A zealous but unfocused invective by a talented writer yet to realize his own potential.
An African-American police officer in Kansas City, Kodiack’s topic is black crime. According to the author, Kansas City is 70% white, but 80% of the city’s crimes are committed by blacks. Kodiack is furious with fellow African-Americans for their unwillingness to stop this disparity and with whites and â€œblues” (police officers) for standing idly by. Much of his narrative takes the form of a rant deriding the confused priorities of blacks, and like most rants, this lacks the structure that might have given it more of a punch. Kodiack describes his project as being the result of â€œeight years of random dictations,” and this randomness is its downfall. A skilled writer, Kodiack nonetheless shifts between topics with head-spinning speed, letting his rage drive him and frequently leaving his reader in the dust. This is not to say that the author doesn’t make some good points. His assertion that African-Americans need to take up the cause of their own advancement is compelling, and his assault on the faux piety of political correctness is brash and believable. Further, in response to the problem of black crime, Kodiack proposes hard solutions, though their quality varies widely. Some–like better education and job training for prison inmates–are convincing and level-headed. But others–like the compulsory enlistment of unregenerate criminals into the military–are downright frightening in their potential ramifications. In addressing his subject, Kodiack uses a number of different writings styles, but the balance he strikes between formal prose and the argot of Kansas City streets is an uneasy one. In one instance, he deflates a well-crafted critique of his department’s pursuit policies by exclaiming, â€œNigga, please!” Later, he calls local city-council members â€œretards.” Such descents into hateful speech blunt the force of his argument and open him to criticism.
Passion without form.