Haywood, who won 1987's Best First Private Eye Novel contest for the moderately promising Fear of the Dark, again sends black p.i. Aaron Gunner into seedy black L.A. neighborhoods--this time to find the killer of activist Darryl Lovejoy, gunned down on the eve of the L.A. Peace Patrol conference that he and his partner, the Reverend Willie Raines, were sponsoring. Toby Mills, a member of the Blues gang who's in jail for the shooting, insists that he's innocent--but that Rookie, a Blue traitor, was the driver. Aaron's search for the elusive Rookie leads him by vicious gang-member Cube; drug-dealer Whitey; eye-witness Tamika (later killed); the scrumptious widow; and, of course, the Rev. Willie. But it's Rookie's brother Teddy whose name keeps coming up--plus the origins of a ""hit list"" that nobody wants to explain. Predictably, there's a major gang shootout, a confess-all meeting between Aaron and the misguided, and (de rigueur for L.A. detectives) residual guilt for a killing they've incurred. Gritty dialogue and stinging glimpses of street-gang life, but Gunner (as well as the plot he finds himself in) is a clichÃ‰.