A police procedural is expected to deliver a realistic account of cops solving a crime. Oster ( Sweet Justice ) oversteps that goal in a gory new NYPD thriller in which nearly every policeman is irredeemably corrupt and almost every woman is a slut avid for sex in any variation. Middle-aged detective Joe Cullen, whose hip still throbs from a bullet he took months before in a shootout that left his partner dead, is assigned to investigate how and why two detectives were murdered while transporting a prisoner. Elvis Polk, a white punk who wishes he were black, was being brought to Manhattan from an upstate prison after volunteering information about an air-cargo theft. Cullen smells a setup but has no idea how deep its roots are--nor that it will put his life and that of his lover, TV reporter Ann Jones, in danger. Pornographic details, lengthy digressions and repetitions, lists of brand names and song titles, excerpted rock lyrics and artifical-sounding police jargon slow the story line and diminish rather than establish its verisimilitude. (Feb.)
Oster integrates many of the finer details of police procedure into the story--especially the jargon--but the reiteration of certain phrases related to particular characters becomes downright irritating. Con-man Elvis Polk, tattooed and delusional, murders his two-person police escort on his way to give information; this of course galvanizes New York City cops into action. Policeman Joe Cullen, disbelieving a sexual harassment charge brought against his boss, concerned about his lover's increasingly dangerous position as a TV newsperson, and still recovering from the incident that killed his partner, suspects some kind of departmental corruption. A largely engrossing if somewhat loosely connected plot. For most collections. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 11/1/91.