THE GHOST by Marc Olden


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A murderously bad cop enshrines a beautiful woman in his weird heart, Ö la the 1941 film I Wake Up Screaming, in the latest from Olden (Fear’s Justice, 1996, etc.) Fearless, supersmart Harry Earles’s NYPD career has dead-ended as a sergeant after 20 years. He’s part of a five-man team out to put away a crooked judge with gambling debts to pay. One member of the team is Detective Rosalind “Ross” Magellan, who works undercover and is addicted to the adrenalin-boost of danger that comes from putting away a serial rapist while posing as a whore or junkie. Ross has spotted Attorney Lou Angelo as the bagman for Judge Reiner’s dirty deals and follows him about while baiting a trap for the judge. Meanwhile, Harry follows Ross about, ostensibly because he’s her “ghost” (the backup member kept out of all the busts so he can protect her), but really because he’s massively obsessed by Ross, loves her blindly. Now, somebody is offing undercover lady cops. Ross is almost murdered by vicious Albanian criminals tied to the Mafia; a speeding car beheads her look-alike friend. Harry and Ross both have their private demons: he cares for a sick wife; she has some very compelling reasons for keeping her past away from snoops, stuff about her Little Sister and their sexually abusive father, who got what was coming to him. Because Harry is Ross’s mentor and has twice saved her life, he knows every ploy she’ll use in breaking a case that he doesn’t want broken—he’s just not motivated the way she is. The climax has great energy and operatically ironic force, since even at the end the rats can’t be told from the good guys. Plenty gritty: Olden’s masterful theft of cop lingo is practically felonious.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-684-83467-7
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1999


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