A Couple of Cops:: On the Street, in the Crime Lab

George Cuomo, Author Random House (NY) $24 (395p) ISBN 978-0-679-41851-1
This is the story of the author's two cousins: Al Della Penna, detective sergeant and chief firearms examiner with Long Island's Suffolk County Police Department, and John Cuomo, detective second grade, NYPD. Their stories are related in the first person, with author narratives interspersed throughout. Della Penna, the suburban senior crime scene investigator, tells how evidence is collected and why he is wary of the press (``They want news. I want evidence''). He takes us to the scene of the murder of a middle-class housewife, who was found naked, strangled and stabbed, and describes how he nabbed a local punk for the vicious murder. He takes us on the case that became the basis for The Amityville Horror-a boy's murder of his parents and his four siblings-and why some questions regarding it are still unanswered. Detective Cuomo, a natural-born storyteller, regales us with tales of life as a Big Apple cop. Starting out in 1954 in Spanish Harlem's 25th Precinct, he was soon working narcotics in the Bronx, earning his detective's shield. He relates how his investigation of a homicide of an insurance broker with mob ties set him up for an indictment for bribery, which was eventually dropped. As graphic as it is interesting, Cuomo's (Trial by Water) portrait of two very different cousin cops makes exciting reading. Photos not seen by PW. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
Hardcover - 978-0-517-17089-2
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