cover image Tainted Evidence

Tainted Evidence

Robert Daley. Little Brown and Company, $21.95 (391pp) ISBN 978-0-316-17196-0

Daley is not at his best in this sketchy combination of a police procedural and a courtroom drama. A minor hoodlum named Lionel Epps shoots five cops during a botched arrest in Harlem. For political reasons, responsibility for the prosecution falls on assistant DA Karen Henning, who has to deal with allegations of drug dealing and police corruption from Epps's lawyer, veiled threats from the police commissioner and an activist minister, and betrayal within her own department, not to mention domestic problems with her husband and their two kids. The case is fraught with racial, sexual and political tensions--all of which, unfortunately, are indicated instead of developed in the course of a book that seems more like a first draft than a finished novel. Although individual scenes are crisply written and the dialogue is sharp, the overall narrative is slight and unsatisfying; it lacks closure, depth and exposition. Falling short of the standards he set in such books as Prince of the City and Year of the Dragon , Daley fails to deliver on the expectations he arouses in this novel. (Apr.)