1:58 a.m., Friday, December 16, 2011
"Wanna take this one yourself, Rook?"
Boone Drake shot his partner a double take. The 911 dispatcher had broadcast a domestic disturbance in progress at a seedy apartment building on West Jackson Boulevard in Chicago's most dangerous precinct, Harrison, District 11.
"I mean take the lead," Jack Keller said, eyes fixed on the pavement as he maneuvered the blue and white Crown Vic squad through icy streets."I'll have your back."
Boone didn't want to sound too eager, but there was no way he'd turn this down. He had excelled in twenty-three weeks of training at the academy and was just weeks into his eighteenmonth period as a probationary police officer. Boone hoped someday he would look as comfortable in his gear as Keller did. The press described his partner as rugged or chiseled, not bad for a man in his late fifties with a short crop of gray hair.
Boone took pride in being in shape and athletic, but there was no hiding his youth. He couldn't let that get in the way if he took the lead on this call. He tightened the Velcro on his bulletproof vest and ran his fingers across his Sam Browne utility belt, including his 9mm Beretta.
"It's put up or shut up time, Boones," Keller said as they neared the address.
"Sure, I'm in."
"Head full of all that training? Planning your approach?"
Boone couldn't stifle a laugh."All I can think of is the POLICE acronym."
Professionalism, Obligation, Leadership, Integrity, Courage, Excellence.
Keller shook his head."Big help if this guy comes at you. Remember your moves if he's armed?"
"You hope so. Well, so do I. I don't want to have to put one in a guy because you can't subdue him."
"Long as I know you're there, I'll be okay. You bringin' in the M4?"
"That's way too much firepower for inside. My 9 will be plenty."
Once Keller skidded to the curb out front, blue lights dark to avoid attention, Boone grabbed his nightstick and his uniform cap and slid out. As he slipped the stick into the ring on his belt, some druggies on the corner, their breath illuminated by the streetlight, called out, "Five-oh!"
Keller turned on them."Shut up or you're next!"
The gangbangers cursed the cops and flashed signals but quickly disappeared. As Boone rushed the front door, it occurred to him that those types were the real reason he was a cop. It was about the gangs. It had always been about the gangs.
Keller grabbed his sleeve and slowed him."Don't get ahead of yourself."
When Boone got inside and mashed the elevator button, Keller passed him on his way to the stairs."On the other hand, we don't want to be waiting when someone's in danger."
They trotted up the stairs, gear jangling and leather squeaking, Boone aware of Keller panting as they reached the fourth floor. An apartment door was open a couple of inches and an elderly woman in a bathrobe peeked out, hands clasped as if in prayer. She nodded toward the next apartment.
Keller whispered to her to close and lock her door and back away from it. He unholstered his weapon and fell in behind Boone, who stepped before the next apartment. A man inside shouted; a woman whimpered.
Boone spread his feet, rapped hard, and called out, "Police department! Open the door!"
The couple fell silent.
"Now!" Boone said, laboring to sound authoritative.
The man whispered; the woman whined.
"Open the door, sir!"
"He's got a knife to my throat!"
"And I'll cut her if you try comin' in!" "You don't want to do that, bro! Now open up and let's talk about it."
The man swore.
"Don't do anything you'll regret, man. Come on now."
The door swept open and there the man stood, reeking of alcohol, the woman locked in the crook of his arm, a sixinch steak knife at her Adam's apple. Boone ran through all his training in an instant. He knew where to grab, where to twist, how to use his weight, the angles, everything.
But when the man threw the woman aside and lunged at him, everything left Boone. He threw an uppercut so vicious that when it caught the bad guy under the chin, Boone feared he might have killed him.
The knife, which dragged a jagged tear under Boone's shirt pocket but had not damaged his vest, went flying. The man's head snapped back, his feet left the floor, and when he landed, he tumbled back and smacked his head against the far wall as he dropped in a heap.
The woman squealed and ran to him, falling to her knees. Boone held her back as Keller radioed for an ambulance.
Excerpted from THE BROTHERHOOD © Copyright 2011 by Jerry B. Jenkins. Reprinted with permission by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.