Starred Review (Best read of September)
Just 15 minutes before his shift ends, LAPD homicide detective Niels Madsen rolls up on a scene that could destroy his career. The veteran cop sees a rookie holding a man at gunpoint at a bus stop. Madsen intervenes, only to discover the man has a gun, but he’s protecting the body of another man. Because of the body, Niels and his new partner take control of the crime scene. It appears that Francisco “Cisco” Gutierrez shot his friend, David. But appearances can be deceiving. Once a notorious gang member, Cisco now appears to be intellectually disabled. Madsen wants the truth for the victim’s family. A territorial dispute with the sheriff’s department, which sends over Cisco’s file but also wants to claim the suspect as their catch, muddies the case. Once Niels meets others who know Cisco now, he decides to prove the man did not kill David. The sheriff’s deputies seem to be waiting for Niels to make a mistake. It’s a setup for a violent conclusion.
VERDICT Stallings’s (Young Americans) challenging must-read for police procedural fans reflects today’s society. Forced to ask questions about bias, intellectual disability, police actions, and redemption, Niels stands in contrast to cops who resort to violence. – Lesa Holstine Libraray Journal