Michael Baden, the former New York City chief medical examiner, has teamed up with his wife, Linda Kenney, a civil rights attorney and guest legal commentator on Court TV and other channels, for a debut thriller called "Remains Silent."
In a case of fiction imitating life, the two main characters are a medical examiner and an attorney. The novel's main character, Dr. Jake Rosen, is called upon to identify a pile of bones dug up in an excavation for a new mall. But after identifying the bones, the body count begins to rise, and the couple has to unravel a mystery.
You can read an excerpt from "Remains Silent" below.
It was Jake's idea of a perfect rainy Friday night. The trial was over, the truth had prevailed -- too bad about Manny Manfreda; she had done a good job but she didn't have the right evidence -- and now he was alone in his Upper East Side brownstone kitchen, eating Chinese food, reading a treatise on blood spatter, and listening to Duke Ellington's soundtrack of "Anatomy of a Murder." Brilliant movie, inspiring music. Peace, it's wonderful.
Alongside his take-out containers, piles of paperwork cluttered the top of his chrome-and-red Formica table; he'd tackle it over the weekend. His kitchen held a motley group of appliances: a recently purchased commercial stainless steel refrigerator, an avocado-green stove from the sixties, a white porcelain double sink from the fifties. The countertops were fifties Formica in green geometrical patterns; the metal cabinets, painted and repainted over the years, were a drab beige. A butcher-block island, scarred by years of white rings from wet plates and glasses, stood in faded glory in the center of the space. French doors in the back opened into a garden, converted by neglect into living quarters for a few happy squirrels, some pigeons, and an occasional chair.
Jake had bought the five-story brownstone in the mid-1980s, shortly after being hired at the ME's office. He could only afford it because it was north of Ninety-sixth Street near Harlem, in those days not the nicest of neighborhoods. But he didn't see it as an investment or even a possession. He saw New York's history: the wealthy who had once populated the area, the careful work of nineteenth-century stonemasons, and the varied texture of the constantly changing community. When he finally had the money to do some work on the place, it was so full of forensic teaching materials and artifacts he had no idea where to start. Besides, he didn't have the time. This was New York. People died by the hundreds every day. He never had the time.
The music stopped, and he stopped eating and stared at his food. The sauce on his sesame chicken, he realized, was nearly the consistency of human blood. He picked up a knife, dipped it, and spattered the sauce across the kitchen table and the wall behind it, as though someone had stabbed the chicken from behind.
The phone rang. Damn. He picked it up."Rosen."
The two words gave him a jolt of pleasure. The only voice allowed to intrude into his solitude was Pete Harrigan's -- any time and any place. Pete, thirty years Jake's senior, was one of only two people on this earth Jake loved. The other was his brother, Sam, and Sam didn't have intrusion privileges.
"Sure I miss you." Jake studied the mess on the table."In fact, I was just thinking about you. The influence of knife length on cast-off blood spatter patterns."