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Dermot Davey is a 29 year-old Irish-American cop. A narrowback. Not exactly one of New York's finest, Once he was treated for alcoholism and his gun was taken away from him. ""I might as well go around without a prick"" he thinks and in fact there's not much else left of his manhood. He hates niggers. And Italians and Commies and degenerates and wields his gun on them for sport. He is beginning to hate his wife who won't sleep with him for fear of another child. Mostly he hates his own stunted, inarticulate life. Breslin takes him into the revolutionary fires of Belfast where he finds his father and Deirdre, who is, you guessed it, another Bernadette Devlin singing the Internationale, fucking freely, pledging solidarity with the Black Panthers. In Belfast ten year-old kids throw fire bombs at cops, and mutatis mutandis Dermot's own people are the niggers. His own people? Notatall. Notatall. Bogside is too far from Richmond Hill, Queens, for the likes of Dermot to recognize, like the Pawnbroker, that he has abandoned the victims to join the oppressors. He thinks they're crazy on Falls Road. They think he's a cretin. Breslin's theme is unsubtle but powerful through sheer force of language and he makes the most out of Dermot's culture shock and the night and day contrast between the hard-hat cop culture of Queens and the anarchic revolutionary consciousness of Belfast -- which he romanticizes wildly -- but what the hell. Deirdre dies by an assassin's bullet and Dermot's salvation is aborted and you know that Breslin wrote this one notatall for laughs and with some small hope of reclaiming the soul of Dermot's uncles and cousins in Queens still ""scoring off the niggers."" If they pick it up thinking it's a sequel to The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight they're walking into a sharp left to the solar plexus.

Pub Date: Aug. 24th, 1973
Publisher: Viking