A neophyte cop squares off against a criminal super-predator in this absorbing police drama.
At first, rookie cop Jim Kellers’s field-training stint proves a colorful but none-too-harrowing introduction to the streets. Veteran partner Randy Sutherland mentors Miller through a picaresque series of traffic stops, drunk-and-disorderlies, pranks by cop cut-ups and a woman imprisoned by her rabid house cat, all the while imparting police lore and acclimating Jim to the edge of danger that lurks behind even routine encounters. Bearing down on them, though, is one-man crime wave Manny Brand, who stages a daring, if implausibly complicated, prison break, robs and murders various drug dealers, trashes an old lady’s shopping cart and shoots another Dallas cop during a pull-over as a stunned Jim looks haplessly on. Randy and Jim join up with U.S. Marshal Jake Tanner to collar the fugitive and, in Jim’s case, to redeem some lost manhood. First-time novelist Ramaker, a ten-year police veteran, has a sure feel for police procedural. Indeed, the narrative almost becomes a police tutorial, as Jim struggles to master the surprisingly difficult task of following a suspect and discovers the hard way the wisdom of maintaining a â€œsix-foot-reactionary-gap” between himself and civilians. Through Jim’s fumbling efforts to learn the ropes, Ramaker offers a convincingly low-key take on the psychological complexities of law enforcement.
A gripping, well-observed cop thriller.