A gripping first novel about a black gang war for control of the Detroit (?) drug-dealing scene. In true capitalistic dog-eat-dog fashion, Viet vet Lennie Jack (26)--a lower-echelon thug--decides to try a power grab by dethroning drug kingpin Willis McDaniel, who has gotten as high in the heroin racket as blacks are permitted to go. The means to this (stealing McDaniel's dope house to challenge his authority and set up a stake) are tantamount to a declaration of all-out war, as McDaniel's goons go carefully amok, cutting off fingers and smashing heads to find both Lennie Jack and their own ill-fated employees who spilled the beans. Meanwhile narcs Big Al and Lieutenant Boone continue to set up busts, hoping if nothing else to pick up the pieces when the war is over. The one-time reporter author chronicles with apparent veracity the strangely parallel hierarchies of crook and cop: a chain of informers, hit men, decoys, and the endless series of cars that surround their every move--modern accoutrements of unroyal power. In the end Armageddon descends in this illegitimate but strangely alluring version when the American dream turns--as golden girls and boys all must--to dust.