CROSSING THE LINE by Clinton McKinzie


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Two brothers—one an outlaw, the other a cop (though an outlaw at heart)—battle vicious bad guys and (even worse) an entrenched bureaucracy.

Special Agent Anton Burns (The Edge of Justice, 2002, etc.), the stormy petrel of the Wyoming Division of Crime Investigation, is more than willing to be his older brother’s keeper. That’s because he loves him, though loving Roberto has never been free of complications. An almost legendary mountain climber—his “rope-less ascents” have been the stuff of magazine covers: Berto is Hollywood handsome, endlessly charismatic, determinedly amoral, and a junkie. Not surprisingly, then, he’s in such deep trouble with the authorities that serious jail time looms. Which goes a long way toward explaining the odd-quartet nature of the surveillance team hunkered down on the outskirts of drug-lord Jesús Hidalgo’s stateside headquarters. Mary Chang and Tom Cochran are FBI agents who want Hidalgo desperately, not merely because he’s the puissant boss of “the Mexicali Mafia,” but because he mutilated and murdered a valued colleague. Berto, who, to his shame, was once a friend of Hidalgo’s, has worked out a quid quo pro with the feds: cooperation in exchange for amnesty. Anton’s role—for which he’s been detached from the Wyoming PD—is to serve as a restraining influence on his mercurial sib. Slim and none is the way Agent Cochran gauges Anton’s chances. “Hell, they both should be in handcuffs. A lunatic and a renegade cop.” And Anton acknowledges privately that, though both those characterizations are exaggerated, neither is entirely without merit. The Hidalgo hunt heats up, bureaucratic backstabbing intensifies, secrets and lies proliferate, until, to Anton, “crossing the line” comes to seem all but obligatory.

Under severe pressure—emotional as well as political—Anton manages with grace and style. A very good thriller: the series best by far.

Pub Date: May 3rd, 2004
ISBN: 0-385-33637-3
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2004


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