Baltimore native and Severna Park resident Steve Danko Sr. has a new badge of honor to add to his 25 years in the Baltimore Police Department: fictional author.
His second book, “Charm City Boys,” self-published and released last October, is a must-read for American history buffs and Maryland natives.
“Charm City Boys” follows three friends whose lives intersect though amateur baseball following different origins and upbringings in Baltimore City neighborhoods. The story is set in the volatile 1950s and 1960s in Baltimore, a political hotbed not just in Maryland at that time but across the United States. The three friends never would have imagined how their lives would intertwine for years to come based on vastly different and often impulsive decisions made in their youth.
Spider becomes a drug dealer, Mike slips into addiction and Ralph heads into law enforcement. As the culture climate develops in Baltimore, the three young men experience violence, arrests, prison, investigation, and the degradation of what was once known as Charm City.
Using his extensive experience as witness of both sides of the law and having grown up in Baltimore, Danko paints a vivid picture of life on the streets and the crime underworld of Baltimore.
Although the story is fictional, Danko’s characters are closely related to people he’s met, friends he’s made and even Danko himself. Ralph goes into law enforcement to avoid the cost and rigors of college. Danko himself served the Baltimore Police Department as a patrol officer and then in homicide. Danko admits that Ralph’s experience and personality is 90% his own. It’s Danko’s insider view that makes this story jump off the pages by putting the reader right into the underworld of crime in a large American city.
“I consider myself a storyteller, not a writer,” said Danko, who also says he only writes during the winter months. “My books have come from trying to capture my ‘war story’ experiences in the police department.”
Danko’s first book, the 2015 release “Tour of Duty,” outlined the complexity of police work. Danko was in the police department for 25 years, followed by 24 years in fraud investigation with an insurance company, until he retired at age 70.
He’s been out of police work for 36 years, but he sees his experience and Baltimore’s stories repeat time and time again.
For Charm City to return, he said, “We (downtown Baltimore and other cities) need to get serious about what’s happening in our cities and government.”
Danko’s books are available on all major bookseller websites.
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