FragmentsOfRiotWar in the streets of America. I was a Miami, Florida, cop during the “black rage” rioting that accompanied the presidential nomination of Richard Nixon by the GOP convention on Miami Beach. Ferguson, Missouri, was a barroom brawl compared to Miami and what novelist Norman Mailer called “war in the streets, like in Vietnam.” There were thirteen bullet holes in my police car; I counted them after I got out of the hospital.


Nightfall. Streetlights shattered. Eerie illumination provided by the glow of fires ignited all over the Miami community of Liberty City. Liquor stores were the first to go. Looted, then set ablaze. Next went appliance, electronic, and music stores. Men, women and kids yelling, dancing and shouting, running away with stolen shopping carts full of loot. TVs, liquor, guns… Like flies working over a dying carcass. Sporadic gunfire;

A kid shot in the gut. Back in an alley. I scooped him up in my arms and ran with him to my patrol car while guns continued to bang. Blood soaked the front of my white uniform shirt;

A policeman dropped, wounded through the arm;

Cops pinned down in the street by a withering hail of bullets from the roofs of tenements. I crouched behind my car. A slug ricocheted off the trunk not six inches from my head, slicing a bright trough in the metal and shrieking off into the sky. And in the midst of the exchange, down the middle of the street, hobbled a heavy-set black man on crutches. Screaming insults at the pigs, taunting. He traversed the length of the street. Gunfire continued. So did his mouth;

Perimeter duty. Three dudes popped out from the mouth of an alley and opened fire. My partner Evans and I returned it. He was shooting a carbine. One of the red hot ejected shells flew down the back of my shirt collar. I thought I had been hit. . .

It might not have been a war. But I’ve been to war—and it felt like a war.

From the author of previous military and action adventure novels like The 100th Kill, Detachment Delta series, and The Return comes Charles W. Sasser’s latest speculative political action-adventure thriller, A Thousand Years of Darkness, ripped from today’s headlines and based on actual current events. Available in paperback from or and in ebook format for Kindle, Nook or Kobo.