Relegated to busting cops for soliciting sex, Sergeant Mike Turner (Internal Affairs, 2009) finally gets a case with real promise—a renegade cop on dubious disability linked to illegal guns and armed robbery.
The investigation broadens, uncovering a militia-like clan of thugs involved in contract killings and random violence. There’s nothing Turner hates more than abuse of the shield, and he’ll use every asset—his good looks, keen observational skills, uncanny instinct—to get closer to perpetrators, in this case using Beverly Conner, the suspect’s attractive mother, a barmaid at a law-enforcement watering hole. Turner’s magnetism proves as much curse as boon. He’s lonely, sure, and this thing that’s started back up between him and Miriam, his on-again/off-again, doesn’t sit well, especially when she moves in and begins to clutter up his apartment. But when the suspect’s mom falls for him, routine undercover work heats up. Worse still, turns out Miriam’s been involved with the primary suspect, putting her loyalty in question. The investigation expands but, almost as quickly, a botched bust meant to generate leads on two cops who’ve gone on the lam jeopardizes the careers of Turner and his fellow investigators. As if his professional and love lives aren’t stressful enough, lack of separation between the two is going to put him in his grave. His neighbor, a senior ex-cop who walks Turner’s dog and doles out love advice, faces relocation to a retirement home at the behest of his son, a police commander. This sets Turner at odds with a superior and gets him an unlikely housemate. Meanwhile, his partners—the apocryphal Reggie, constantly filling notebooks which Turner would love to get his hands on, and the volatile Miller, prone to act before he thinks—are a source of concern in a close-knit department where a concealed identity risks exposure and death at every step. Suspects disappear. Alleged conspirators turn up dead. The circle of corruption and murder expands beyond the Los Angeles city limits. Ultimately, Turner’s Achilles heel is his heart. Surrounded by perverts and sycophants, he wants to make things right for his neighbor, for the woman in his life and for the victims of escalating, senseless violence, but the bad guys are too close to the people close to his heart. His pursuit of these wolves in sheep’s clothing goes beyond the thin blue line of duty.
Fans of hard-boiled detective fiction may not be impressed, but there’s soft-boiled satisfaction to the departmental intrigue and the meting out of justice, Sergeant Turner–style.