The Real Miami Vice, Meet Michael Berish

Marilyn: What brought you to PSWA?

MIke: I don't remember exactly how I found out about PSWA. I believe I found it on-line, checked it out (it was an organization that was related to my field of writing) and joined in about 2005.

Marilyn: Tell us something about your background.

Mike: I was born and raised in Poughkeepsie, New York; received an A.A. degree in Criminal Justice; graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology; and later earned my Master of Arts degree in Communications from Miami's Barry University, where I took courses in Production, Directing, Screenplay Writing, etc.

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 he 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.

Marilyn: When did you become interested in writing?

Mike: I started writing screenplays in the late 1980's while taking a screenwriting course for my Master's Degree at Barry Universaity in Miami, Fl.. I've written 2 screenplay, 2 plays and numerous short stores that have been published in numerous magazines.

I won First Prize in Short Story Fiction for "Just Back from the Constellation Orion Nebula" and Third Prize for Short Story Non-Fiction for "A Quart of Milk and a Loaf of Bread" in the 2006 P.S.W.A.’s (Public Safety Writers Association) Annual Writing Competition.

My short story entitled, "Paris on a Sunday" won Third Place in the Best Unpublished Short Story Category for the "D.I.Y. CONVENTION" in Los Angeles, CA in 2008.

My short story entitled: "Everyone Comes to Vic’s" was first published in Cynic Magazine in June 2006 (Volume 8, Issue 6). It was republished in the January 2007 issue as one of Cynic Magazine’s Best Stories of 2006 (only 15 of 143 features were selected that year for Best Stories).

My first book was entitled Reflections from the Pit, which was awarded BEST FICTION NOVEL (Second Place) published in 2008 by the Public Safety Writers Association. This was the review of the book:

Judge’s comments on book: “This is an intriguing book with many fascinating stories that certainly reveal a side of police work that’s seldom written about or shown on television. The author has a unique voice with a spark of humor that keeps the reader turning the pages. The characters were three-dimensional and intriguing to read about—police and criminals. All the dialogue was crisp and realistic. For anyone wanting to know the nitty-gritty and often dark side of police work, this is the book to read…”

Here is another review of Reflectons from the Pit.

"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.")

Marilyn: Where can we find your books?

Mike: Reflections from the Pit can be purchased from iUniverse, Inc, my website at: , or on-line from Barnes & Noble,, etc.

I have another book coming out in April of 2010 to all major bookstores: BAD COP, NO DONUT. This is a crime fiction anthology—edited by John L. French—which consists of numerous stories, by various crime authors from around the country, about bad cops and their behavior. It has received some nice reviews so far.

Here are a few reviews of the book:

"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.

"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.

"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."

"Nobody writes about these guys. These are the cops we keep locked in the deepest, darkest precinct basements. Now they're out. And the reader is in for a rare treat in these wild, wonderful, and all too real, stories. It's about time."
Lt. Ed Dee, NYPD (ret.), author of The Con Man's Daughter.

Bad Cop, No Donut is a fast paced journey through the darker side of law enforcement. Not only are the stories written by seasoned cops, but they are road-tested writers, as well. It is a page-turner in the classic sense - you really will be asking yourself 'what could possibly go sideways next? With this anthology you will make the trip in law enforcement from bad to worse, with an occasional side trip to redemption - well, almost.”
Lt. Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), author of Leadership: Texas Hold ‘em Style.

Marilyn: What's next for you?

Mike: I am currently working on a book entitled, "When Kings Go Forth." It is a historical fiction that follows the lives of several generations of Hungarians from the Revolution of 1848 in Hungary to America; from the Civil War battle that was fought at Glorieta Pass—near Pecos, New Mexico in 1862—to the outlaws, bounty hunters and the hardships endured in the wild West town of Las Vegas, New Mexico in the 1870's; from Jack “Legs” Diamond and the bootleggers, cops and gangsters of New York City in the 1920's to Poughkeepsie, New York in the 1950’s where another generation of Hungarians grew up, then one migrated to Miami, Fl. to become an undercover detective in Miami Vice; and finally from St. Augustine, Fl. to modern day Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Marilyn: Thank you so much for giving me and my blog readers all this information.


Thanks, Marilyn, for interviewing Mike. It's great to learn more about our fellow PSWA members!
Congratulations to Mike for all of your achievements, and best wishes with the forthcoming, "Bad Cop, No Donut." As a retired 21 year veteran, that's a book I'd like to read.
Good luck with your WIP, it sounds like quite a project, but oh so fascinating!
CFD Trade said…
I remember Miami Vice as a real great police TV hit. It is surprising how literature and real action as a cop became connected through the author. Thanks for sharing the interview.
M.M. Gornell said…
Great getting to know you better, Mike. In agreement with Kathleen, congratulations on all your achievements. Much success!

Marilyn, love these interviews.
Anonymous said…
Magda Amor said:

Thanks Marilyn! It's indeed great to learn about the life and background of different authors.

The book Reflections From The Pit is great! I read it and could not put it down. Some stories are real funny, others made me GASP!, still others made me angry at the system. Best way to describe it for me: like a rollercoaster of emotions.

What I find very interesting is his elegant way to deal with sadness and humor side to side. Makes it a very easy delightful reading.

Looking forward to reading the "Bad Cop, No Donut" coming soon.

Thanks Marilyn and thank Mike for sharing your talents.
WS Gager said…
Thanks so much for sharing this information Marilyn and Mike. Bad Cop, No Donut sounds great.

W.S. Gager
Monica said…
I really enjoyed Mike's book. I was a police intern in Miami-Dade county, and it brought all of those memories right back. I agree that it's a roller coaster. Some stories are heartbreakers, some made me very angry and others made me laugh!

Popular posts from this blog

it's Not a Cozy! by Mar Preston


The Power of Identity by Donna Urbikas