Putnam, Sept 2004, 24.95, 284 pp.
Nobody mourns the shooting death of drug supplier James “Skeeter” Hodges or the wounding of his friend Tobias “Pencil” Crawford in a black DC neighborhood. The drug dealers were sitting in a car when eight or nine bullets went through the window almost taking the Skeeler's head off and injuring Pencil. Nobody grieves Skeeter's death because he turned a nice Washington D.C. neighborhood into a war zone.
Police officers Frank Kearney and Jose Phelps are assigned the case but their superior captain Randolph Emerson is more interested in closing cold cases connected to Skeeter than catching the killer. The investigation heats up when it is discovered that the murder that killed Skeeter also killed Congressman Frederick Rhinelander's chief of staff Kevin Gantry. The department is publicly embarrassed because Kevin's case was signed off as an administrative closure. Now Frank and Jose have to find the killer or lose the confidence of the public.
Robert Andrews has written a brilliant police procedural with a dire social commentary. Once the public loses confidence in its police force, the country is one step away from anarchy. It is the belief in the police and the legal system that keeps this country functioning and the author makes that very clear. The two protagonists on the case are the heroes because they believe in the law and justice and doing their best to bring honor to the badges they carry.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner