THE SON OF JOHN DEVLIN by Charles Kenney


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A blandly plotted attempt to write a character-driven, mean-streets cop drama without the sex and violence demanded by the genre. Betrayal hangs heavily on the rugged broad shoulders of Boston Police Detective Jack Devlin in this third from former Boston Globe editor Kenney (Hammurabi’s Code, 1995, etc.). Currently investigating corrupt cops, Devlin bears a cross for his namesake father, a Boston beat cop who was caught taking payoffs by the FBI and who committed suicide before the facts of the case could become known. Motherless when his father died, the nine-year-old orphan Jack was raised by unfeeling relatives and mentored by kindly Boston PD Superintendent William Kennedy, his father’s former partner. Devlin turns his back on a career in pro-hockey and tosses his Harvard Law degree to follow (literally) in his father’s footsteps when he discovers an old note from the father in which dad professed his innocence and implied he was framed. Years pass—too many for the story to be credible—and Devlin, conveniently single and alienated from everyone but his motormouthed partner Del Rio, falls in love with feisty but beautiful Assistant US Attorney Emily Lawrence, who falls just as fast for Devlin when she glimpses him in church to mourn his father. What she doesn’t see is Devlin manipulating a vast drug investigation, conducted by Lawrence and oafish FBI agent Kevin Duffy. Though Kenney vividly portrays the nasty rivalries that pit cop against cop, his routine, by-the-numbers plotting holds no surprises. Lawrence will too simply trust her heart instead of her handcuffs when she discovers evidence that Devlin’s up to no good, and Devlin’s apparently shady dealings will smoke out the cop who framed his father. A sensitive but dull revenger, solemn and high-minded.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-345-43294-0
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Ballantine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1998


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