BAG MEN by John Flood

BAG MEN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The beating death of a Catholic priest on a Logan Airport runway on New Year's Eve is only the beginning of this gritty first novel's magical mystery tour of 1965 Boston. Everybody says Father George Sedgewick was a saintly man. But to Ray Dunn, the Suffolk County D.A.'s Mr. Fixit, the brutal beating the priest took and the older, self-inflicted wounds of scapular and scourge point to some unspeakable sin his assailant was -avenging. Unable to figure out why the killer stole the 4,000 consecrated hosts Sedgewick was bringing back from Rome for the historic first US English Mass, Ray concentrates on keeping his brother Biff, a rookie cop, out of trouble. It's not exactly a congenial assignment for Ray, whose life, irretrievably tainted by the shadow of his late bagman father, Patrolman Tim Dunn, and the years of dirty errands Ray himself has run for D.A. Johnny Cahill, has left him with ""no feel for honesty."" But even if Ray were his brother's perfect keeper, it wouldn't matter, because Joe Meats, the scary druggie who killed Sedgewick, is on a collision course with Biff, though neither of them knows it. As Sgt. Manny Manning, Tim's unindicted partner who's anchoring Narcotics, follows a trail of lethally powerful new synthetic heroin through a maze of dead junkies to their know-nothing dealers, he's leaning more and more on Biff for help, sending him undercover to psych out the Dealer of Dealers--who'll turn out, of course, to be Mears, his brain addled by the secret electroshock therapy that erased his old identity without giving him anything new but a burning desire for revenge on everybody and everything that made him the zombie he is, and a network of drug contacts that put him in the perfect position to dish it out to everyone, from Biff Dunn to Cardinal Cushing. Gorgeously and audaciously plotted, with a trio of starring roles that would make a casting director salivate, even if he weren't being tested for drugs.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1997
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Norton