-Bronx Justice was a book I wanted to write. 9/11 Remembered was a book I had to write. I retired in 2000 and was not involved in the response on that horrific day, but many of my NYPD friends were. Hearing the incredible stories of those that survived and the tales of those who made the ultimate sacrifice that day were awe-inspiring. Their bravery and willingness to sacrifice their own lives to try and save others filled me with tremendous sorrow and pride to have been a member of that department for 32 years. To see how these heroes were treated twenty years later, the violence and abuse heaped on these men and women on the streets of New York was sickening. I knew I had to get the stories of so many incredible first responders, true heroes, out for the public to learn.

Then Lieutenant, now Chief Terri Tobin, standing at the foot of the South Tower as it comes down. She was blown out of her shoes and hurled sixty feet across West Street, trapped in the debris. Her bullet-resistant Kevlar helmet was penetrated by a four-inch piece of concrete now embedded in her skull. She digs herself out and assists in getting a firefighter out from under an ambulance. When the North Tower falls, again she is hurled across West Street, this time with a two-foot piece of plate glass stuck between her shoulder blades. She continues to assist others until she’s finally transported to a New Jersey hospital, where she is treated for a severe concussion and broken ankle. Eighty stitches close her head and back wounds. And she wants to return to the Trade Center. That this incredible woman, if working the Summer of 2000 street unrest, could be ridiculed, cursed, and have objects thrown at her in the name of Justice, is unbelievable. There are many more stories similar to Chief Tobin’s.

The most challenging part of my writing process is (bonus points if you guessed)-Writing. My first book Bronx Justice took almost sixteen years to complete. For months on end, the manuscript sat in a drawer, unseen by human eyes, until I was blessed to meet a six-time NY Times best-selling author named Vincent Lardo. Vince got me into a writing group he was in, and for the first time, I had “Deadlines.” “Bob, you will read to the group next Thursday, send twelve new pages to the group by Monday. Under that pressure, the book was finished in two years.

9/11 Remembered came with its own deadline. I decided to write it in January 2021. It had to be completed well before the 20th anniversary of the attacks that September. The fact that I had decided that all proceeds from the book would be going to a 9/11 charity (The 3256 Foundation set up to honor NYPD Emergency Service Unit Sergeant and USMC Desert Storm veteran Mike Curtin who was killed on 9/11)
About – 3256 Foundation

https://www.3256-foundation.org › about

made getting it out as early as possible a must. It came out in June 2021.

So, in my case, deadlines make me sit down and write. That’s the reason I like writing for newspapers. I can see something in the paper that I feel needs commenting on, knock out a piece in about one hour, submit it, and generally get a yea or nay within twenty-four hours.

One tip I learned is-do not procrastinate in writing the piece and sending it in. I had seen a story that I wished to comment on, usually in the form of an Op-Ed, and debated about doing it for a day. When I submitted it, I got a reply from the editor along the lines of, “If I had seen this yesterday, it would have been in today’s edition. Unfortunately for you, we covered that story today.” So now, as soon as I get the idea, I write and submit the piece. I’ve been lucky enough to place stories in New York Newsday, the New York Post, and the Daily News.

My favorite authors are the usual suspects in the mystery/crime genre- Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, and in my humble opinion, the all-time master of dialogue, the late, great Elmore Leonard. His advice to aspiring writers to “leave out the parts people don’t read” is priceless.

I also love two authors who take their crime stories out West. Craig Johnson’s Longmire and C.J. Box’s Joe Pickett series have a special appeal to me. Johnson’s Sheriff Walt Longmire and Box’s Game Warden Joe Pickett are both set in Wyoming. As a member of the NYPD, I always knew that if the “shit hit the fan” and I needed help on the streets of New York, the cavalry would be riding to my rescue minutes after I put a call over the air. For Longmire and Pickett, it’s more likely hours in the wilds of Wyoming.

My advice to aspiring writers-get writing and get into a good writing group.

Links to my books

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwjA8P2m6uD7AhXgrHIEHRAlBFkQFnoECAkQAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2F11-Remembered-Twenty-Years-Later%2Fdp%2FB096LTWCB5&usg=AOvVaw1Yq3JK-0aojKZHNnS7iMTU

 

2 Comments

  1. Marisa Fife

    “I knew I had to get the stories of so many incredible first responders, true heroes, out for the public to learn.”

    This resonated with me after your heart-tugging description of what these courageous people endured while helping others during one of the worst events in American history.

    With the march of time, what 911 means is being eroded. That’s why I think it’s so important to remind people of what happened. I’m glad you do this through your books. Your background and connections no doubt lend an intimate, authentic point of view to this important part of history.

    Reply
  2. Michael A. Black

    Great post, Bob, and God bless you not only for your service in the NYPD, but also for helping the 9/11 charity fund. I’ll have to check out both books. Stay strong.

    Reply

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NICK CHIARKAS – Veteran – Police Officer – Attorney – Author

Nick Chiarkas grew up in the Al Smith housing projects in the Two Bridges neighborhood on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. When he was in the fourth grade, his mother was told by the principal of PS-1 that “Nick was unlikely to ever complete high school, so you must steer him toward a simple and secure vocation.” Instead, Nick became a writer, with a few stops along the way: a U.S. Army Paratrooper; a New York City Police Officer; the Deputy Chief Counsel for the President’s Commission on Organized Crime; and the Director of the Wisconsin State Public Defender Agency. On the way, he picked up a Doctorate from Columbia University, a Law Degree from Temple University; and was a Pickett Fellow at Harvard. How many mothers are told their child is hopeless? How many kids with potential simply surrender to desperation? That’s why Nick wrote “Weepers”—for them.

