Ken Eurell didn’t always dream of being a cop, but when the opportunity presented itseken 4am the 75 1985lf he gladly signed up with the NYPD.

In the months of intense training and academic studies, Ken had a great time making new friends, but there was one aspect of the experience that meant the most to twenty-year-old Kenny Eurell.

“Oh, yeah,”said Ken. “The most important thing was an immediate sense of camaraderie.” As with the thousands of cops before him, Ken Eurell experienced fraternal bonding — forming deep ties with those who entered into a covenant to serve and protect the people of New York.

Well, not exactly.

It was an emotional linkage to those who, like Kenny, would soon see themselves as an exclusive life form, distinct from the general population. This is no different that the sense of security, protection, and bonding experienced by those who join social service organizations or criminal gangs — People united in a common cause, with their purposes harmonized, and characterized by the concept of collective security. An attack on one is an attack on all. If one is attacked, all defend.

“Cops are taught early on to depend upon each other for everything,” confirms Lee Lofland, author of Police Protocols & Investigations. “A bond is formed in the police academy that can almost never be broken.”

Survival is a term all recruits hear repeatedly. Your survival is dependent upon your  complete, instant and exact replication of everything drilled into your head during your weeks at the police academy.  Unlike soldiers whose job it is to follow orders, a police officer’s job is to make decisions.  ken at the 75 brooklyn (1)Ken Eurell admits that he didn’t make the best decisions, even though the irrevocable bond that forms the Blue Wall reinforced unity in error over betrayal for truth.

Ken didn’t become one of the most corrupt cops ever to betray the badge of the NYPD by being easily influenced or because he fell in with the wrong crowd or the wrong cop. “I have always taken full responsibility for my decisions and actions no matter how embarrassing, incriminating or criminal. I don’t become a cop to reap the rewards of corruption, and I didn’t get that way because I was under Mike Dowd’s spell”

Mike Dowd and Ken Eurell were partners as close as brothers until Ken faced the most difficult and gut-wrenching decision of his life.  He was always there for his partner 100%  but what does a cop do when he must betray his partner’s trust to save his partner’s life?

bibfinalBetrayal in Blue— the shocking true story of the scandal that rocked the NYPD is NOW AVAILABLE for advance order from


Let the countdown begin…… October 25th is the official release date of BETRAYAL IN BLUE, the REAL inside story of the infamous “betrayalinblue_concept1_var1Cocaine Cops” of the NYPD — Mike Dowd and Ken Eurell.  There were two ways to make big bucks in the Big Apple: sell drugs, or rip off drug dealers.  They did both, and didn’t worry about the cops because they were the cops!

Drug dealers with a badge, criminals in a squad car, their “Losers Club” drug ring was raking in a fortune while the NYPD big brass looked the other way because the city didn’t want another scandal.

This is the drug / corruption scandal that rocked the NYPD, and ken 4am the 75 1985made Mike Dowd and Ken Eurell the #1 and #2 most corrupt cops of the NYPD.  Now, Ken Eurell joins with Burl Barer and Frank Girardot, Jr to tell the inside story of how he first betrayed his oath, descended further and further into a life of crime and corruption while wearing the badge of the NYPD. and then having to choose between keeping his mouth shut, or saving his partner’s life — either way, he knew it would be seen as Betrayal in Blue.



gangsterland (1)People I know and love are winning awards — Tod Goldberg, my brilliant nephew (not to be confused with Lee Goldberg, my brilliant nephew) just won a prestigious award- the 2016 Silver Pen Award presented by the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame.  

The award recognizes writers who are mid-career and have shown substantial achievement. Honorees are also selected based upon their body of work, critical recognition and “a strong connection to Nevada through the themes of their writing or residence in the state.

Now, Mian Moshan Zia, my pal in Pakistan, who hard sells his books as if they are 50 million dollar motion pictures on a holiday weekend, just snagged the 2016 Intewrinklesrnational Readers Award.  Notice how the promo shot for the book looks like a movie poster? Yep, that’s his style

You can order WRINKLES and his other admittedly unusual but always fascinating books, all with deep messages stirred up in the jam. This guy is a marketing whiz — and he is the first contemporary author to make his print books come with unexpected bonus features — you know like on a DVD where you get bonus features? Well, sometimes his books have bonus features!  Trust me, he’s a most engaging personality and his books are going over very well world wide.  I hope he remembers me when he is super-famous!





by Burl Barer

While I’ve collaborated on writing project previously, BETRAYAL IN BLUE was a unique experience because not only would this be written with Frank C. Girardot with whom I have an established professional relationship, but also Ken Eurell who is a primary character in the story of police ken 4am the 75 1985corruption in the NYPD.

