Fresh Meat: Broken Window by Dorothy H. Hayes

Broken Window by Dorothy H. Hayes is set in NYC in the summer of 1984 — a time when the subway was not a safe place for travel, as evidenced by a missing NYU student (available March 3, 2015).

Comment below for a chance to win a copy!

It's the summer of 1984, and New York City is steaming in more ways than one. Local politicians are spending lots of time arguing in the media but doing relatively little to relieve the stress of mass-transit problems. New York needs its subways and busses to keep the city going, but they were like a tea kettle set to boil.

The subway was dangerous.
But the three girls wouldn’t take no for an answer. Kelly Singleton was moving from her Connecticut home into her NYU dorm, and the subway was part of her new life, she told her concerned parents.

Jamie Ryan and Christina Moore were her two best friends and would be visiting Kelly whenever they could. They insisted that they needed to learn how to navigate mass transportation.

For all three of them, riding the subway was a rite of passage. That was their final plea.

The old, rusted trains they were so anxious to ride broke down regularly, leaving passengers to wait, sometimes forty minutes and longer, in dangerous circumstances, their parents argued. The Daily News and The New York Times frequently reported gang violence on the trains, which in the last ten years had become the symbol of the city’s rising crime rate.

If you have or have ever raised teenagers, you’ll recognize these girls immediately. They’re so sure they can master the world, they pay no attention to lessons their parents are still trying to teach. However, we all know teens have to cross that threshold into independence or they can’t survive. That doesn’t make it any easier for parents to let go.

Dorothy H. Hayes does a good job of conveying the teenagers’ sense of adventure during the ride and the parents’ fear when the unthinkable happens. It was just a trip to the city. There were hundreds of people around. Somebody should have seen a beautiful young girl when she exited the subway.

Because she is the local investigative reporter, Carol Rossi has achieved some notoriety. Readers met her in Hayes' first novel, Murder at the P&Z, where Rossi used her analytical skills to look into local politics at the Planning & Zoning Commission. She's an interesting and innovative amateur detective who is uncompromisingly dogged in her inquiries.

Having worked for a small-town weekly paper myself, I found Hayes’s portrayal of the reporter spot on. When you’re a part of a small community but need to report objectively, you’re often reluctant to share what you’ve found. Everything you write ripples through the town like a pebble thrown in water.

Newly married to Detective Jerry Stevenson of the Wilton Police Department, Rossi sometimes finds herself at odds with her husband. While she’s out to get the whole story, Jerry is concerned that she may be inserting herself where she shouldn’t be. The two are also adjusting to living as a couple and maintaining busy schedules. Add to that they live on a working farm that also has livestock and a small pack of rescued animals.

At Peaceable Kingdom, we remain among the very few who cling to Wilton’s agrarian past. The farm and the animals would brace us as we worked on this case. The light changed and the traffic soon grew thicker as I crossed the boundary to Norwalk, Wilton’s colonial sister.

I yawned. Thanks to the farm, lately I know new levels of exhaustion. Monday, we harvested berries and carrots after doing a general cleanup during the weekend. Waiting in the wings were the cornfield and apple trees.

My ugly fingernails bore witness to the harvest, cracked, broken, and unpolished. I grabbed a nail file from the glove compartment to work on them at another traffic light. It took a couple of lights, but at least my nails were a unified mess by the time I reached the parking lot of the Norwalk Daily News.

Rossi is drawn into the missing-girl investigation by Kelly's parents, who want her help due to her notoriety from her last big story. Taking on the assignment puts her in a precarious position with her husband, but Rossi is compelled to do what she can. After all, there’s always the possibility that Kelly can be rescued. Jerry keeps reminding her of jurisdictional issues while Rossi sees everything in terms of the victim.

My own reporting was limited to feature stories. I knew right away I was not cut out for hard news. I think it became clear to me when my associate and I argued who would take pictures if the car wreck we were headed to had blood on scene. Knowing there could be sad outcome to a heavy news story kept me doing lifestyle pieces.

Rossi, on the other hand, is intent on preventing the unpleasant outcome. She’s taking daily trips to the city, digging into the details of recent murders, and going to talk to witnesses personally.

I enjoyed the way Hayes slowly built the tension, but kept the action moving in the story. At times, I found myself holding my breath for fear of what I would read next. A missing person story is always spine tingling because there are so many ways it could end.

Take a ride through the city that was New York more than twenty years ago. Feel the sticky heat of summer and the inescapable tension created by reading about someone who has no control over their own fate.

As bad as driving in New York City traffic is, this book could make you think twice about taking the subway.

