GOOD COP, BAD COP by Barbara D’Amato


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 A generation after his bullying cop father forced him to blaze away at the Black Panthers, Supt. Nick Bertolucci has to come to terms with what went on in the Panthers' house. What went on, as all the world knows, was a massacre of the its inhabitants, massaged by the police and the press to look like a gun battle--a real-life 1969 scandal that provides D'Amato with her novel's point of departure. Bertolucci's tyrannical father, superintendent of Chicago's police, forced his son to take part in the pre-dawn raid, and kept secret evidence that Nick unknowingly shot and killed 18-year-old Shana Boyd. Now that his hated old man is dead and Nick's long since followed in his footsteps as superintendent, he should be sitting pretty. But his brother Aldo, who reacted to his father's taunts and abuse by becoming the worst cop in Chicago, has gotten hold of the evidence and, figuring he has nothing to lose himself, plans to use it to ruin Nick. Instead of confronting Nick directly, Aldo puts pressure on Nick's top deputy, Gus Gimball, to pull the plug on his boss, knowing that Gus won't risk the kind of publicity that might swing the upcoming mayoral election the wrong way and deprive the department of badly needed funding. D'Amato lays out this plot with impressive economy, but doesn't provide any counterpoint--there's nothing else going on except expertly sketched backgrounds (Chicago cops eating undercover Japanese, telling offensive jokes, responding to domestic violence calls, playing schoolboy pranks), and Suze Figueroa, the detective who's held over from Killer.App (1996), doesn't have much to do--leaving it pretty obvious how the rivalry between Nick and Aldo will play out. Readers seeking an equally trenchant portrait of Chicago lawmen coupled with a denser, meatier plot need look no further than D'Amato's last Cat Marsala mystery (Hard Bargain, 1997), which has everything this novel does and more.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-312-86562-7
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Forge
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1998


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