The Berlin Fraternity Universe #2
Genre: Historical horror
Date of Publication: Dec 1st, 2017
Number of pages: 450
Cover Artist: Miriam Medina
A cold war after dark.
In the horsepower town of 1950s Detroit, FBI agent Christopher Haigwood is raising his Catholic family and hunting Soviet spies. Then a communist fanatic who was arrested with a lot of guns, dynamite, and heroin breaks out of jail right before his eyes, and Haigwood is plunged into a terrifying labyrinth of plots, informants, liars, and the horrifying revelation that vampires are real, and that some of his KGB quarry are undead.
Red Sleeper is set in the world of The Berlin Fraternity.
Haigwood had read Walter Swale’s file several times.
He’d written sections of it. White.
Brown eyes, brown hair, approximately 5’6”, 175 pounds estimated weight. Father
born in Poland, 1893, changed the family name to Swale from Szwarc on arrival
in the USA. Haigwood had studied photographs of Swale to memorize the high
chin, the bulging lips, the distance between the eyes, the widow’s peak that
pointed out of the receding hairline. He had once sat at Swale’s kitchen table
with the curtains drawn and copied names out of his address book while Swale
was out at the movies. Now Swale was sitting in jail, having been brought in
the night before for resisting arrest, along with possession of: four ounces
Mexican heroin, ten sticks dynamite, one M1 rifle with two hundred rounds of
ammunition, one police revolver with ammunition, and twenty-three copies of a
Communist Party pamphlet urging workers to revolt against their bosses and
their elected leaders in Washington, D.C.
Haigwood had been at home with his wife, Annie, over
the Thanksgiving weekend. He’d
gotten the call last night at dinner. Now he was walking into the jail at eight
on Monday morning to get his first eyeball-to-eyeball with this Red they had
been watching for more than six months.
There was a jail guard stationed at the front desk.
Haigwood smiled at the man as he
unwrapped his scarf from around his neck. “Good morning!
How’s everything with
“Good morning,” the guard answered, looking him up and
down warily. “Is it snowing
Haigwood took his fedora off, tapped the snow dust off its
brim, and ran his hand
through his hair. “Yes, it’s brisk
out there!” He pulled out his credentials.
“I’m Christopher Haigwood, Federal Bureau of Investigation.
I’m here to see
Swale, Walter, a prisoner brought in about 2100 hours last night.”
The guard, whom Haigwood saw was about ten years younger than he was, focused on
Haigwood’s ID. He reached his hand out tentatively to touch
the wallet. “I
heard about that. So you really work for J.
Edgar Hoover, huh?”
“And the American people,” Haigwood answered with a smile.
“Now do you think you
could get someone to show me to Swale?”
The guard picked up a telephone receiver from a handset at his
station and dialed a
number. Haigwood toyed with his hat,
smothered his impatient sigh, and looked
around at the signs in the jail’s foyer. The signs told him to be on the alert
for any men dressed in black and gray stripes, because they might be escaping inmates.
And that he was going to have to surrender his revolver if he wanted to go any
further. He looked out the window and saw the snowflakes floating gently
downward, their numbers growing. From further inside the jail he could smell
the morning coffee, but he’d just finished
off a Coca-Cola in the car.
He was really angry at Swale for getting himself arrested
like this. But he was
very much looking forward to
speaking to him personally.
A second guard appeared and took Haigwood inside the jail.
This one older than
him, and not shy at all about staring
at the G-man with frank curiosity. He had
a nametag that read, “G. Cantor”. Nobody asked Haigwood for
his service weapon,
so he kept his overcoat on and didn’t mention it.
“So I read this guy’s sheet,” Haigwood’s guide said indifferently
as they walked.
“Yeah, you did?”
“Yeah,” Cantor nodded, looking like he didn’t care,
but watching Haigwood’s face
carefully. “You know we don’t get a lot of dynamiters in here.”
“Oh, you don’t?” Haigwood put a chime of surprise in his voice.
“No,” the guard said, warming up to explaining his job to someone he had expected to
be smarter than him. “We don’t get too many commies, either.”
“I guess you’ve got one today, though?”
“Yeah, yeah, we’ve sure got one today. It’s an unusual day.
Here he is, on the end.”
They had been walking down a chilly, second-level row of
cells as Haigwood parried
Cantor’s efforts to pump him for information. It was cold enough that Haigwood
was quite comfortable with his overcoat on. Morning light, turned a cottony
gray by the snow coming down outside, slanted in through the high, narrow,
Swale was up early, and had heard them coming. Haigwood could see him pressing his
face up against the bars of his cell, craning his neck to see them approach.
But Haigwood stopped first at the cell adjacent to Swale’s, and looked down at
a little man wrapped in a blanket on one of the cell’s two bunks. “Who’s this?”
He asked Cantor.
“Who, him? That’s Hobson. He stays with us sometimes, three or four times a year.”
“What brings him in?”
“Tuning up his wife.”
gestured at Hobson’s sleeping cellmate. “And what about that one?”
“That’s, uh, Gomez. Got drunk and stabbed a fellow over a game of cards.”
“OK,” Haigwood said, reassured that the two men who might overhear his conversation didn’t much matter. He told the guard,
“Thank you very much, Mr. Cantor, I’ll
be fine here,” as he took the final few steps that brought him face to face
with Walter Swale through the bars of his cell.
Brian Downes learned to read at a young age. He is now a novelist who lives in Orlando, Florida. His other novels are The Berlin Fraternity and The Carrefour Crisis. He also writes for the website Florida Geek Scene.