Saturday, July 10, 2010

"I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection." Sigmund Freud

The opening part of the novel nicely describes the strong relationship between Chicago Police Detective Ralph Shepard and his ten-year-old son, Derek. Maybe it was because Derek's mother died when he was just a small child, but the father-son bond is formed and grows with the story.
Ralph finally gets to work on a major case and when his investigation stalls, he needs more evidence and asks his young partner Troy, to go under cover and pretend to be a drug importer from Canada.
Things end tragically and when Ralph persists and is close to getting enough evidence to arrest underworld crime lord, Victor Lagano, he's gunned down in front of Derek and Derek's lifelong friend, Jimmy.
The boys grow up. Jimmy attends college and Derek goes to community college and enters the police academy. Jimmy takes a course that is run by Johnny Katalpa, Ralph's first partner, who became an FBI agent.
Johnny takes an interest in Jimmy and Jimmy is recruited into a so called specialized unit in the FBI, run by Marcus Web. However, the unit isn't all that it seems.
In a major coincidence, Derek meets a woman named Rebecca and becomes enamored with her. They have relations and after a night of love making, she leaves a note that she cannot see him again. But fate changes and when Derek goes to a concert, Rebecca is there with her husband, Victor Lagano.
The rest of the story details Rebecca attempting to get information about Lagano's crimes and giving it to Derek so he can bring Lagano to trial. If this happens, Rebecca will be put in the witness protection plan run by Marcus and this will have disasterous results.
For a first novel, and without major editing, the author tells a good story and provides excellent action.
A couple of flaws; when Derek sees his father killed, his father's boss is Chief Frank Szymanski and Derek is described as a teenager. Derek grows up, attends community college, joins the police and gets into the detective unit and Szmanski is still there. These positions in hazardous duty occupations never have a supervisor there for that length of time.
Also, when Marcus recruits Jimmy, the recruitment process is done in the backseat of a car. Even though this is an undercover unit, that wouldn't happen. And cops don't call each other by their full names, i.e. Marcus and James. Otherwise, I enjoyed the book.

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