The Killing Breed

Mark Graham, Author Avon Books $5.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-380-80066-7
In his first novel, Graham portrays Philadelphia in the late 19th century as a nest of mercenary politicians, cops and cutthroats who thrive as the country attempts to reestablish itself in the aftershock of the Civil War. Against the squalor stands Wilton McCleary, a scrupulous young police detective attempting to track down the abductors of a prized dog and search for a kidnapped child. In the gaslit Philadelphia underground, a life is on the line and the fight is often lowered to the level of the attackers. Although Graham duplicates the milieu of old Philadelphia to great effect, in other areas he is more formulaic. McCleary, for example, is the lone-wolf detective guided by his own moral compass to defy the odds in attempting to crack his case. While not revolutionizing thegenre, The Killing Breed does offer a complex and startling conclusion, which the reader reaches after several wild rides through a meticulously detailed city of an era gone by. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/30/1998
Release date: 12/01/1998
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