I knew Ken was a strong personality, and a man who had been through things most of us cannot even begin to imagine. I also knew from talking to Tampa journalist, Paul Guzzo, that Ken was one hell of a nice guy, good father and a very well-respected man in his community.

“It is hard to believe,” said Paul, “that Ken was once one of the most corrupt cops in NYPD history. He is such a good guy, it’s really difficult to picture him that way.”ken at the 75 brooklyn (1)

My first questions were, “Can Ken take a bit of ribbing? How does he handle being challenged on things? Will Ken view us as his partners in this effort, even if we push him a bit, and not see us as actually adversarial?”

I couldn’t be more pleased with the answers. It was apparent from our first conversations that he understood that we were in this project together, that our goals were the same, and that all three of us shared a firm dedication to bringing readers a unique, honest and compelling book that didn’t make excuses. Ken, his wife, Dori, and others came forward to offer in-depth interviews

When we pressed Ken to reveal more and make himself more vulnerable, he didn’t back away but put his heart and soul into this project. After all, this book was Ken’s idea, and he had written a personal memoir upon which we established the book’s foundation.

Frank Girardot spent hours upon hours discussing all aspects of Ken’s life and career with Ken and his wife, Dori. As my writing hours are well beyond the midnight hour, I would follow up with questions of my own via Facebook messenger when Ken and Dori came on line early in the morning New York time. I’m in Los Angeles, so there was a three hour time difference. They were just starting their day, I was ending mine.

Because Frank and I wrote A TASTE FOR MURDER together, we knew each other’s strong points, and how to bring out the best in each other. Bringing Ken to the mix didn’t mess with that at all. In fact, Ken’s full participation and willingness to be completely open made this project exciting and fulfilling for both Frank and me.

BETRAYAL IN BLUE is coming soon, and we hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed writing it with Ken Eurell.

Repressive Legislation on Pain Killer Prescriptions is a Scam!!!

The proposed new restrictions on prescription pain killers, dishonestly touted as “saving lives”, do exactly the opposite.  All research and evidence establishes that when legally prescribed opioids are more difficult to acquire, those who need them turn to less expensive and more easily acquired alternatives – all of which are illegal.

Florida’s experience is the most blatant example of what happens when a “moral crises” of an “epidemic” leads to “death by legislation.”

The Florida legislature passed laws to curtail the largely unfettered prescription of opioids. The result: Deaths from prescription opioids dropped 69%, but heroin deaths more than doubled to a record 408.

Why? Simple.

Restricting access does not reduce need.

The most common prescription painkillers on the market, including hydrocodone (Vicodin) and oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet), are actually opioid drugs, just like heroin. All of these drugs are derived from opium. One of the major derivatives of opium is morphine, from which heroin is derived, whereas the pharmaceutical painkillers are derived from the other major element, known as codeine. Heroin has similar effects to painkillers, making it an ideal substitute for those looking for a way to replace their painkillers.

Unable to get their usual prescription from doctors, those who were dependent upon them had to buy them from people who had them and would sell them at greatly inflated prices not covered by insurance.  With prescription opioids now difficult to find and terribly expensive, those who needed them sought an effective and less expensive opioid pain killer.  This is one readily available: Heroin.

Making prescription pain killers harder to get results in more deaths, more crime, more babies born addicted.

Who in their right mind wants more drug deaths, more addicted babies, and more heroin addicts?  Well, ask yourself who benefits from that situation? (1) Heroin dealers (2) law enforcement, who then requests funds to fight the growing crime caused by the increase in heroin addiction, (3) so-called “addiction treatment centers,” and (4) prisons, because the majority of people in America’s prisons are there on drug charges.

This is a well-established pattern in America’s “war on drugs,” and it is so predictable that there are entire sociology studies and even full-length books on the subject of “moral panic” over “drug epidemics” that lead to repressive harmful legislation.

Once patients move from legal prescription medications to illegally obtained medications, they are now “criminal drug addicts” who must be “treated,” or arrested and punished and locked up. So much for removing stigma from dependence and/or addiction.

We need only to look to other countries who solved these problems long ago by completely erasing the stigma of addiction by not making a medical condition a crime.  Taking it out of the shadows, taking away the secrecy and guilt, and providing the maintenance medication needed to live a normal and productive life has brought the deaths from heroin overdose in Sweden, for example, to ZERO.

