Stroud's first novel (after the bestselling Close Pursuit ) is a standout, with an ingenious plot, suspenseful pacing and strong, gritty dialogue. Vietnam vet Frank Keogh is a sniper in the Emergency Services Unit of the NYPD. His job is to kill gunmen who are holding hostages; accuracy and steel nerves are vital. Keogh is expert at his job, perhaps too much so. He seems to find an inordinate joy in disposing of his unsuspecting targets. When a cop with whom he has quarreled and a woman with whom he is having an affair both die violently, under gruesomely similar circumstances, a warrant is issued for Keogh's arrest. He flees, confirming his ``guilt,'' and the story unfolds with surprises at every turn. The author evokes the shadowed world of the NYPD with cynical realism. ``This is the city of the Big Fix--the whole fucking place is on the pad,'' one of Keogh's colleagues says. Stroud's taut descriptions of NYC neighborhoods, his portrayal of an ethnically mixed population, are right on target; his nuanced characterizations of fallible men and the women they love impart a basic credibility to this taut thriller. Film rights to 20th Century Fox. (Oct.)
The acclaimed author of Close Pursuit (1987), a nonfiction work about the NYPD, tackles a first novel on the same subject. Police sniper Frank Keogh, Vietnam veteran and long-time cop, finally begins to show stress: his family life stinks, and he seems impatient to pull the trigger. When he kills a burglar without his commander's go-ahead, he finds himself framed for the murders of two cops and a nurse. Keogh flees, pursued by the dead burglar's brother, the FBI, and state police officers. Partner Pat Butler, meanwhile, attempts to unmask the true culprit. Lengthy, detailed, and arresting, this procedural offers explosive action, high excitement, and hard-hitting prose.