Cerberus

Ray McCarthy Book II

Anna and William Christianson (Colleen and Brendan McCloskey) are popular residents of the small town of Southern Pines, North Carolina. There is not a single person who has had a conversation with them and not smiled. They have given money to those in need. If someone even vaguely familiar to them is in the hospital, the Christiansons will be there. Moore Regional Hospital puts the couple on the visitors' list though they are not of family relation to anyone in town. By now, most folks would have made Anna the mayor—or at least bestowed on her some public recognition. However, the Christiansons do not need that kind of attention.

It is via Moore Regional Hospital that Brendan McCloskey came to Southern Pines. Thirty-eight years prior, he was flown in half-conscious and muttering the name Norman. Weeks went by before he was on his feet again. The FBI rescued Brendan during a raid on the Rothschild Mental Health Center in Philadelphia. He had endured a month of ritualistic electroshock therapy. It was Brendan's presence there that brought this center of barbaric zealots down.

Brendan had no disorder warranting commitment to a facility. What he did have were powerful enemies of a now-defunct crime syndicate that he'd spent a year tearing apart. In the summer of 1977, mob violence ransacked Hell's Kitchen. The New York media embraced a vigilante waging a one-person war on Jimmy Coonan's Irish-American Westies and dubbed the interloper Cerberus. In his first encounter with the Westies, the individual named for the mythical dog guarding Hell took out seven of nine individuals on a tenement rooftop. The remaining thugs were picked up by police later that evening, spilling their guts and giving birth to a legend. Cerberus was the most effective and celebrated vigilante of all time. His targets gave then-District Attorney Rudy Giuliani a virtual road map of Coonan's holdings and operations.

Then Coonan's enforcers caught him.

It was the FBI that found Brendan, flew him first to Duke Medical Center, and then relocated him and his bride to Southern Pines. The mayor and select members of the town council are privy to the backstory of Christiansons, and the council remains in contact with the FBI. The knowledge and responsibility for protecting the couple pass from one councilman to the next as elections come and go.

 

Now, with the debilitating and lingering effects of his "therapy," as well as the onset of dementia, the man renamed William Christianson, his wife Anna, and the small town of Southern Pines are in danger.

 

The illegitimate son of the incarcerated Jimmy Coonan has surfaced to reclaim the now affluent Yonkers, New York as his territory. As he has no reputation or money, he reaches out to remnants of the Gambino crime family for assistance—much as his father did decades before. To prove to the Gambino underbosses that he is no joke, Michael Coonan resolves to track down the vigilante who helped Giuliani tear apart his family legacy. Coonan has also solicited and found a deep-pocketed ally in Norman Rothschild himself. Rothschild has not forgotten the defiant patient whose tenure ended his public career.

In Southern Pines, the Christiansons have inadvertently garnered some media attention. A pair of tourists arrive in town asking about William and Anna, and that puts the town council on high alert. To assess the threat level, the mayor contacts the family of Ray McCarthy, the county's local celebrity, because of his relationship to retired Mafia boss Tom Cianci. The council hopes the gangster can ferret out who is coming for the Christiansons. In the process, it learns that the identity of Cerberus is not as cut and dry as the town council—or even the FBI—believes.

Southern Pines is ambushed and must galvanize itself to protect its infamous residents until help arrives. A unified community of families, retirees, and transient military personnel won't be enough, though. Cerberus will have to emerge from the shadows and make a stand.

Father Baumann

 Ray McCarthy Book III

The intuitive and pragmatic priest from Three Miles of Eden investigates a new curiosity in Seven Lakes, North Carolina. Father Baumann befriends a young man with autism who has an inherent ability to sense when others are in danger. Eighteen-year-old Tommy Shaw is an athletic lad who consistently puts himself at risk to help others, and he has no idea from where the impetus comes. Inevitably, Tommy gets in over his head. It's up to the good Father and some old friends to unveil the forces at work and to save Tommy from himself.

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