Any organization that claims to have as  its goals to reduce stigma and reduce addiction but gives their endorsement to legislation and policies that are proven to increase heroin addiction and drug related crime is, in the most polite words possible, lying through their deceptive teeth.

In fact, all efforts to reduce the availability of drugs, be they legal or illegal, have the same effect: reduced safety, increased harm, and more danger to public health.

If you doubt this assertion, there are numerous studies internationally that validate it – from USA, CHINA, AUSTRALIA and elsewhere. The more you repress drugs – be it by increased police presence, police sweeps, or legislation, the more you make drug use difficult, the more you increase the stigma, push it deeper into the shadows, and make life more dangerous for everyone while not reducing the use of drugs at all. 

Let us resolve to deal with what is real, because reality is something you can live with.




breakingpointSuzy Spencer first came to my attention about seven years ago, and I was immediately impressed by the dynamic forward motion of her narratives coupled with her ability to set the scene of events without belaboring every physical nuance from outdoor environment to details of window shades — she knows how to capture your attention, and most importantly, tell the story. Her BREAKING POINT goes beyond the superficial coverage inherent in the limited word count of newspaper stories, or the soundbite analysis of infotainment disguised as news. Spencer gets into the heart and soul of every story she investigates, and brings, dare I say it, a “spiritual sensitivity” to the complexities of human existence. Mental illnesses are medical condition whether the result of in utero virus, injury or heredity. Sadly, recent research found that more Americans believe that evil acts are caused by invisible demons from hell than in medical diagnosis and treatment for mental health conditions. Spencer has a perceptive eye, a kind heart

Mental illnesses are medical condition whether the result of in utero virus, injury or heredity. Sadly, recent research found that more Americans believe that evil acts are caused by invisible demons from hell than in medical diagnosis and treatment for mental health conditions. Spencer has a perceptive eye, a kind heart and, if the atheists amongst us will pardon the phrase,God-given talent. Her literary abilities and personal sensitivity make her updated retelling of Andrea Yates’ “BREAKING POINT” a definite addition to everyone’s true crime non-fiction library.

Mental illnesses are medical condition whether the result of in utero virus, injury or heredity. Sadly, recent research found that more Americans believe that evil acts are caused by invisible demons from hell than in medical diagnosis and treatment for mental health conditions. Spencer has a perceptive eye, a kind heart and, if the atheists amongst us will pardon the phrase,God-given talent. Her literary abilities and personal sensitivity make her updated retelling of Andrea Yates’ “BREAKING POINT” a definite addition to everyone’s true crime non-fiction library.

The new expanded edition of BREAKING POINT has a 20,000 word update!

NYPD: SCANDAL , CORRUPTION and the 75th Precinct

I’m working on a new book with Frank C Girardot and Ken Eurell about the cocaine cops of the 75th Precinct in New York City — maybe you saw the documentary.  I was writing the introduction….and here is a rough draft of my opening remarks.


There is one thing upon which we all agree.  None of us were brought by the stork. Planned or unplanned, we are all the product of the same process of biology and genetics. We are all influenced by what we inherit from our parents and our environment.

A child raised on a farm in the Midwest has a different perspective than one raised on the South side of Chicago or Manhattan’s Lower East Side.  We can argue nature vs nurture all day long, but it is an absolute fact that when it comes to our health and well being, we want to know our family’s medical history.  It is in our best interest to know what talents, strengths, weaknesses or illnesses exist in our DNA.

It’s the same with cities. The personality of Los Angeles is different from that of Boston, just as Boston’s unique charm is distinct from that of New York City. Each town has its origin, outlook, and character, all of which are the product of its history and citizenry. All the primary characters in this story  have what Billy Joel termed “A New York State of Mind.”  To appreciate a rose, you do not sniff the soil from which it grew; To understand a rose, you must know the soil that nourished it and gave it life.

Regaled as “The most shocking scandal of corruption in the history of the NYPD,” the criminality and corruption of Michael Dowd, Ken Eurell, and their crew of Cocaine Cops as a gang unto themselves in the 75th Precinct doesn’t smell like a rose.  To understand it, we must know the soil from which it grew, the culture and attitudes that gave it life, and, for the first time, experience it not only from the perspective of the ethically challenged participants, but also from the women who loved them and overlooked their faults – wives who first enjoyed the fruits of their husbands’ criminality, and then shared the suffering of public shame and ignominious humiliation.

