Death of a Bully

Fiction - Short Story/Novela
195 Pages
Reviewed on 08/03/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Steve Zimcosky is an award winning and international selling author. He was born in the Slavic Village area of Cleveland, Ohio and has wanted to be an author since elementary school while reading books like White Fang and Call of the Wild by Jack London. He spends his retirement time writing short stories on a variety of subjects he hopes his readers will enjoy. Some of his favorite authors include Stephen King, James Clavell and Vivien Chien.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite

The concept of Death of a Bully by Steve Zimcosky is simple enough: following the reunion of a group of classmates, one of them is murdered. Of course, after the spouse is cleared, the immediate suspects are those with whom the victim spent his last few hours. As police question one after another, none of them emerges as the likely killer, though all of them remember how the victim, a well-established attorney and philanthropist, bullied others when they were all in school. Could one of those he bullied have carried their unrequited anger into their adult years and now acted upon it? And why? Recently turned private eye, Tom belongs to that group of friends. He is stunned with the news of the murder, and when the victim’s wife seeks his help in uncovering her husband’s murderer, he willingly obliges. Can he uncover motivations and possibly other suspects that the police haven’t yet considered?

Together with Tom, readers eagerly follow clues and ask questions when several perp possibilities arise. And like Tom, readers will be more than just a little surprised, and even saddened, when the truth is finally disclosed. As much as I enjoy getting deep into the characters in a novel, Death of a Bully was a nice change. There was some backstory provided on each of the friends, but not so much to slow down the fast pace of the plot. I liked that, along with the well-handled and frequent use of dialogue. Steve Zimcosky cleverly thought his way through this novella, pointing suspicious fingers at various people and away from the real murderer. For those readers who love the challenge of figuring out who did what, Death of a Bully is an enjoyable read.

Jon Michael Miller

Tom Sipowicz is a retired detective on his first case as a PI. The stiff is prominent attorney John Christy, a former high school bully who humiliated Tom and motivated him to learn karate. And John messed up Nick’s life big time. Decades later at a high school reunion, Tom’s old Cleveland neighborhood crew, the Slavic Village Seven, meet up again with the now reformed and penitent Mr. Christy. Later that night, Tom learns that the former bully has been murdered in his home. Whodunit? — that is the question. Hey, could it be John’s wife Emily? After all, both heavy snorers, they sleep in separate rooms. The noise, plus the life insurance, is motive enough, right? But suspects abound, and author Steve Zimcosky takes us through them all smoothly, quickly, until, surprisingly, the culprit confesses in Death of a Bully.

If you like a good, quick murder mystery, this one’s for you. Besides the suspense, I enjoyed observing, step by step, how a PI picks up leads. We learn as he learns. And as satisfying as seeing a bully—and a pretty bad one—upended and changed, Steve Zimcosky shows us his characters’ hearts. And like a hound on a scent, the pace never slows down. Also, the bullying theme is not as simple as it looks. We change as we grow, and our outer flaws arise from troubles deep within. I admire Zimcosky’s refusal to oversimplify. If you’re up for a good afternoon read, with a few shocks and some ideas to think about, I’d say give Death of a Bully a try.

Donna Rancosky

Wow!!!! I really enjoyed this book!!!! I couldn't stop reading it! You did it again!!

Norma Wilson

Well I just finished and did not see that ending coming. The ending was a great twist. You kept me intrigued all the way through. You’ve really got something here. I love the main character. Don’t stop. We need to get you to the New York Times best seller list.


I really liked this story. I love the who done type mysteries and this one just made you want to find out who the killer was. I was surprised by who the killer was.

Marlene H.

I just finished the book and the story takes some unexpected turns. Just when I think I know who the killer is, the story adds another twist. Good writing style!!

cat dancer

What makes Zimcosky’s stories interesting and unique? He is currently using mystery as a vehicle to talk about behaviors that are a major concern: bullying especially amongst children and dementia in the aged population. In the fourth grade, John Christy, a troubled boy who is also a bully enters the elementary school where he terrorizes the kids. The Slavic Seven, a group of young boys all of whom attend this school and are best buddies are saved by the fact that one of them, now the private eye, learned martial arts. The dynamic changes with them but there is still at least one boy who remains bullied. Is this behavior as a child enough to result in his death after a reunion many years later when he is an accomplished attorney and philanthropist? . Why then was he strangled? Read the book! As usual there is a lot of local Cleveland color - restaurants and neighborhoods come alive and resonate with those of us living in Cleveland.

Literary Titan

Steve Zimcosky has written a page-turner with an unexpected twist that I was not prepared for. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, I was wrong. I felt sorry for certain characters, particularly Mark and Tom. I felt sorry for Mark because he was wrongly accused of something he didn't do. I felt sorry for Tom because I liked his character and I empathized with him in certain parts of the book. I was a little surprised that Jack forgave his mother as quickly as he did. It was still an interesting twist added to the story, and I couldn't put the book down because I was eager to see what would happen next. In the end, I didn't agree with the reasoning that Emily had, but I know that everyone has their own way that they feel about things, and it didn't stop me from finishing the book.
Death of a Bully is a short, but thrilling read. The writing style is engaging and the book is easy to follow and alluring. This is more of a suspenseful whodunit novella, Steve Zimcosky is able to deliver a riveting tale in under 100 pages. If you are new to Steve Zimcosky's work than this is a good starter book for you that will introduce you to his literary style.


I read your latest book while on vacation and enjoyed it very much. Easy reading and it held my interest right to the end. I love to read investigative stories (Read a lot of Michael Connelly books) and seeing who the culprit is. Thanks for sharing you talents with us.

Gary W.

It was well written and kept me interested. And what a pleasure to read a book without vulgarity, sex descriptive violence. Plus with being born and raised in the neighborhood where the story takes place it was enjoyable to read about places I am familiar with and been to.