14 Peck Slip

Ed Dee, Author
Ed Dee, Author Warner Books $19.95 (293p) ISBN 978-0-446-51770-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 336 pages - 978-0-446-60238-9
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They arrive every season like clockwork, those cops-turned-novelists who are promoted as the ``next Wambaugh.'' But Dee, a retired 20-year veteran of the NYPD, may be the real thing. While his first novel lacks Wambaugh's raucous humor, there's no doubt that it's told in an authentic and powerful voice. When Dee's narrator, NYPD detective Tony Ryan, describes the streets of the Fulton Fish Market as ``cobblestones coated with grease from a century of fish'' or visits a bar where ``the air was warm and damp and smelled of cigars, pine needles, and wet wool from a dozen damp overcoats,'' the sense of place is almost palpable. In 1982, Ryan and his partner, Joe (``The Great'') Gregory, come across the body of a crooked cop who, 10 years earlier, was due to testify before the Knapp Commission investigating police corruption before he disappeared. Their investigation keeps bringing them closer to the worst possible revelation: that detective John ``Jinx'' Mulgrew was murdered not by the mob, but by fellow cops. Though it will be obvious to some readers that a seemingly peripheral character is deeply involved in the mystery, this flaw is far outweighed by Dee's way with words. Here's Dee's take on the stresses that cops experience when working nights: ``It happened to cops all the time: guys work all night, sleep all day. They lose track of wives, kids, days, months, lies they've told, bars they can't get back into, women they've screwed, stories about them that aren't true.'' Any writer who can sing NYPD blues like that is worth keeping an eye on. (July)
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