Frank Girardot, Jr. and I are indeed lucky to tell you this story, and tell it the way we most enjoy – as if you were sitting right here with us, either leaning back in your chair or on the edge of your seat.

When writing this book, we started with the firm belief that you are our friend. You love true stories, and we have a true story to tell.  And we make you a promise: Everything we tell you in this book is there for a reason. Nothing is superfluous. Everything is important.  You have to trust us on this because sometimes it may seem that we are bringing up things that are not part of the story, but if you trust us, and stick with us, you will see how it all fits together.

One question I’m sure that comes to mind is, how did we get so lucky as to have this story to tell as it has never been told before, with cooperation from not only Ken Eurell, but also his wife whose perspective is fresh engaging and filled with emotion, plus inside information direct from former Dominican drug cartel kingpin, Adam Diaz?

Damn good question, and a fairly simple answer.  Ken Eurell sold the movie rights to his story to SONY Pictures, but kept the literary rights.  Ken knew he wasn’t an author any more than he was a movie maker.  He asked our mutual acquaintance, famed journalistPaul Guzzo, for advice. It was Paul who connected us.  I then turned to Frank Girardot, Jr, the brilliant award-winning journalist who co-wrote our best-selling true crime book, A TASTE FOR MURDER.  He was immediately on board with equal enthusiasm.

In our earliest conversations about how to tell this story, I mentioned that men communicate to share data; women communicate to share emotion.  The crime and corruption in the 75th Precinct of the NYPD is heavy on testosterone and data.  The #1` audience for true crime stories is primarily women, although men are starting to catch on to the importance of the genre.  The first thing I said was, “Can we get Ken’s wife to talk to us in depth. She is the true key to capturing the emotions behind the madness. It was 16 years ago that I coined the meme, “You can buy a Talking Barbie anywhere, but you can’t even special order Listening Ken”, make sure Ken’s wife knows we are ready to listen, and REALLY LISTEN.”

Our book doesn’t have an official title or cover art, and we are still writing it, but it should be available by September from WildBlue Press.


The Los Angeles Times left me drop jawed with incredulity by their July 10th 1930’s style headline about “Criminals and Addicts.” as if they were naturally connected.  NEWS FLASH: it is not a crime to have the medical condition of addiction — a disorder of the limbic system that is over 60% genetic — just as it is not a crime to have the medical condition of diabetes, heart disease or asthma.  The Supreme Court ruled in the 1950’s that to regard someone with addiction as a criminal, and punish them for having the condition, is unconstitutional as it is cruel and unusual to punish someone for their medical state. You can’t pass laws against a disease, and addiction is known to be a treatable, yet chronic brain disorder.

When the Times says that more than a million Oxycontin pills ended up in the hands of “criminals and addicts,” what that means is that chronic pain sufferers were being cut off from their medication by physicians worried of “over prescribing” in the current fear-based climate of moral panic, and those former patients, now either dependent on or addicted to their needed medication, had no choice but to buy on  the street what they were being denied at the doctor’s office.

Hospitals in Colorado are even denying pain pills to people suffering from acute pain from broken teeth or excruciating gum infections because they are “dental” not medical conditions!  Wait — there is more.  Research has shown that the STIGMA of being “an addict” is more harmful to the person than the illness! It causes more  life threatening stress accompanied by social exclusion and humiliation

The Los Angeles Times, adding further insult, follows their enormous headline with another story “OneTown’s Descent into Crime, Addiction and Heartbreak”  Sadly, they don’t know or care that they are perpetuating misperceptions that only increase the heartbreak.

Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart (joined by Justices Black, Warren, and Brennan,) in combination with Douglas’s concurring opinion, recognized that drug addiction is a disease, and that it is unconstitutional to impose punishment for having a disease. PS: If you want to understand this topic better, imagine if diabetics were stigmatized, and insulin was horribly difficult to get from your doctor, and you were compelled to buy insulin on the street. Now, that would be one hell of a “crime wave” resulting from the Diabetes Epidemic!

JUNE 21st: Lee Goldberg, Burl Barer and Tod Goldberg celebrate new releases!!

the pursuitOn June 21st, the latest collaboration between Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg becomes available. You can advance order The Pursuit right now!

On that same date, the first ever e-book version of my New York Times Best Seller, Murder in the Family, becomes mifavailable as well. Advance order them both today, and receive them both June 21st!

