Detroit’s Special Crimes Unit has its share of loose cannons. One of the loosest is Detective Danny Cavanaugh, who’s trying to curb his trigger-happy tendencies by weekly visits to a police psychiatrist. Brought up among blacks, speaking like a brother, and partnered with black cop Erik Brown, Danny faces personal and professional challenges that include daily showdowns with his black live-in Vinny, an ex-cop law student, her hostile-to-whites family, and the ongoing investigation into the murder of wealthy, prominent black couple John and Lenora Baker. Can Danny’s life get any worse? Of course it can. Vinny moves out, and the Baker suspects proliferate with the news that the couple’s failed Internet start-up, New Nubia.com, has bankrupted many of the once-wealthiest in Detroit’s African-American community. With an assist from an FBI special agent, Danny and Erik interrogate two candidates vying for leadership of a black coalition—one with ties to the Castle Society, a dangerously color-biased group—as well as ex-con preacher Rev. Bolt, whose conversion and makeover don’t hide him from his abandoned kids Mohammad, Rimba, and Akema, all aching to settle a score for his familial abuse. More will die before the intervention of top cop Tony Hill (Cold Medina, 1996), a hail of bullets, and a mawkish therapy session quiet Detroit—at least for the night.
A perceptive study of the prejudices that await light-skinned blacks, particularly those who could pass for white, undercut by stagnant prose and those tetchy, soul-searching, head-shrinking sessions.