cover image Depraved Indifference

Depraved Indifference

Robert K. Tanenbaum. Dutton Books, $18.95 (296pp) ISBN 978-0-453-00679-8

Former assistant DA Tanenbaum ( No Lesser Plea ) enjoys an insider's perspective on the court system that provides an unforgettable fictional portrait of crime and punishment in New York City. Exposing this complex legal underworld with skill and energy, Tanenbaum characterizes the city's court as a hornet's nest of intrigue, ambition and villainy, where a few decent workers must fight constantly to preserve their integrity. The protagonist, Roger Karp, is a tough, Brooklyn-born DA trying to prosecute a gang of Croatian nationalists who hijacked a plane and killed a cop with a booby-trapped bomb. Karp's assistant and lover, Marlene Ciampi, stumbles across information connecting Karavitch, the head terrorist, with Nazi war crimes. Far from the idealistic freedom fighter the media believe him to be, Karavitch was involved in the slaughter of an entire village in Yugoslavia during the war. It might seem a simple case, but N.Y.'s Catholic Archdiocese has hired a top lawyer to defend the terrorists, and the police department wants to let these cop killers off scot-free. Karp realizes something is seriously wrong when FBI and CIA agents team up with a Miami crime syndicate to undermine the case against Karavitch and his gang. Helping Karp in the investigation are two memorable characters--Vinson Talcott Newbury, the ultimate WASP snob, and Ray Guma, a smooth-talking ``Italian stallion'' DA with whom no woman is safe. Tanenbaum has written a damning indictment of our court system and an entertaining expose of the DA's office. (Sept.)