Jeff Kozzi

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Uncommon Criminals

Introduction by Jeff Kozzi

This is, in many ways, my favorite book.  It takes a handful of the title characters from The Renegades and mixes them with another element entirely:  criminals who run the Sivil Galaxi's largest undergalaktik organization in an effort to stop other criminals from holding the power they have seized over the Sivil Galaxi's primary penal world, Rachi.  

This is a story by a Rhode Islander.  My home state is renown worldwide as a great hive of scum and villainy, with mayors, governors, judges and other politicians REPEATEDLY under indictment on federal charges.  (And for the record, I'll vote for Buddy again in an instant, because even if he is a crooked little fellow, he knows how to run a city!)  I think the problems with Rhode Island--a state whose historical origin is steeped in the illegalities of the triangular trade--all really began when Raymond Patriarca Junior died.  Up until that point, no matter who held position or how they got there, they were answerable to Patriarca's mafia.  When we had such rigidly controlled organized crime, we didn't have politicians going to jail, banking crises or pension scandals, because every elected official knew that there was someone to answer to, far more direct and tangible than irate constituents.

Extension of those thoughts led to the development of an undergalaktik organization bent on controlling crime with the realist's view that it can never be stopped.  A few of the characters' personalities were based on three mentors I had during my teen years, although none of them were Mafioso.  I mixed in Cosha Kabenta and Navan Slade, characters from a project I had worked on that was, story-chronologically, set approximately eight years after the story that grew into The Renegades.  The mix of characters worked extremely well as the various projects developed.  Kabenta was woven into The Renegades and spawned The Bedross Ambush

As a result, Uncommon Criminals is a more concise story than the episodic nature of The Renegades.  It explores unusual dynamics:  the criminals don't kill, while the Renegades helped destroy an entire world.  

Although it stands as a complete and independent novel, I shelved the project because I decided it would be best to be published after its chronological predecessor, The Renegades, but I still recognize it as a viable project that will one day see regular professional print.

The sample chapter is 32 of about 80.  The story thus far:  Blane haphazardly gets himself and the newly-met Boss Slade arrested during gang warfare on the distant world Habille.  Slade had made accusations that Rachi is corrupt and the Chief Warden who Blane helped appoint is dead.  During the arrest, Blane claims to be Slade, so naturally he disappears during the prisoner intake conducted by rival undergalaktiks.  Those undergalaktiks have their own plans for Slade, but when they realize that they have Shalhoon's monarch instead, their horizons seem broader than they had ever thought possible...

Read the sample chapter

Check out the acknowledgment given for this book!