COP WITHOUT A BADGE: The True Story of the Undercover Life of Kevin Maher by Charles Kipps

COP WITHOUT A BADGE: The True Story of the Undercover Life of Kevin Maher

Email this review


This overheated, romanticized account may be stretching things a bit too far in attempting to portray police informer Kevin Maher as a modern-day bounty hunter. Kipps (Out of Focus, 1989) does a decent job of showing how Maher's role as an informer grew out of his criminal career, but he tries to dignify it in light of Maher's stated childhood ambition to be a policeman. As a teenager in the Bronx, Maher served as ""wheel man"" in robberies and was arrested several times for autho theft. He went to prison in 1974 and became chums with Morris Weiss, of Murder, Inc., and other unsavory characters. When Sgt. Jim Doherty questioned him about some bank robberies, the two men ""bonded,"" with Doherty realizing that ""except for a few strands of DNA . . . Maher could almost be his son."" Wearing a wire, Maher followed up on some of the contracts Weiss and others had put him onto. One case led to another, with Maher sometimes volunteering, sometimes being asked to get information on a crony. In one case, his assignment was to romance the wife of an accused hit man. In a scene that defies credibility, the hit man asks Maher to ""take care"" of his wife sexually while he's in jail. Maher repays his largesse by assisting the district attorney in two homicide cases against the man and moving in with his soon-to-be-ex-wife. Doherty had gotten most of the original charges against Maher dropped, but as late as 1987 and 1989, Maher was arrested again for carrying an Uzi, drunkenness, and assaulting a police officer. Kipps details Maher's cocaine habit, his messy relationships with hookers and strippers, and his numerous drug-related trips to Miami, sometimes under the auspices of the DEA. Kipps fails to objectively question Maher's motivation and actual role in these adventures: Is he a dutiful bounty hunter or a lowlife snitch?

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1996
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Carroll & Graf