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Broken Window Comment Sweepstakes: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry. To enter, complete the “Post a Comment” entry at beginning at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) February 26, 2015. Sweepstakes ends 1:59 p.m. ET March 5, 2015. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

Leigh Neely is a former journalist and editor who now writes fiction and articles for regional magazines. She and her writing partner, Jan Powell, are the authors of Second Nature by Neely Powell, and the trilogy, “The Witches of New Mourne.” She also writes for the popular blog, Her short stories are in the anthologies, Murder New York Style: Fresh Slices and Murder New York Style: Family Matters, put out by the New York/Tri-State Sisters in Crime.

Read all of Leigh Neely's posts for Criminal Element.


  1. Patrice Gottfried

    Read a few of her other books. Fantastic! Would love to read this one.

  2. DebP

    I haven’t read any of her books, yet, but I’d like to.

  3. MaryC

    Not sure the subway is safer today – people are so wrapped up with their electronic gadgets, they don’t pay attention to what’s going on around them.

  4. Sally Schmidt

    This sounds like an exciting read. I haven’t read any of her other books but I need to check them out as well. Thanks for the giveaway.

  5. Vanessa Galore

    I moved to NYC in 1984, and rode the subway a lot the first few years. It was the time of Bernard Goetz. There was a lot more danger everyday on the subway than there is now.

  6. Kris Kaminski

    ready to take a ride!

  7. Dorothy H. Hayes

    Leigh, thanks for a terrific review. You are too kind!

  8. sha-li lee

    I was working in New York City in 1984 but avoiding to take the subway as much as possible. Looking forward to reading the book.

  9. Joy Gergle

    Loved Murder at the P&Z! Excited to get my hands on Broken Window! For those of you who haven’t read any of her previous books it’s definitely a must!! You won’t be disappointed!

  10. Cindy Hipolito

    Broken Window sounds like a fascinating read. This would be my first introduction to this author. Thanks for the giveaway.

  11. Dorothy H. Hayes

    Thanks, everyone, for your wonderful comments. Yes, the subway may always have its element of danger, but it was much worse in 1984 for the trains were old, and the lack of police presence.

  12. L Peters

    Sounds like another winner. Thanks!
    L P

  13. L L

    nice review

  14. Janice

    Sounds like a very interesting read. Definitely want tol read this one.

  15. Lisa L

    Engaging characters, great read. Hayes did it again! Look forward to joining Rossi on her next big case.

  16. Dorothy H. Hayes

    Thanks, again, Everyone! I’ve grown to like Rossi and Jerry to the point that I had to write another book for them, and at the moment, I’m writing the third book in the Carol Rossi Mystery Series.

  17. Linda Knowles

    As a mom to 2 teenage girls…I would love to read this

  18. Bee Pierce

    Sounds interesting

  19. Irene Menge

    I don’t live in New York, but when I’ve visited infrequently during the last 50 years, I’ve had to ride the subway on occasion. When I was a teenager, it was an adventure. Now I always try to remain aware of what is happening around me. I will say that I’ve never had any problems other than missing my stop a few times. But I do know that there can be danger there. I’m looking forward to reading this book.

  20. Karen Mikusak

    Would love to win!

  21. officerripley

    Hope I win; thanks for the chance!

  22. Mary Ann Brady

    Sounds great. Thx for the book.

  23. Alexa Nernberg

    I haven’t read anything by Dorothy Hayes before, but Broken Window sounds like an intriquing novel that I could get lost in. Thanks for sponsoring this giveaway and for the opportunity to participate.

  24. Shannon Baas

    I would like to read this.

  25. Sandy Klocinski

    I haven’t read any Dorothy Hayes but this sounds like something I might like. Thanks for the giveaway. I’m looking forward to reading this book

  26. DebP

    Yes, I’d like to read this book.

  27. Dorothy H. Hayes

    Launching Broken Window is an extroadinary event and reading the enthusiastic comments above adds to the moment. Thanks to all involved!

  28. Sheron Yancey

    Broken Window looks like my kind of book. Looks interesting would love to win one!

  29. Sharon Shumway

    Mystery and New York City ! Great combination for a good story.

  30. Teresa Young

    Sounds like my friends & I taking the bus to the city when we were teens.
    I’d like a chance o read this author who is new to me.


    I would love to win!

  32. Marjorie Manharth

    Looks very interesting. Would love to read it.

  33. Andra Dalton

    Very intriguing book, can’t wait to read!!! Thanks for the opportunity to win & good luck to all who enter!!!:)

  34. Wilifred Alire

    Thank you for introducing a new mystery author to me. Will also check out the other book, hopefully, my county library will have purchased the book.

  35. Michael Carter

    Sounds interesting.
    Yes, please enter me in this sweepstakes.

  36. anne goodman

    Always love to find a great new book!

  37. Brenda Elsner

    Looks like a great book!!!

