Tales of Tomasewski – Del Staecker

(Reviewed by J.D. Jung)

No one remembers your accomplishments, only your last mistake. And it was a whopper. In fact it would plague Jan Tomasewski (aka Jake Thompson) for his entire career in the Chicago PD.

While busting a Guatemalan ring of thieves, Jake made a slight hesitation that cost him his career. He was promptly demoted to the Administrative Investigations Unit (AIU), which consists of a “mixed bag of casts-offs and politically-incorrect screw-ups muddling through a mountain of cases no one wants.” These detectives can’t get fired, but once in AIU, they never get out.

Now if there’s a probable no-win, high profile case in which the PD is likely to look bad, the task may be assigned to the AIU, so they will get the blame. However, if these “losers” solve the case, then headquarters will get all the credit. You get the picture; you can never redeem yourself in AIU. This is bound to affect morale, and that is no exception for Jake. He’s close to retirement and biting his time. However, everyone knows that he is a brilliant cop and many take advantage of it.

Jake finds himself involved in peculiar and often dangerous situations that we, as readers, become totally immersed in. Each chapter is a unique case or story, but many of the characters reappear from time to time.

Tales of Tomasewski is a collection of loosely threaded character-driven stories featuring intriguing villains, odd acquaintances and a few quirky con-artists–from, blind one-legged Johnnie to the popular vigilante turned cult hero, to a dangerous gangster from Hong Kong. Also, almost-forgotten friends resurface to ask for his help. I suggest reading these stories in order as we accompany Jake along his path of self-discovery.

Terse dialogue, which is supplemented by Jake’s sarcastic humor, enhances the stories. Author Del Staecker vividly paints the dark side of South Chicago, the cool Caribbean, as well as other locations where Jake finds himself.

This read isn’t too heavy; it’s quick and enjoyable. Tales of Tomasewski is just what I needed during these past stressful and troubling weeks.

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