Sunday, March 1, 2015


by Dorothy H. Hayes

New York City was still suffering from an economic crisis in 1984, which is the time period that Broken Window takes place. It was not the city we enjoy today. The title, Broken Window, is itself historical; it reflects a type of crime that is nonviolent but a result of the lowering of police presence of the times. People were arrested, for example, smoking pot on the street, speaking too loudly, selling items without a license. It was said that such crimes were like a broken window that allowed vermin into an otherwise sound house. Some argued, at the time, however, the police should focus on real crime; the muggings, killings and kidnapping that were taking place in the city. That arresting people for “broken window” crimes was abusive.
That argument still stands today. 

The neglected, failing subway trains, of the times, were relics of themselves, unreliable often leaving passengers waiting at subway stops for forty minutes or more. Ten thousand police officers were taken off the street and there were not enough officers riding the trains to protect passengers from gangs that openly roamed and threatened passengers for pocket money with weapons like screwdrivers and knives. It was the year that Bernie Goetz shot four black youths who had threatened to mug him.

Talk show hosts joked about people getting mugged. “When was the last time you were mugged?” was a typical one-liner. 

The Crips a street gang, which is the prominent gang in Broken Window, began to sell drugs in NYC, and Queens. The Crips, basically a Los Angeles gang, were known to abduct beautiful girls, which acted for an aspiring member as initiation. The gangs then passed her around or sold her. Such criminal events still happen to day and were an inspiration for me to write Broken Window. Also inspiring me were the three courageous girls in Cleveland held captive for ten years, and the revelations of human trafficking in this country of our young, mentioned by Attorney General Eric Holder. He pointed to the tens of thousands of young who have run away from home and are left defenseless on the streets, and are exploited. That was also the case in 1984. 

The graffiti marred subway station and trains became a symbol of New York City’s decline. They were unrecognizable and more like crime scenes. So when my character, Kelly Singleton, a young beautiful girl about to become a freshman at NYU disappears on the Number Six Train, in August 1984, it is totally believable.

The New York City subway was dangerous, the parents told the three Wilton High School graduates, but the girls weren’t taking no for an answer. Kelly Singleton, soon to be an NYU freshman, and her two friends board the hazardous subway train. Several stops later, her two friends get off, but Kelly is nowhere to be found. It is the torrid August of 1984, and crime is at an all-time high. Kelly’s desperate parents turn to reporter Carol Rossi and police detective Jerry Stevenson to find their missing daughter.




“From the first sentence to the last, Dorothy Hayes takes you on a pulse-pounding journey into the heart of darkness … With flowing prose that won’t let go, impeccable research, and characters that breathe life on the page, do not miss Broken Window.”

--Racine Hiet, author, Stanley Park: A Novel; radio host, Party 934;

 and publisher/editor, Thrive in Life Magazine


“Hayes captures the danger of New York City in the 1980s and the nightmare of a girl gone missing … This suspenseful story rings so true, I couldn’t put it down.”

--Garry Rodgers, retired homicide detective, forensic coroner and best-selling crime writer


“Wow, another great book! … Hayes continues the fast-moving mystery thriller technique of Murder at the P&Z as we follow Rossi in her search for a missing 18-year-old girl in New York City.”

--Frank Hoffman, Co-founder,


“Over her head, professionally and romantically.”

Scratch the surface of a small town planning and zoning department, and you’ll uncover a story. That’s what Carol Rossi counts on in the winter of 1983, and she’s right. A former teacher, age 47 and romantically involved with a much younger police officer, she needs a big story to make a success of her new career as a reporter for a Wilton, Connecticut, weekly newspaper, but murder isn’t what she had in mind. When the victim turns out to be a woman on Rossi’s beat, writing a story no longer seems enough, and she vows to find the killer. Stalked and terrorized, Rossi soon finds herself in over her head, professionally and romantically.

Published by Mainly Murder Press: February 17, 2013 

Broken Window, another Carol Rossi mystery, will be published in the spring.


Dorothy Hayes, a staff writer for local Connecticut newspapers for five years, received and honorary award for her in-depth series on Vietnam Veterans from the Society of Professional Journalists. Prior to that she was a Language Arts teacher. A staff writer for a national animal protection organization, for six years, she wrote Animal Instinct, 2006. Dorothy lives in Stamford, CT with her husband, Arthur. She also raised four children, and is the mother-in-law to three, grandmother to fourteen, and is GN to Bella. She writes for WomenofMystery.Net, CriminalElement.Com, and is a member of Sisters-in-Crime-Tri-State Chapter, and Mystery Writers of American. Visit her at for more information. 
Dorothy began her writing experience as a staff writer for the Connecticut newspaper, The Wilton Bulletin.  After three years she moved on to the larger regional daily newspaper, The Hour in Norwalk.  During her tenure at this paper, she received an honorary award for her in-depth series on Vietnam Veterans from the Connecticut chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
Following her time at The Hour, she held the position of staff writer for a national animal protection organization for six  years.  In this role she was engaged in lobbying efforts at the state capital on behalf of animal protection and local and national campaigns for the advancement of animal rights.

No comments:

Post a Comment