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Cop with the Pink Pistol

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"Fast-paced and hilarious."  -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"With a wink and generous helpings of tongue-in cheek humor, Basnight dishes up a delicious debut that will strongly appeal to anyone who loves amateur sleuths and colorful cops." -- Library Journal Debut of the Month (starred review)
"[Donna Prima's] antics provide fast-moving fun in Basnight's promising debut." -- Booklist
For a fast, fun look at The Cop with the Pink Pistol, click here or here. 
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by Gray Basnight

Available March 6, 2012


She doesn’t do jiggle. She isn’t into shoes or jewelry. She doesn’t wear makeup (or, as she calls it, “war paint”). NYPD Homicide Detective Donna Prima’s sole concession to modern womanhood is the pink .38 she wears strapped to her ankle.  Not that she has much opportunity to use it, having been demoted to desk duty for a serious infraction of NYPD rules. On a routine burglary follow-up in Greenwich Village, Donna meets soap-opera actor Conner Anderson (Crawford on the top-rated Vampire Love Nest), who alerts her to some strange goings-on in a liquor store across the street. Sick of being chained to her desk, Donna decides to investigate. Meanwhile, the Feds needs her help on a cold murder case as they investigate a theft from a nuclear power plant. Will taking on Conner as a “civilian partner” be the start of something beautiful or the biggest mistake of Donna’s life?


Chapter 1 of The Cop with the Pink Pistol

     “Hey José, there is nothing in this stupid place!”

     Vasily Putskya sits on the edge of the rumpled double bed. The tiny apartment is a mess, but that’s not entirely his fault. The old woman who lives in it is an even bigger slob than he is. Dirty clothes litter the floor, old newspapers are stacked high, and every tabletop is cluttered with crap, none of it possessing any street value. The bed with a gigantic maple headboard looks like something shipped from Russia when the czar was still on the throne.

     Putskya adjusts his Bluetooth headset. “José, I said there is nothing in this stupid apartment. No jewelry. No money. No toys. There is nothing in this place to steal. Nothing!”

     “Did you check the freezer?” the voice in his ear asks. “Check the freezer.”

     Putskya rolls his eyes. He removes his Yankees baseball cap to run his hand over his head in frustration but stops because of the latex gloves on both hands. “Yes, of course I check. Everything. Freezer. Bathroom cabinet. Suitcase under bed. Closet. Shoeboxes. There is nothing. Unless you want something called Crock Pot.” 


     “Ya … govno!”

     “I thought that old woman would have a ton of money hiding somewhere,” the voice groans.

     “Well you make mistake. There is nothing here. She is poor like Russian peasant poor, which is the poor of all the poor. It is poor as they come.” He picks up a book on the bedside table. It is Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky—in Russian. “Ah, in fact she may really be Russian peasant.”

     “What?” the voice asks. “Listen, Vasily, there’s a lot of traffic out here, you have to speak up for me to hear you, man.”

     “Never mind! There is nothing here worth stealing. You idiot. You send me into apartment of poor old Russian woman with nothing to steal.” 

     Suddenly the voice in Putskya’s ear becomes excited. Oh, mierda. Ella entra el edificio. Mierda!”

     “What? Speak English!”

     “Ella viene. Ahora mismo.” Putskya knows something is wrong but he has no idea what. He runs to the door to look through the peephole viewer. The stairwell is dark and quiet. Ready to bolt from the apartment, he rips off the latex gloves and stuffs them into his pocket. He whispers hard and clear into his headset.

     “Listen, José, I don’t speak Spanish. So unless you learn Russian really fast, you have to talk English.”

     “Vasily, she is coming. She just entered the building. Walk up the staircase so she doesn’t see you. Wait for her to go into the apartment, then come back down.”

     “Govno! Okay.” Putskya runs to the telephone concealed under a pile of Verizon and Con Edison bills. Gripping the phone cord, he rips hard, making certain the plastic tab breaks from the jack so the phone will not function. He quietly opens the apartment door, steps out, closes the door, then races up the steps to the small landing, where he stands in silence, waiting for the woman’s slow-moving footsteps to reach apartment 7.

     “Eh …” she mutters, finding that the door pushes open when she tries to insert her key. “Oh govno!” she exclaims, noticing the ripped doorframe. After she enters her apartment, Putskya quickly darts down the steps, tiptoeing past her broken door as she shouts wildly in Russian.

     Wow, Putskya thinks, that old woman curses better than I do. He pauses in front of apartment 4, directly below hers. It too has an ancient wooden door. He could easily pop it open. If nobody is home, he could be in and out in twenty seconds. It’ll take the old woman upstairs longer than that to call the police, even if she has a cell phone, which she probably doesn’t. It’s a little risky, but it’s better than going back to José’s car empty-handed. Above him, he hears the old woman cursing about shoeboxes turned upside down and her rifled clothes closet. What’s it to her? She’s such a slob, what difference does it make? Besides, he didn’t even steal anything.

     “Hey, Vasily. You okay?”

     “Yeah. Hold on. I’m going to try apartment number 4 directly below.”

     “Uh, okay. Be fast man.”

     Vasily knocks on the door. Nothing. He knocks again. Still nothing.

     “Okay, José. Here goes.”

     He pulls a crowbar from his right pants leg, inserts the end into the doorjamb just below the deadbolt, and pulls firmly. The wood is so old it barely makes a sound when the lock pops free.

     “I’m in,” he whispers to his partner.