A police officer in upstate New York faces the agony of having killed a man.
Taking a call about a home invasion with shots fired, Jimmy Vega rushes to the scene and finds two Latino men running from the house. The one with the gun, homeowner Ricardo Luis, immediately puts down his weapon while Jimmy chases the other one. When the man refuses to put his hands up after they speak in Spanish and turns with a hand jammed into his pocket, Jimmy shoots and kills him. Jimmy is horrified when a search discloses nothing but an old photograph in the dead man’s pocket. Soon after he’s put on leave until an investigation can clear him, the man is identified as the father of a woman who babysits for Jimmy’s girlfriend, attorney Adele Figueroa, who runs La Casa, a Latino community center. The incident unleashes a firestorm of bad publicity. Adele, pressed to condemn Jimmy or lose her job, finds her faith in him wavering, especially when a neighbor at the death scene claims Jimmy executed the man in cold blood. When Jimmy learns that the dead man was the superintendent of the apartment building in the Bronx where his mother lived and died violently, he feels he must investigate. But he’s recognized, and only the intervention of an old friend saves him from mob violence. Fighting his fears and his newly sharpened temper, Jimmy links his shooting and his mother’s murder to a scheme to extort money from illegal immigrants.
Chazin’s pulse-pounding procedurals (A Blossom of Bright Light, 2015, etc.) excel at plucking stories from the headlines. This one combines a complex mystery with a heartbreaking look at both sides of police shootings.