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 Reports have it that Lindsay, an FBI agent, is in hot water with his superiors for this first novel--and no wonder: In his derivative yet atmospheric and acridly entertaining debut, he depicts a Bureau smothering in bureaucracy and mediocrity, but still home to a courageous few--who make cases as often as not by breaking laws as well as rules. Lindsay's paladin is Detroit Special Agent Mike Devlin, introduced dispensing a typical bit of street justice by leaving as prey for street rats the Mercedes of the drug-dealer he's just nailed. Devlin's noble vigilantism is as familiar as Dirty Harry, of course, and Lindsay keeps the clichÇs coming by pitting Devlin against desk-jockey superiors and by teaming the lone-wolf agent with an eager young partner. This predictable drama, though, is richly textured with clever characters (a black agent obsessed with his presumed Viking heritage; a mobster exposed as a pederast) and with absorbing intrigue, revolving around Devlin's organizing an unauthorized squad of fellow renegades to solve two crimes the brass are ignoring: the disappearance of one agent's daughter-- which leads Devlin into Detroit's drug underworld; and the sale to a top mobster, by an unknown FBI employee, of a list of informants. But what makes Lindsay's story sizzle are his wry, dead-on sniping at Bureau mentality (``Of the various secret oaths an FBI Agent takes, only one has remained undefiled throughout history: Never pass up anything free'') and, particularly, his intimate knowledge of cops' lives. Here's one agent facing danger: ``Something dark enveloped Livingston....His skin was cold and he was on the verge of shivering. In defense, he yawned. Devlin saw the yawn and understood his fear.'' With street truths like that, and action that accelerates to a stirring climax, Lindsay delivers a crime thriller to savor--and one that might sell very well indeed. (Film rights sold to Hollywood Pictures, a division of Disney.)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-679-41198-4
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1992


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