Not every hero is invulnerable or infallible. This goes for detectives, especially. Men and women who make a living out of solving mysteries that often can’t overcome their own riddles.

But, sometimes, what many see as weakness may be the only strength needed to uncover a crime…and even survive. That is, if their issue, the ‘defect’ that haunts them, doesn’t push them across the line no one should ever cross…

The Case of the Defective Detective features original investigators by three of New Pulp’s best authors taking on mysteries while battling endlessly against their own demons. Ernest Russell, Gavin Matthews, and Gordon Dymowski along with cover artist Rick Johnston ask the question that readers are left to answer with these three stunning short stories-Detective or Defective?


Excerpt from The Case of the Defective Detective © Copyright 2022 Ernest Russell & Pro Se Productions

I picked up my paper and used it as a screen to hide my distaste. I wasn’t sure sometimes if I was a guard or inmate in our small loony bin. Ever since Victor, the star wonder kid of the department, lost half of his face in that West End raid, some of us thought he’d lost part of his mind and, just maybe, his humanity too.

Delia had been trying to prove herself as a reporter. She’d tracked a gang of car thieves to the old warehouse they were using to chop the cars. She hadn’t known some of the cars were being tricked out to smuggle goods or that a high-power meeting of underworld crime families was taking place that night.

Information from a snitch had said two of the most wanted crooks on the east coast, representing New Jersey and New York crime families, were meeting at the warehouse that night. Victor and Alvin were part of the pinch.

Alvin led the raid. Victor was to provide a distraction from the rear. At the appointed time Alvin burst through the front door, only to see Victor trying to rescue Delia. Fatally, he hesitated. The lookout’s Tommy gun spit twenty rounds into him at the waist. He was nearly cut in half. The doctors tried, but to no avail.

Victor had opened the door just a crack to scope the room out. Much to his surprise, he saw Alvin’s fiancée, Delia, tied to a chair in front of shelves full of car parts. The guards were watching the front. Taking the opportunity he slipped in behind Delia. When Alvin was shot as he burst through the door, Delia screamed and reflexively jumped. She only succeeded in falling backward, throwing Victor against the shelves. A car battery teetered and fell off the edge of the shelf. The glancing blow rendered him unconscious. Battery acid poured down the side of his face and soaked it.

The right side of his face healed up, pocked and seamed with scars of various hues. His right eye, bulging and clouded, hung an inch lower that his left eye. As a result, he refused to leave this squalid hovel for even the most basic of needs. Civil Service wouldn’t allow a Detective with half a face, but the Commissioner didn’t want to lose one of the brightest minds on the force. Somehow, he convinced the Comptroller’s office to do a bit of creative bookkeeping. Victor kept his detective’s salary.  He moved to this slum to be near headquarters. He had set out only one condition: Delia Burke had to be hired as his personal assistant. The Times had fired her after the incident and she had no prospects. With misgiving and a sense of guilt, Delia accepted the offer and became Victor’s verbal chew toy. As his Girl Friday, she ran errands and dutifully picked up the flat as much as he would allow.

It was the Commissioner’s idea I should be a part of this merry little band. I had come up the ranks through the Organized Crime Bureau. With my retirement in sight, I got pulled from an easy desk job and assigned to handle Victor’s paperwork. In reality, I was here to be oil on the waters, try and keep them smooth as possible. My question was, which would happen first: I draw my pension or lose my mind?

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