Esprit de cops, when it's there -- among good guys and fall guys, sadistic and square-dealing superiors, gold brickers and brick heads -- is a saving grace in a brink-side profession. Like the pick-a-little-take-a-little looting by cops in an appliance warehouse where trouble was spotted but not found. Or the friendly fist from an adjoining precinct for an after-hours mangling of some punk kids who won out in court. These are brief recitatives of daily and extraordinary chores all carrying tales of collars or failures -- intricate and delicate dealings with the crap and card bunch, funny and unfunny drunks both in and out of uniform, crazy sergeants and manipulating brass, work-overs of suspects with no witnesses -- little tragedies, big ones, and a laugh or two. The cops who tell their stories here are cynical, mildly anti-Semitic, violently anti-hippy/protesters, tough/tender on family matters, cautious, pragmatic and bucking for promotion instead of medals. The author was a cop -- who would doubt it?