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More police corruption in N.Y.C.--with plenty of gritty specifics, but without the fascinating moral dilemmas and dramatic tension of Prince of the City, Robert Daley's non-fiction account of ex-cop Leuci's actual experiences. The hero this time--more simplistically naive and idealistic than the Leuci of Prince--is young Bobby Porterfield, who falls in love with police-work after falling in lustful love with Cathy Doyle, devoted daughter of Tom Doyle, a NYPD Chief of Detectives. Bobby's first months on the job are vividly sketched in, from the horrific (losing a ""leaper"") to the bawdy/grotesque (the oral-sex services of a devoted NYPD groupie). He becomes a hero--and a detective--after unavoidably killing a trio of thugs. He finds a partner/soulmate in savvy black cop Mark. But Bobby becomes increasingly disturbed by a bizarre series of deaths: virtually all of Chief Doyle's longtime NYPD colleagues seem to be dying suddenly in suspicious circumstances--a suicide, a hit-and-run, an obvious homicide. Could these deaths be coincidental? Or are they linked--with connections to the drug/payoff corruption in Chief Doyle's NYPD past? (To his horror, Bobby learns that Doyle ""was a fucking crook"" ten years before--but that the D.A. couldn't quite assemble enough evidence to prosecute.) Could it even be that Doyle himself is murdering his old pals, killing off any possible witnesses in a new corruption trial? Bobby ponders these questions while sleuthing--especially when it appears that partner Mark is the multiple-killer's next target. And when the real culprit (a mild, unconvincing surprise) is finally nabbed, Bobby has to decide what to do with the evidence against Doyle that he has collected. Unfortunately, however, Bobby's conflicts-of-loyalty here are unconvincing and uncompelling, despite dumps of emotional verbiage (""pain, pain, and more pain""); and matters are complicated, without being enriched, by Bobby's guilt-producing affair with Mark's girl Jackie (a gutsy, super-sensual narcotics cop). Still, if Leuci's first novel is shaky as character-drama and fuzzy as suspense, it's a solid bet nonetheless for the down-and-dirty-police-work readership--with clank drug-deals, ugly cop-talk, slimy prosecutors, and depressingly authentic on-the-street atmosphere.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1984
Publisher: Freundlich--dist. by Scribners