Barrett ( Time Double , Lynx Bks., 1989), aided by three LAPD officers (the pseudonymous Charles Lee Arthur), has created a gritty, jaded, and probably rather accurate view of ghetto police work. The story centers on veteran cops Rokowski and Lanner, rookie Hetrick, and the ``endless series of losers, users, and scumbags'' they deal with each day. As Hetrick struggles to learn the ropes to become a bona fide ``copper'' and Lanner searches for the punk who murdered his sister, we see hardened cops rousting hardened criminals, and it's not a pretty picture. This novel wants to be a police thriller and a study of the psychological damage done to a ``man who sees too much of the sordid underbelly of humanity.'' However, the result is overdramatic and unsatisfying.-- Rebecca House Stankowski, Purdue Univ. Calumet, Ham mond, Ind.