cover image Man with a Gun

Man with a Gun

Robert Daley / Author Simon & Schuster $18.45 (475p) ISBN 978-

This latest novel by the author of Prince of the City may end by focusing on the controversy over a green Deputy Commissioner who commits accidental homicide, but it is really about the fascinating distribution and realignment of power at the top of the nation's largest police force. Foreign correspondent Phil Keefe has been selected right-hand man to New York Police Commissioner Timothy J. Egan, a small, strong-minded former police academy instructor bent on reform of the department. Keefe is coached by a sergeant who has seen awful cruelties on the streets of New York. He is suspected by top brass who fear their power slipping into his hands. And he is resented by his girlfriend, an actress whom he leaves each night to visit the city's cops at work. He is in over his head, though, when police officials saddle him with a difficult hostage negotiation that results in the death of a distraught black trucker. Daley himself is on slightly unfamiliar ground when he brings to task an ambitious senator and assistant DA. And he sometimes pushes too far his recurring theme of the cop as society's martyr. But when Daley describes working cops, he makes clear the aggravation and ugliness of their jobs. And when he examines the methods by which major police officials quietly protect their careers and extend their grasp, he writes like a dazzling pre-glasnost Kremlinologist scrutinizing small changes in photos of Soviet leaders for revealing clues. (February 29)