BACKLASH by Paula Gosling


Email this review


A neatly plotted, softly understated cop story from Gosling (Hoodwink; Monkey Puzzle; etc.), who covers Wambaugh terrority but in a less hyperpitched way. Grantham's Jack Stryker is asked to find a cop killer--there are four dead so far, from four different precincts, each with a bullet to the head. Then when a murdered "bum" turns out to be a fed, the FBI steps in--in the beautiful shape of agent Dana Marchant. What, if anything, did the officers have in common? The computer draws a blank; Stryker and partner Tos are sniped at; Tos is hospitalized in a coma; Officer Pinsky, staking out the bum's scene with undercover cop Rivera, is beat up; and bent cop Tim Leary seems to have been free on the streets when the killings went down and becomes the main suspect until he, too, is dispatched with a bullet. The focus then switches to Rivera, a disguise expert, but he's got religion since his son was killed by a fiend and his cop wife left him because of it. Slowly, the facts shift into place, with Dana leading the ambush on the perp, whose version of what makes a cop "bad" was poignantly distorted. Puckish romantic undertones, and a nice independence/dependency subplot. Solid characterizations; tough final twist; and very suited to movieland.

ISBN: 385-24995-0
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online: