Kirkus Reviews QR Code
OFFICER DOWN by Michael Grant

OFFICER DOWN

By Michael Grant

Pub Date: July 9th, 1993
ISBN: 0-385-41968-6
Publisher: Doubleday

 Tired of battling US anti-drug authorities on Colombian soil, the druglords hatch an ingenious, improbable, yet prophetic scheme: They'll hire a cadre of terrorists to execute NYPD officers at random, spreading fear and demoralization in preparation for an all-out attack on a high-profile public institution--all in order to frighten federal authorities into backing off their demands for extraditions from Colombia. Commissioner Thomas Cassidy, looking for a few good men to battle the Pu§o Blanco (White Fist), chooses Deputy Inspector Dan Morgan, who's joined by DEA agent Donal Castillo (``pushing the envelope and close to burnout'') and FBI antiterrorist specialist Christine Liberti. As Morgan's tiny, secret unit begins to gather information, the Pu§o Blanco--headed by paramilitary sharpshooter Lyle Petry-- plants a bomb outside One Police Plaza, killing the eager-beaver officer who picks it up thinking it's a dud; executes a second officer as she's sitting in her car writing out a parking citation; and begins to place bogus distress calls to 911 in order to bushwhack the responding officers. The department, even though they haven't been told that a terrorist organization has targeted their ranks, predictably demands automatic weapons and doubled backup personnel, and then, after another bombing in the South Bronx, starts a job action. The odds against Morgan and Co. would seem impossible except for an undercover cop they've planted right under Petry's nose--but a rookie whose inexperience sets the stage for a nailbiting finale. The excruciatingly familiar characters, from coldly trigger-happy Petry to hotly trigger-happy Castillo, are only pegs to hang the action on--but as Grant showed in Line of Duty (1991), he sure can dish up the action. The recent bombing of the World Trade Center (not, by the way, the climactic target here) gives this crackerjack story an added timeliness.