Intense police melodrama, circa 1957, as Solomita takes his hulking cop-hero Stanley Moodrow (Bad to the Bone, 1991, etc.) back to his early, troubled days on the job. It may be set 25 years ago, but the elements that have made Solomita's modern-day crime thrillers so invigorating are in place: There's 6'6'' Moodrow, of course, just five years on the force but already relentless--as shown in the brutally exciting near-opening scene in which the young cop, face ravaged and nose broken, batters his way to victory in the Inter-Service Boxing Championships. There's Moodrow's beloved human ant-heap of a Lower East Side and its usual complement of skin-crawling villains, this time led by ruthlessly ambitious Jewish gangster Jake Leibowitz. And there's strong--if relatively clichÇd--human drama, sparked when an old family friend asks Moodrow to look into the slaying of a Hispanic neighbor that other cops are ignoring. Moodrow agrees but treads softly, not wanting to further alienate his future father-in-law, powerful Inspector Pat Cohan, who's just given Moodrow a gold shield but who's angered because Moodrow is balking at his new post as assistant to the precinct bagman. Moodrow's a pit bull for justice, though, and when he learns that the dead Hispanic was an innocent slain by Liebowitz's crew during a shakedown, and that Cohan (who Moodrow doesn't yet know is in the mob's pocket) has quelled the investigation, he swears to take Liebowitz down. Meanwhile, Leibowitz cuts a savage swath through the Lower East Side and the Italian bosses who have forsaken him, and Cohan swears to crush the insubordinate Moodrow, who prepares to fight back--but won't that mean losing the love of Cohan's daughter, the sweet and succulent Kate? Series fans already will know that Moodrow wins this battle, but Solomita's energetic evocation of the bad old days of New York's finest will keep them nailed to the page right up to the foregone conclusion.