STRESS by Loren D. Estleman


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New Year's Eve, 1972. A Detroit cop moonlighting as security for Ted and Caryn Ogden's classy party--she's the Caryn Crownover of legendary Crownover Coaches--catches sight of a suspicious-looking character going for a shotgun, so he fires his .45 at three black targets. But when one of the three dead guys turns out to be an unarmed innocent, the department goes into overdrive tearing itself apart over the case, tapping black Officer Charlie Battle for Special Investigations and then making sure he'll never get the goods on Sgt. Paul Kubicek. A throwdown weapon turns up a few feet from the third victim; a possible accomplice who might have been the getaway man for the two actual thieves dies of a convenient overdose; and when the Ogdens' daughter Opal is kidnapped in a second attempt to provide cash for onetime Black Panther intimate Wilson McCoy's gun-buying schemes, the year-old STRESS squad (Stop The Robberies, Enjoy Safe Streets) battles the FBI over jurisdiction. The result is as rich and reeking a portrait of Detroit as Estleman (Edsel, 1995, etc.) has written, with violence and moral chaos threatening every collision between the characters, and haunting most of them individually as well, till the remarkable (and fact-based) courtroom climax. Don't look for any mystery about which of the cast members is guilty--they all are--but enjoy this as a peerless exercise in style, an evocation of a dirty page in urban history, and a brutal descent into ""any civic architect's picture of hell.

Pub Date: March 5th, 1996
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Mysterious