Rachlin follows up his 1991 book about New York City's Police Academy, The Making of a Cop, with a look at how one NYPD officer, David Carbone, became a highly regarded homicide detective. Rachlin was granted extraordinary access to the police department and spent almost two years following Carbone through his paces as a detective in the bloody 75th Precinct, located in Brooklyn's East New York. The precinct, a veritable free-fire zone for drug gangs, has the single highest homicide rate in the city. As Rachlin traces Carbone's career, we see him develop his own investigative personality and interrogation style, and watch him mature not only as a cop but as a husband and father as well. Carbone is a rising star of the NYPD, a quick study and a hard worker who is one of the youngest men ever to be assigned to the Homicide Task Force responsible for an entire borough, a position he has achieved at the book's end. Along the way, he becomes involved in a wide range of cases, from a 13-year-old girl who is shot and killed for a pair of dime-store earrings to a man murdered for honking his horn at a group of drug dealers blocking an intersection. Rachlin shows Carbone developing a relationship with a dealer who becomes a productive informant until he is gunned down himself. The book is shot through with the dark humor that keeps the cops from being swallowed by the rising tide of violence, humor that runs from sick jokes (``The fine for honking your horn just went up'') to a station-wide pool on the murder total for the Seven-Five. Superbly reported and competently written, a balanced account of big-city policing from the inside; it's not NYPD Blue, it's better.