DETECTIVE FIRST GRADE by Dan Mahoney

DETECTIVE FIRST GRADE

Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Another ex-cop writes a novel--and in this overlong but impeccably authentic law-vs.-terrorists procedural, former NYPD captain Mahoney, like Joseph Wambaugh, Robert Daley, et al., shows why a pen, as well as a gun and a badge, are standard police equipment. Mahoney's hero is nothing new: He's a generic maverick NYPD detective, Brian McKenna, whose antics have gotten him exiled to Brooklyn. What is fresh is the author's astonishingly tight, almost minute-by-minute detailing of the five-day case that returns McKenna to the ``Bright Lights'' (Manhattan). The cop's break comes when he notes a suspicious character and trails him to a drug lair, where the cop kills the suspect in a shootout. That burst of violence, as it turns out, is the story's last until the final pages--a great rarity for a cop novel, but McKenna's intense focus on the nuts-and-bolts of detection and on bureaucratic cop-intrigue keeps the narrative energy pumping, albeit fitfully. Taped to the dead man's back are a severed finger and a photo of the amputee- -clues to a kidnapping, figures McKenna, who uses this discovery, plus his friendship with the chief of detectives, to lever onto Manhattan's Major Case Squad. Recognizing the amputee's shirt as a Brooks Brothers, the cop i.d.s the man as a rich Peruvian, while other clues point to the kidnappers as members of Peru's Shining Path guerrilla group. Piece by difficult piece, McKenna and his squad--fencing with brass and the obligatorily incompetent FBI agent, and using subterfuge, surveillance, phone taps, high-tech cameras, etc.--home in on the kidnappers' Spanish Harlem den. In a tense and moving conclusion, the cops raid the hideout--with the avowal, in order to prevent further kidnappings, to take no prisoners.... Short on action but very long on insider's savvy: a strong bet for patient police-procedural fans.

Pub Date: May 27th, 1993
ISBN: 0-312-09288-1
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1993




MORE BY DAN MAHONEY

FictionJUSTICE by Dan Mahoney
by Dan Mahoney
FictionTHE PROTECTORS by Dan Mahoney
by Dan Mahoney
FictionTHE TWO CHINATOWNS by Dan Mahoney
by Dan Mahoney