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Young DonApril 6, 1961, I was sworn in as a brand new police officer in a ceremony held in the office of Ray Smith, the city auditor, in City Hall. I was nervous, proud of myself for passing all the tests, not least of all surviving an interview with the shrink, and now I stood with my hand up, swearing to serve the citizens in an honorable manner.”

Thus begins a memoir by Don DuPay, (pictured left as a rookie patrolman) He served the people of Portland, Oregon faithfully and well all through the turbulent sixties and seventies, but his time with the police was not to end with a gold watch and choruses of “For he’s a jolly good fellow..” from his fellow officers. Although Don’s book is full of insights into his years of policing Portland, the case which effectively ended his career is worth a detailed look. In 1975, DuPay had investigated the death of a  black youth called Zebedee Manning. The fifteen year-old was found in his bedroom, laid out with his arms and hands folded across a sawn-off .22 rifle that lay on his chest. The eyes were shut and he could see the boy had been shot at point blank range directly through the centre of his forehead. Manning (below, photographed at the funeral home) was already in a full tail spin down through a spiral of drug abuse, petty criminality and despair.


Dupay was certain that the Manning crime scene had been set up – unconvincingly – by someone who was keen to have the death recorded as a suicide. He was shocked when he was told by a senior officer that Manning’s death was just that:

“It’s over, DuPay. Go work on something else. He’s just another nigger dope dealer who cashed in his chips – so what?”

Angered and astonished by the callous dismissal of a young boy’s life and death, DuPay resolved to work the case on his own. DuPay knew that the boy’s bedroom had not witnessed a suicide, but something more sinister. There were four key pieces of evidence which were screaming “murder!” to Dupay, if to no-one else.
(1) Who shoots themselves through the forehead, and then manages to rearrange their hands to cradle the weapon?
(2) Downstairs on the kitchen table were four empty glasses and half a bottle of whisky. Manning’s mother, Annie Mae, had been at work and came home, only to discover her son’s body. She insisted that alcohol was never allowed in the house. Who, then, were the drinkers?
(3) There were two bullet holes in Zebedee’s room, one in the wall and one in the ceiling. Was this Zebedee practicing, or could they have come from someone firing the gun to frighten him?
(4) DuPay found three car titles in the boy’s room. These are the American equivalent of UK vehicle registration documents, and were commonly used as collateral in drug dealing.

BTB009Dupay was convinced that Manning had been killed for some infraction or a bad debt in the violent and ruthless world of those who deal in narcotics. But why were senior officers of the Portland Police Bureau determined to bury the case? Why did Dupay arrive at the office the day after the body had been found, and found that all the details had been wiped from the status board listing ongoing and unsolved cases?

There could only be one logical answer, and it sent an icy chill down DuPay’s spine. Zebedee Manning was dead, because he had been involved in some kind of drug scam which involved officers from the PPB. DuPay’s suspicions were as good as confirmed when he was abruptly busted down from the Homicide division to work in the dog-end department of Burglary. DuPay stuck it out for another few years, but his faith and trust had been irrevocably shattered. By April 1978, he’d had enough:

Don“I tossed my badge on the Captain’s desk, telling him that I was sick of the job and tired of the hypocrisy of people like him. I told him my health had been suffering and I hated the work, only because I hated some of the people I was forced to work with. I also hated being told that I could not investigate a particular 1975 ‘suicide’ that I knew to be a murder.”

Don DuPay left the police force and found that his skills and experience were in demand elsewhere, in the private sector. His memoir is brimful of stories of brave men trying to confront villainy on mean and dangerous streets. He writes with disgust of people in power who have traded trust for expediency. He exposes a culture deeply embedded in a police force which viewed the folk on the streets as potential enemies at the worst, and at best time wasters and irrelevant small fry. To this day, no-one has been convicted of the killing of Zebedee Manning.

Manning grave

BEHIND THE BADGE IN RIVER CITY is available on Amazon.

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Let’s meet Gary Corbin. Gary is a writer, actor, and playwright, and he lives in the city of Camas, which is actually still in Washington State, but a stone’s throw from Portland Oregon. If the stone thrower had a particularly strong arm, he could probably lob the rock over the 49th Parallel and have it land in America’s noisy neighbour, Canada.

Gary’s creative and journalistic work has been published in the Portland Tribune, The Oregonian, and Global Envision, among others. His plays have enjoyed critical acclaim and have enjoyed several productions in regional and community theaters. He is a member of PDX Playwrights, the Portland Area Theatre Alliance, the Willamette Writers Group, 9 Bridges Writers Group, and the North Bank Writers Workshop, and participates in workshops and conferences in the Portland, Oregon area.

When he is not busy writing, Gary is a home-brewer as well as a maker of wine, mead, cider, and soft drinks. He is a member of the Oregon Brew Crew and a BJCP National Beer Judge. He loves to ski, cook, and watch his beloved Red Sox, and hopes someday to train his dogs to obey. And when that doesn’t work, he escapes to the Oregon coast with his sweetheart.

lying-in-judgmentIn his debut novel, Lying In Judgment, he has created both a cunning title and a positively perverse plot. Peter Robertson has left his youth behind but, having become a ‘thirty-something’, he is appalled to find out that his wife is being actively – very actively – unfaithful. He becomes obsessed with his wife’s betrayal and decides to confront her lover. The confrontation turns violent, and Robinson exacts a terrible kind of justice on the man who has broken up his marriage. Except – and it is as big an except as you could imagine – Robertson has made a stupid mistake, and battered to death a completely innocent stranger.

In a dreadful turn of fate that is worthy of Thomas Hardy, Robertson finds himself called up for jury service, and the big case in front of what was known, in less enlightened times as “Twelve Good Men and True” is the prosecution of a man for an apparently motiveless murder. And the murder victim? Yes, you’ve got it – it is the man Robertson killed because he mistook him for his wife’s lover.

Corbin plays the fascinating possibilities for all he is worth, and leads the reader a merry dance across the fields of guilt, conscience, deception and psychological trauma.

Check UK Amazon for more details of Lying In Judgment.

tmmdCorbin opts for a slightly lighter atmosphere in his second book, The Mountain Man’s Dog. I guess that’s obvious, as dogs, being such cheery souls for the most part, don’t do Noir and psychological intensity. We are still in the wilds of the North West, Clarksville Oregon, to be precise, and we are introduced to one of its more rugged citizens, the delightfully named Lehigh Carter. Mr C is far more at home working under a stand of timber than he ever is in polite company, but his innocent love for a feisty girl, Stacy McBride, has him in all sorts of bother. The dog? Well, Stacey McBride, Carter’s former fiancee, persuades him to adopt the stray, and she only has to flutter her eyelashes for him to agree.

The problems start when Stacey’s pop – an ambitious local politician – decides that the the well-meaning but unsophisticated Carter is not suitable to become a member of his extended family. After all, what would the voters think? Carter may not be the sharpest chisel in the toolbox, but he is as honest as the day is long, and the closer he gets to the world of Senator George McBride, the more the smell from the politician’s crooked dealings offends his nose, a nose more used to the clean smells of pine resin than those of corporate corruption. Carter’s honesty wins through, and you will have to buy the book to see if Carter gets his girl – or just the dog.

Check UK Amazon for more details of The Mountain Man’s Dog.

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