THE DETECTIVES: Their Toughest Cases in Their Own Words by Peter A. Micheels

THE DETECTIVES: Their Toughest Cases in Their Own Words

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KIRKUS REVIEW

New York City detectives talk about wearing the ""coveted gold shield"" and describe their most memorable cases in unrestrained, gritty detail. As he did for firefighters in Heat (1989) and Braving the Flames (1991), Michaels simply provides a forum for the detectives (two women, six men) to reminisce. Lieutenant Phil ""Sundance"" Panzarella, a cop since the early 1970s, worked in the Narcotics Division, the Sex Crimes Unit, and the Queens district attorney's office. He describes two cases that occurred in the same building in 1982 when he was with Homicide. An elderly woman, who had been bound and robbed, died from the gag forced into her mouth; and a 17-year-old girl was gang-raped and thrown from the roof of the building; in the latter case, while Panzarella thought he knew who did it, he couldn't pin it down to make an arrest. Detective Second Grade Anne Sowinski, on the force since 1979, worked the Far Rockaway projects for a year before being recruited, at age 23, to work as an elderly decoy for the Senior Citizens Robbery Unit. She provides an insightful description of selecting fillers, or ""extras,"" for identification lineups and painfully recalls cases of rape and child sexual abuse she encountered during her three years with the Sex Crimes Unit. Narcotics undercover work, says Detective First Grade Bruce Myers, ""was dirty, scary, and...like playing Russian roulette with a Derringer."" He recalls making small buys on the street, ""standing around the barrels of fire...with a lot of smelly, undesirable people."" On one memorable day, he spent the morning buying marijuana in the South Bronx, the afternoon copping heroin in Harlem, and the night purchasing a kilo of cocaine. Each case demanded a different set of clothing and a different personality. Despite the lack of context provided by Micheels's skimpy introduction, this is a potent inside look at police work.

Pub Date: April 21st, 1994
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: St. Martin's