Manhattan's Lower East Side has rarely if ever been scrutinized with more snap and sympathy than in Solomita's new and memorable crime thriller, about a charismatically old-fashioned cop on the trail of a homicidal crack addict. Stanley Moodrow, hero of Solomita's debut novel, A Twist of the Knife (1988), is the 55-year-old detective who takes it very personally when small-time hustler and cracksmoker Levander Greenwood takes to shot gunning dealers and their customers, ripping off their wares. With his younger and hotter-headed partner and heir-apparent Jim Tilley in tow, Moodrow tugs hard on the web of informants he's woven during 35 years living and working on tire Lower East Side, trying to scare up Greenwood. And his web holds a tragic brood indeed--of whores, addicts, mobsters, punks, and plain poor folks, all vividly back dropped by a grungy social club in Little Italy, a barracks-like homeless shelter, a fortress-like clubhouse of an outlaw biker gang--who at last tip off Moodrow to Greenwood's lair, deep within the bowels of the subway system. Before Moodrow has his spooky stalk-and-showdown with Greenwood, however, he has to share his partner's rage as the young cop's new lover, Greenwood's estranged wife, is beaten to near-death by the crazed addict; suffer tire crude pressure of police brass demanding results or his badge; humiliate himself before a dying Mafia don; and dispense poetic justice to the rotten cop who, it turns out, has been ""running"" Greenwood, sharing in his bloody profits even as the addict bums a bogeyman's path down the sweltering city streets. Fairly boils off the page with the sour fevers of a diseased city under siege. Despite a few clichâ€šs that it wears lightly--the old wise cop and his green sidekick; the politicized police bureaucracy, etc.--this is easily one of the most atmospheric, moving, and thrilling police novels of the year.