A drive-by shooting fells two teenagers. Is it mindless accident or malice aforethought?
George (Geo) Parkman and Michael Donovan are smart, likeable high school students—good kids with trouble-free records. So what are they doing on Roxborough Avenue, poised in the doorway of what everybody knows is one of Philadelphia’s major dope houses? The tableau is suddenly shattered by a black car spitting bullets. In the heart-stopping aftermath, Geo lies dead, Michael critically wounded. Witnesses claim they heard a girl screaming, “No, no, no,” but if she was ever there, she’s gone up in smoke. How to make sense of any of it? That’s the question wracking young homicide detective Danny Martinez. It’s his case officially, but there are others equally intent on finding answers. Brendan Donovan, a cop with no official connection to the case, needs the truth for the sake of his sanity. He’s Michael’s dad. And Orlando Donovan, Michael’s uncle and Brendan’s junkie half-brother—charming, sweet-natured, more sinned against than sinning—seeks the truth as a possible path to redemption. But the truth is a tricky business, because finding it can so often mean a fresh source of pain, while hiding it, for some, is a matter of survival.
Tafoya (Dope Thief, 2009) writes about ugliness with such skill, such relentless fidelity, that readers prone to depression should proceed with caution.