PRINCE OF THE CITY: The Story of a Cop Who Knew Too Much by Robert Daley
Kirkus Star

PRINCE OF THE CITY: The Story of a Cop Who Knew Too Much

Email this review


Corruption in the NYPD: one man's way out. . . and in deeper. Detective Robert Leuci was a team leader in the Narcotics Division's elite Special Investigating Unit and also a team player; he had no intention of breaking the unwritten rules when he started working undercover to rout out guys on the take. He was in fact one of them, but he wasn't a ""rat""--""a man who squealed because he was caught""--because he wasn't caught: he was in an unusual position whereby he could call the shots, and he was cocky and lamentably naive. Leuci would make his cases selectively, against corrupt higher-ups like DAs and judges; unlike the contemptibles who ""gave up"" their partners to the Knapp Commission under pressure, he would protect at least his own corner of copdom. Why did Leuci, corrupt and un-caught, jump at the chance to align himself with a series of anti-corruption prosecutors--each of whom, as it turned out, left an increasingly vulnerable Leuci to court his successor? Absolution with honor, as Daley would have it; or maybe a canny pre-emptive defense-move? Motive is only one of the links missing: the people fall short, come across less as individuals than as manifestations of roles; Daley (Target Blue, etc.), who knows the Department from the inside, fails to explain some odd investigative logistics; and then there are the loose middles and ends. In the forthcoming movie, John Travolta will play Leuci; here, narrating his clearly cinematic story, Daley sounds like Jack Webb. But the dragnet is very real: this is a book of compounding dilemmas, from that of the SIU cop whose loyal informant can't buy drugs on the street any more because no one will risk trafficking with him--and the cop has such easy access to so much--to that of the prosecutor who has to decide if he can justify not indicting Leuci with the others when his transgressions come out at the end. Absorbing.

Pub Date: Jan. 15th, 1978
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin