Email this review


 A routine cop killing is only the tip of the firestorm--a full-scale civil war for the soul of the LAPD--in the hardcover debut of homicide detective Fey Croaker. All right, no cop killing is routine, but when a streetful of witnesses watch April Waverly shoot her philandering husband as he sits in his unmarked car outside the West L.A. station, it looks pretty straightforward. ``Something like this hurts us all,'' the police chief says as he hands the case to Fey's West L.A. Area Homicide unit. ``I want it wrapped up quick and tidy.'' The only problem: Alex Waverly was already dead when his wife shot him, poisoned by a massive dose of digoxin. Why two different people tried to kill him within minutes is only the first riddle in an outsized plot whose range becomes obvious when a second cop--a ``mockingbird'' who'd gone undercover in a drug ring--is found dead on the UCLA campus, and a second corpse on the scene links his death to Waverly's. Yet Bishop doesn't sustain much tension over the mysterious aspects of his case; he's more interested in the power struggle that bull-headed Fey gradually discerns between the deeply unpopular chief--a political appointee from outside--and the old-time cowboys who are so convinced they know what's best for the department that they're willing to kill anyone, colleague or citizen, who gets in their way. Bishop lays on the corruption with the broadest possible strokes--a heartless seductress compares her latest victim, ``a man who could only do it once a night,'' to the ``true man'' on whose behalf she's plying her wares--and the result has all the inevitability of watching a row of dominoes fall, and not much more subtlety or artistry. If the NYPD isn't dirty enough for you, though, it's reassuring to know that Bishop, himself head of LAPD's Sex Crimes unit, may just have your number.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-684-83009-4
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Scribner
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1997


FictionPATTERN OF BEHAVIOR by Paul Bishop
by Paul Bishop
FictionCHALK WHISPERS by Paul Bishop
by Paul Bishop
FictionCHAPEL OF THE RAVENS by Paul Bishop
by Paul Bishop