Whittingham ( Joe D: On the Street with a Chicago Homicide Cop ) makes his debut as a novelist with this powerful, exciting police procedural. Sgt. Joe Morrison and his ever-hungry partner Norbert Castor call in political favors, use street snitches as eyes and ears and cover the neighborhood like Jehovah's Witnesses to track down the two men--one black, one white--who raped the retarded daughter of a mob capo. The mafioso himself refuses to cooperate, preferring his own methods of protecting his family and turf. Then a pharmacist is found robbed and drowned in a 50-gallon drum at his store. Clues point to Uptown, Chicago's worst slum, and Tommy Bates, a ``major street animal''; his whorish, drughead girlfriend, Jo Kane; and Manfred White, a black dope dealer. When his partner is shot, Morrison responds like Sam Spade in a similar situation (a man's ``supposed to do something about it''). Telling a lie within earshot of a snitch, he ensures a kind of rough justice, which brings this no-frills story to an ironic but most satisfactory end. (Sept.)
Like Marlow, Whittingham emphasizes the realistic detail of police procedure. Joe Morrison, one of Chicago's finest, is temporarily assigned to homicide when someone murders a pharmacist friend of his father. Joe taps his former contacts among the street scum for information, performs the usual door-to-doors and bar-to-bars, and plays a few tricks until he flushes out the bad guys. Alternating views of police and quarry place this squarely on target.