Manhattan Assistant D.A. Butch Karp and his colorful crew (Immoral Certainty, 1990, etc.) return for their fourth 70's-set end run against Gotham's worst--this engrossing time out, against a serial rapist and a murderous conspiracy reaching far into the halls of power. Once again, Tanenbaum, now a Beverly Hills councilman, draws deeply on his own past tenure in Karp's post, tracing with bedrock authenticity the A.D.A.'s internal conflicts as he is asked by a trusted top cop to cover up an investigation into a rash of drug- dealer killings (the work of a vigilante cop whose exposure will tear apart the NYPD?) and at the same time is wooed by a cabal of fat cats to run for the post of D.A. Expertly counterpointed to Karp's political tightroping is the suspenseful police street-hunt for the killer, focusing on a trio of Harlem-based cops whose extralegal tactics (including simulated torture) Tanenbaum describes with vibrant grit. And in a major subplot rife with 70's period detail and legalistic flourish, Karp's pregnant fiancÇe, Marlene Ciampi, goes after a smug serial rapist who graduates to murder. Then Karp learns that the cabal backing him for D.A. may be behind the killings, looking to score millions in drugs by eliminating their competition; the cops begin to fear that their own lieutenant is the killer--until he's kidnapped by the cabal; and Ciampi's case takes a bizarre turn as a corrupt judge springs the rapist. Can a series of Karp-engineered stings and a last- minute rescue attempt bring the scales of justice back into balance? You can smell the Big Apple starting to rot as Tanenbaum bores into its mealy core for another uncommonly intelligent legal/cop entertainment.