The whites, Richard Price under the pen name Harry Brandt; narrator, Ari Fliakos

whitesThis detective novel seemed to be out to prove one thing, and that is that the line that separates the criminal from the cop is thin enough to miss. None of the characters had much character. The police didn’t respect the laws of the land and took justice into their own hands. Then they closed ranks around each other and covered up their crimes. The criminals, the gangs, the thugs, and even those who became innocently involved, all had warts of some sort.
The story revolves around the life and experiences of Billy Graves, a cop who had accidentally shot and killed a young boy while high on coke. The crime was covered up, but he was transferred to night duty after that. Almost two decades later, he is still working the graveyard shift. The reputation of the journalist who reported his crime was trashed and her career ended, as the officers protected one of their own.
Billy Graves is quick to judge the crimes of everyone around him while he remains blind to his own and unaware of his wife’s. When his family becomes the target of an unknown assailant, secrets start climbing out of the woodwork, as the investigation proceeds. Billy’s childhood friends/gang are all still in the area. Of them, one is a funeral parlor owner, another is a janitor, another is a rogue cop. His dad, a former cop, is suffering from the early stages of dementia.
The women featured also tread the thin line between right and wrong. They all defy the rules they should be following and make excuses for their own behavior that they would not allow others to use. Several have committed crimes.
It is a story filled with crude language and behavior, errant cops and neurotic women who all seem to be on one drug or drink in order to function. The bad guys/criminals commit every type of crime that is conceivable. Every one of the characters, good guys and bad guys alike, bends the rules to suit themselves.
This novel simply had too many arms to contemplate. The dialogue is hackneyed. Obtuse slang pervades the narrative. The past invades the present. At some point, two stories eventually intertwine, clearing up a lot of the confusion that exists throughout much of the book. Police are not pictured in the light of law abiding and law protecting citizens, but rather as a bunch of corrupt, loudmouthed dispensers of a crooked form of justice.

About omasvoice

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This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Books for Adults, Fiction. Bookmark the permalink.

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