Diverting mix of crime reports, cop talk, Chicago politics, and gyrations of a young Chicago Tribune reporter trying to fit in with new colleagues and still ``make a difference.'' After a sudden transfer to the police reporters' office (known as the ``Cop Shop''), Blau found an antique atmosphere, with one detective chain-smoking Larks and snoozing as ashes fell on his wide lapels. At the time, popular Harold Washington was Chicago's mayor, and he had appointed another African-American, LeRoy Brown, as police chief (though Brown seemed to boast no outstanding achievements). The author's first big case kicked off when he asked Brown why Chicago, as was generally believed, didn't have the major crack problem that other cities did. Blau was told that, by gang agreement, Chicago was by-passed so the gangs would have a peaceful transshipment area for their wares. But as soon as Blau went into the poor neighborhoods, the real story was in his face: drive-by shootings; fortresses in public houses; thousand-pound shipments of crack-cocaine; a building protected by 12 dealer-cops; six different hands with illicit product reaching into his car window: ``Word up! Shit be killah!'' The nonproblem, it seems, was a conspiracy between the police department, the local paper, and apparently, the middle class, who happily swallowed canards as long as they didn't have to think about them. Blau follows up this revelation with many tales of individual fate (including his own acceptance in the Cop Shop), displaying an active mind and a yen for the occasionally heavy cognitive workout. An agile report that outclasses Mitch Gelman's comparable Crime Scene (1992).

Pub Date: May 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-201-58113-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Addison-Wesley

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1993

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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