Yes, Tod Goldberg has a new collaboration with the great Brad Meltzer, House of Secrets, that you must own under penalty of being the center of some horrid conspiracy

hos brad and tod

EASTSIDE HEARTBEATS – Rock n Roll Musical at CASA 0101 — SEE IT!

Thanks to the kind generosity of director S.E. Feinberg, Barbara Creme and I had front row seats to the Sunday evening performance of EASTSIDE HEARTBEATS,  the captivating and vastly entertaining musical stage production inspired by the true story of Cannibal and the Headhunters, but fictionalized to embrace all East L.A. bands and vocalists of 1965,

It is well known that I cry in color cartoons and newsreels. Anything with even a dollop of sentimentality or that tugs even gently at my heartstrings will reduce me to tears. Thirty seconds into EASTSIDE HEARTBEATS, my cheeks were soaked around the edges of my non-stop grin. I couldn’t stop smiling, admiring, tapping my foot and enjoying every minute of the first act of this upbeat engaging and culturally relevant rock n roll musical about East L A  Americans of Mexican heritage reaching for music business success.

eastside jheartbeats

With spectacular original songs evocative of everything from Motown, Stax-Volt, Beatles and the L.A. Rock scene of 1965, EASTSIDE HEARTBEATS has moments of absolute brilliance. Incredibly powerful was a soulful, Motown-worthy duet by the parents of the Eastside Hearbeats’ lead singer in which they bemoan the influence of “Negro music” on their son.  The juxtaposition of  heritage defensive lyrics and intense soulful vocal stylings with call and response verses and a musical arrangement referencing famed Temptations’ hits Ball of Confusion and Papa Was A Rolling Stone said more about commonality in diversity than hours of speeches or a compendium of social science research.  That song alone was more than  enough to thrill anyone who remembers America in general, and L.A. in specific, in the mid 1960’s.

Performances and choreography were excellent all around, the sound was clean and clear, and the musicianship was perfection.

Act two loses some momentum by the inclusion of a nonetheless entertaining and amusing scene in the Whisky A Go G9, the song, unlike the previous tunes, doesn’t play upon the established emotional investment the audience has with the inner dialog of the primary characters. This upbeat diversion is followed by more than one scene/song dealing with the depressive aspect of having your dreams dashed by prejudice. Audiences are hip enough to not have to be told three times that four kids from East L.A. had about as much chance of being stars as did a bar band from Liverpool playing for prostitutes in Hamburg, Germany’s red light district.  In other words, you’re more likely to be hit by lightning.

And then, on stage as in real life,  lightning strikes! The Beatles reach out across the ocean and ask the Eastside Heartbeats to open for them at the Hollywood Bowl.  Yes, in real life this is what happened to Cannibal and the Headhunters, the East L.A. band famed for ‘Land of 1,000 Dances”

The scene and song that gives us the fun tune, “Thank you Mr. Epstein,” puts the play back on track 100%, and from there we have a glorious upbeat celebration of family unity, cultural diversity and dreams coming to fabulous fruition.

Director S.E. Feinberg, writer Tom Waldman, and composers  James Holvay, David Reyes, and Rudy Salas debated whether or not to use the actual hit, Land of 1000 Dances in the show.  They decided  instead to pen an original in a similar style.  “Eastside Heartbeats is a fictional group, so we need a fictional hit song.” was the agreed upon reasoning.

What do I think?    I say have it both ways !  Use the fictional song in the fictional play, and then after the cast takes their final bow, acknowledge the original inspiration by going into Land of 1000 Dances.

Either way, Eastside Heartbeats is an absolute delight and a great night at the theater.  There is also a wonderful nostalgic display of authentic 1955-1965 show posters and 45 rpm records by Eastside bands.

Eastside Heartbeats will be presented Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 5 p.m. until May 29, 2016. Tickets are $30 per person / $25 for students, seniors, and Boyle Heights residents. The show is suitable for all ages and is 141 minutes long. Tickets are available HERE or by calling (323)263-7684.

CASA0101 is located at 2102 East First Street (at Louis St. across from the Hollenbeck Police Station), Boyle Heights CA 90033.

PS: In the opening number, and before we consulted the playbook, Barbara Creme leaned over and pointed subtly to one of the dancers, Katie Kitan, and said “I bet she’s dance captain, I can tell”    She was correct.  Kudos to Katie and choreographers Ubani Lucero ( and originally Corky Dominguez) for your contributions to an enjoyable evening.