I am honored today to have as my guest, a real Miami Vice detective, Michael Berish. Mike was born and raised on the banks of the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie, New York. He received an A.A. degree in Criminal Justice, graduated from the University of Pittsburgh on an academic scholarship—with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, and later earned his Master of Arts degree in Communications from Miami’s Barry University, where he took courses in Production, Directing, Screenplay Writing.
MA: I have to admit, I enjoyed the television series, Miami Vice back in the 1980s, so it’s a real treat having you as my guest. You have a fascinating background that, no doubt, informs your writing. Tell my readers more about your law enforcement experiences.
MB: I worked as a patrolman, detective, and supervisor with the City of Miami Police Department for twenty-two years, thirteen of which were spent as an undercover detective in the REAL Miami Vice where I worked everything from Narcotics & Vice, Prostitution, Gambling and Pornography, to Dignitary Protection of President Jose Napoleon Duarte (of El Salvador) and Pope John Paul II.
I became proficient as an expert in the field of obscenity, testified in front of the Meese Commission on Obscenity during the Reagan Administration, and was subpoenaed by the F.B.I. to testify for them in New Orleans—as an expert witness—reference an interstate transportation case. I’ve lectured in front of numerous civic groups, taught week-long seminars to other law enforcement agencies on First Amendment rights, helped train new Assistant State Attorneys on how to properly conduct obscenity investigations, and made over a thousand cases, mostly against organized crime syndicates, which have the best attorneys in the world. I have also closed down twenty adult bookstores and theaters in Miami and never lost one obscenity case.
MA: That’s an amazing resume of accomplishments. Tell us about your writing career since leaving the real Miami Vice.
MB: My first book is an anthology of stories that take place in Miami, in the Black ghetto known as “the Pit.” This book, “REFLECTIONS FROM THE PIT,” pulls no punches; it shows you the good, the bad, and the ugly (warts and all), the dark side of police work, both the humor and the tragedy. I feel my approach to storytelling is unique in that all of these stories contain individual, quirky, off-center characters that focus on their basic character flaws while dealing with the social issues of the day. They are meant to be snapshots into the dark side of police work and deal with segregation, teenage prostitution, crazies who think they have been abducted by aliens, the murdering of transvestites, the lack of compassion and sympathy by the younger generation for their elders, the stupidity of criminals and the cowardice of police officers in the face of danger (the latter of which is rarely seen on TV), hangings from police cruisers, affirmative action, Cuban freedom fighters (a.k.a. terrorists), the callousness of society towards the homeless, drug-dealing cops and corruption, bungled police stings, the “don’t get involved” syndrome, the raping of the elderly, and police brutality and its senseless violence.
“Reflections from the Pit” was awarded BEST FICTION NOVEL (2nd Place) published in 2008 by the Public Safety Writers Association.
“That fellow (Berish) has a real talent for writing a story. That’s excellent work.”
E. Howard Hunt (American author of sixty-three novels, C.I.A. spy, and coordinator of Watergate. President Richard M. Nixon once referred to him as “a prolific book writer.”)
This book reflects the very ‘soul’ of honesty as well as the constant corruption involved in working as a beat officer.”
Bill Kelly Special Agent in charge of Obscenity Investigations for the Southeast United States (Retired) FBI, Miami, FL.
MA: Congratulations on your award-winning novel, and those are some excellent endorsements. What about the second book?
MB: My second book, entitled “Bad Cop, No Donut” is an anthology of stories from 15 different cop/writers from around the country and deals with the theme of bad cops and their behavior. It is due out around April/May 2010.
“A ride-around with some of the best cops and best cop writing in the business!” David Black, author of The Extinction Event and writer for CSI Miami and Law & Order
“Bad Cop, No Donut includes some of the most riveting stories I have read to date. It’s a top-notch crime fiction anthology.” Donald Bain, author of the “Murder, She Wrote” series
“This collection is written by a squad of fine writers–some of whom are current or retired real-life cops. Gritty, hard-hitting, authentic, and edgy–and guaranteed to keep you turning the pages.” Raymond Benson, author of the James Bond anthologies “The Union Trilogy” and “Choice of Weapons”
MA: Once again, congratulations on your great endorsements, and my very best to you on the book’s success when it debuts here soon. Are you working on anything new in the meantime?
MB: Currently, I’m working on a new novel entitled: “When Kings Go Forth.” It’s not a cop book; it follows several generations of Hungarians (from 1849 to the present) and their trials and tribulations from Budapest to America.
MA: I need a moment to get my head around that! What a shift in direction and concept. I wish you the very best with this new project. Folks, please visit Michael Berish’s website for more information about this fascinating writer and law enforcement professional: www.realmiamivice.com