NEW LOTS by John Clarkson


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Thrillingly complex drug-war novel set in Brooklyn’s Brownsville section, with steel-edged dialogue, and intensively researched by Clarkson (And Justice for One, 1992, etc.). Detective Sergeant Lloyd Shaw, a rogue cop, is on restricted duty, without a badge, when he’s attacked by three blacks, overpowers them, and—with their gun’shoots up their pulsating rap speakers. For this, he’s sent off to his cabin in Massachusetts until his punishment can be decided. Meanwhile, back in Brooklyn, the New Lots housing project has been overrun by drug dealers, and its four stinking, bug- and rat-infested buildings are filled largely with crack addicts. Then Arbor Realty buys the project from the city, hiring a Muslim team of enforcers to clear out the building. War erupts between the Muslims and the dealers—and a helluva shoot-—em-up it is, with drive-by blasting and a smartly executed firebombing. But on a formerly vacant lot across from the project sit several prefab buildings, housing a Community Center run by the police commissioner’s daughter, Justine Burton. Justine cares for crack mothers and their kids and sets them up in her prefabs, although it seems the mothers hustle back into the New Lots project for their fixes. Meantime, black drug kingpin Archie Reynolds feels no qualms about killing anyone who stands in the way of his business. He tells the women of the Community Center that he’ll cut their throats. Since Justine is not about to give up her center, her father the commissioner leans on the chief of detectives to do something about the drug war and save his daughter from being caught in the crossfire. The chief recalls Shaw and has him form a team to take on the job, with murder no impediment. Hard-driving realism.

Pub Date: Sept. 28th, 1998
ISBN: 0-312-85242-8
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Forge
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1998


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