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.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-393-03797-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1995

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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