  38. Rebecca Brothers

    Sounds like a good one!

  39. Lisa Pecora

    I would love to read this!!

  40. Jeanette Barney

    Sounds good!!

  41. Dorothy H. Hayes

    Again, thanks for all the enthusiasm for this new release! Enjoy the ride on the Number Six subway train, but be careful!

  42. Daniel Morrell

    would like to read

  43. Laura Earickson

    Sounds like a book I would like to read

  44. Michael Papagermanos

    I lived 1984 in New York City!

    Let’s see how good this book is in describing my experiences.

  45. Peter W. Horton Jr.

    Beware the subway! Yes!

  46. Lori P

    Appears that this book would be a real ride, and a journey worth taking!

  47. Tara Braun

    Sounds good.

  48. Susan Mahaffey

    Sounds good and perhaps scarey! I hope I win Broken Window!

  49. keith james

    Thanks for introducing me to another new author.


    I’ve never been to NYC but love reading about it.

  51. Theresa Sivelle

    Sounds interesting.

  52. sherlene stanley

    I love the sound of this book.

  53. Betsy Whitmarsh

    Interesting synopsis!

  54. Sally

    It’s been many years since I’ve been to New York and ridden the subway, hope to go this spring and do that. But this book might change my mind about that ride. I look forward to reading this book.

  55. Joyce Mitchell

    Sounds interesting – thanks for the chance to win.

  56. Lori Rutherford

    I rode the NYC subway for the first time last year. It was definately an experience. Would love to read this book. Thanks for the chance!

  57. Janet Gould

    This looks like a great read!

  58. Vicky Boackle

    sounds great.

  59. Barbara Lima


  60. Amyc

    I graduated in 1984 and ignored my parent’s advice about driving in Chicago…didn’t end up “in a ditch somewhere” on my way home (downstate on the Mississippi) like they thought I would, but was just boringly stuck in traffic for 10 hours while they assumed I was.

  61. Amy Curtiss

    I graduated in 1984 and ignored my parent’s advice about driving in Chicago…didn’t end up “in a ditch somewhere” on my way home (downstate on the Mississippi) like they thought I would, but was just boringly stuck in traffic for 10 hours while they assumed I was.

  62. Carol Gowett

    Many years ago I took my first solo cross-country driving trip (right after seeing the movie Psycho yet!!) and got snow-bound in New York State. There were definitely some scary moments, both on the road and in the motel I ended up in for awhile!

  63. dorothyHayes

    Amy, and all other young people, commenting, Broken Window, I guess, for the young, is a cautionary tale. We all want to try our wings, when we’re young. But caution, that’s the key.

    My young characters were cautious, just not cautious enough.

  64. Dawn K

    looks awesome

  65. Ed Nemmers

    I would like to read the work of Dorothy H. Hayes.

  66. Anastasia

    Yes! Count me in 🙂

  67. Deborah Wellenstein

    This looks like a great read-thanks for the opportunity!

  68. mamaconnie

    I have not read any books by this author but this one sounds particularly exciting and I’d like to win a copy! Thanks for the chance.

  69. Karen Hester

    Sounds interesting.

  70. elaine fisher

    perfect gift … thanks

  71. Tricha Leary

    very interesting


    WOW! What a plot! What an author!

  73. Debra Kidle

    Sounds like a fantastic read!

  74. Barbara Taylor

    A new author for me. I’d love to give this book a try.

  75. Rhonda Forbes

    Sounds like a wonderfuful book

  76. nukstreasures

    This is my kind of book. It sounds like one of those you can’t put down

  77. Donna Jacoby

    I’m always looking for the next book to read & this one sounds good. Thank you for the giveaway!

  78. Sand Lopez

    Oh, this sounds like a great book!

  79. Betty Curran

    I haven’t read any of her books yet, but I’m definitely going to.

  80. Daniel Vice

    I would like this

  81. Tim Moss

    Good deal, count me in!

  82. Buddy Garrett

    It sounds like an excellent read. Thanks.

  83. Heather Cowley

    Sounds pretty scary! I remember the news stories coming out of NYC back in those days. I visit often and still refuse to ride the subway! lol

  84. Lily

    Thanks for the great giveaway!

  85. Karen Terry

    Sounds like a great read.

  86. Debra Kidle

    Would love to read this, sounds thrilling!

  87. cindy boyd

    Sounds good! I remember being young and feeling bullet proof!

  88. MB Murray

    I have not read this book but it looks interesting. The subways are very intriguing as you get to people watch, listen to your surroundings in a way like no other. When I went to John Jay in NYC … I found I had the adrenaline to run just to catch it in time … although it was dark in the surrounding. Now the lights are a lot brighter and its a lot cleaner.
    I look forward to reading this book soon.

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