 

Weepers: The murder of an undercover cop in a New York City Housing Project in 1957 has unexpected ties to the unsolved disappearance of a young father walking home in those same Projects with his son, Angelo, on Christmas Eve 1951. The only witness to the cop killing is Angelo, now 13, as he was on his way to set fire to a grocery store at 2:00 am. The killers saw him. These events forge a union between a priest, a Mafia boss, a police detective, and Angelo, a gang member. In Weepers, we see that if you drop a rock into the East River, the ripples will go all the way to Italy. In the end, Weepers shows us that the courage of the underdog—despite fear and moral ambiguity—will conquer intimidation.

Awards for Weepers:

• Firebird Grand Prize Best Book Award (2022)
• Best Mystery Novel for 2017 the John E Weaver Excellent Reads Award by Earthshine. https://www.speakuptalkradio.com/nick-chiarkas-firebird-book-award-winner/
• Award Winner – Best Novel of 2016 by the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA)
• Award for Best Book Award by Midwest Independent Publishers Association (MIPA)
• Award for Best Young Adult Novel for 2016 by Bookvana
• Award for Best Crossover (Mystery & Young Adult) Best Books Award for 2017
• Award for Best Young Adult Coming-of-Age by Readers’ Favorite for 2018

Nunzio‘s Way: Nunzio drifted back to his childhood there on the Lower East Side. The narrow, trash-lined streets and alleys weaved together decaying brownstone tenements with common toilets—one per floor. Alone at ten years old, after his mother died, he learned to survive in one of the most notorious neighborhoods in the city. He shoveled coal and guarded the produce stored there by the ships docked off South Street to pay for living in the cellar at 57 Canon Street. After school, Nunzio mostly walked the streets. He recalled the putrid smell of decomposing cats and dogs covered with a trembling blanket of insects, rats, and things he didn’t recognize. And lying in the gutter against the sidewalk on Pike Street was a horse, with old and fresh whip wounds, shrouded in a cloak of flying and crawling insects. Only three years later, at the ripe age of thirteen, Nunzio killed his first man, a hulking longshoreman people called “the bear.” His life and the lives of four of his friends changed forever. Plenty of other horrors and hardships confronted him throughout his life, but when he closed his eyes, Nunzio saw the horse.

“Nunzio’s Way” In 1960, Declan Arden, an ambitious New York City lawyer, asked his boyhood friend and client, Nunzio Sabino, the most powerful organized crime boss of his time, to help him win the election for mayor. Nunzio agrees to help Declan, telling him, “In this city, you can have anything you want if you kill the right four people.” In Italy, after killing a top member of the Gomorra, Heather Potter, arrives in New York City seeking vengeance on the people who murdered her family. Those people include Nunzio Sabino and Mac Pastamadeo. Mac is the father of Angelo, the leader of the Weepers gang.

NICK’S FAVORITE WORKSPACE

Five fun facts most people don’t know about me (Nick Chiarkas)

  1. I received the Law Enforcement Commendation Medal from the Sons of the American Revolution, and I received the Equal Justice Medal from the Legal Aid Society – These two awards are not in conflict but in harmony. I believe that no one is above the law’s enforcement nor below its protection.
  2. I raised my two oldest children mostly as a single dad – just the three of us. They taught me a lot.
  3. I was one of a handful of NYPD cops sent to Woodstock in 1969 to provide security – it was incredible.
  4. While in an Army hospital, I received a very kind letter from J.D. Salinger.
  5. I was in the movie The Anderson Tapes (Starring: Sean Connery, Dyan Cannon, and Christopher Walken).

Available at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, University of Wisconsin Bookstore, Mystery to Me, other local independent bookstores, and from the publisher.

8 Comments

  1. Madeline Gornell

    Great interview, Nick! You should be sooo proud of your accomplishments. A true inspiration…. continued success!

    Reply
  2. Donnell Ann Bell

    Oh my goodness. From your mother’s low expectations to a stunning career. As a police officer tasked with security at Woodstock, could you define “incredible?”

    Congratulations on a stellar career, and George, I hope you’re enjoying your road trip! Be careful out there.

    Reply
  3. Joseph Bryce HAGGERTY Sr

    Nick, you seem to me a contradiction, but a steadfast believer in the law. Even with all of its faults, I too, believe in the law. Justice can come in many forms. Your experiences are amazing and it is obvious you have worked hard. Not that I am anybody of importance, but you have convinced me to read your books Thank you for sharing your well deserved awards and your resume of law enforcement.

    Reply
  4. Nick Chiarkas

    Thank you, Mike, I truly appreciate your generous words, my friend.

    Reply
  5. Marilyn Meredith

    Great interview! What a history–amazing!
    That teacher had no idea about you.

    Reply
    • Nick Chiarkas

      Thanks for your kind words, Marilyn. They are most appreciated, my friend.

      Reply
  6. Michael A. Black

    Wow, what a life story! Hearing all that Nick has accomplished is an inspiration to us all. He’s the stuff that true heroes are made of–a true self-made man.

    Reply

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