In a terrific debut for retired New York policeman Dee, two detectives investigating mob activities mistakenly fish the wrong cement-filled barrel out of the East River. This one contains the remains of a wayward cop who's been missing for 10 years. While tailing aging mobster Bobo Rizzo, detectives Anthony Ryan and Joe Gregory observe Ugo Bongiovanni, reputed to be the new ""boss"" of the Fulton Fish Market, and two henchman dump a white barrel off the pier at 14 Peck Slip. Certain they've witnessed a mob hit, they're shocked when divers retrieve a rusted barrel filled with Jinx Mulgrew, a cop who'd vanished just before he was to testify about police corruption. The trail is not all that cold, however. Known as the ""King of the Bagmen,"" Mulgrew, according to Rizzo, tried to shake down Bongiovanni for 50 grand the day he turned up missing. But, says Rizzo, the mob didn't kill Mulgrew; cops did. ""You got to face that,"" he says. ""Happens in all families."" Things get complicated when Gregory learns that his father, Liam, now retired from the force, was prepared to give his old pal Mulgrew $10,000 to help him get away. But Ryan and Gregory also discover that Liam had been seeing Mulgrew's widow for years, even before he disappeared. Then they find an old photograph of Muigrew on a fishing trip with Rizzo and their own boss, the distinguished Inspector Neddy Flanagan. When the original barrel surfaces near Governors Island, the bullet they take from the victim matches the one taken from Zipper, a mildly retarded informant executed, apparently, for talking to them. However, when they raid the warehouse at 14 Peck Slip, the only gun they find is Mulgrew's .38 service revolver. Filled with plenty of interesting sidelights and enough cop angst to satisfy any stickler for realism. For a novice, Dee manipulates the entangled plots of this police procedural with a surprisingly sure hand.