Okay, I ventured back into this book two days later, at the mid-point, after taking a break to catch my literary breath. Just too much coming at me. Winslow doesn’t stop.
The famous writer, Tom Wolfe said, “The goal is to penetrate into the central nervous system of the characters.”
Winslow receives a straight A report card on character development. I still love Detective Sergeant Denny Malone, despite his breaking the law, keeping money and dope, and having a Black mistress on the side. I don’t object to the “Black” part, but the “mistress” part.
Denny knows it’ a jungle because he thinks —And we didn’t become kings because our daddies were—we took our crowns the hard way, like the old warriors who fought their way to the throne with nicked swords and dented armor and wounds and scars. We started on these streets with guns and nightsticks and fists and nerve and guts and brains and balls . . . If the world played fair, he’d play fair.
Editors advise thriller writers to throw their protagonists into deep doo-doo, and then make it worse. Let them work their way out, and then toss them into really deep doo-doo. Well, Winslow excels. Denny Malone has more trouble than even an Irish hero-cop can handle.
“Which certain people?” Malone asks. “Who’s coming after me?”
“Everyone,” Chandler says.
Right, Malone thinks—Castillo, the Ciminos, Torres’s team, Sykes, IAB, the feds . . . City Hall.
Yeah, that’s about everyone.
Our beloved Malone—I can’t see any way out for him—then, there’s a little light. Let’s just say the body count climbs pretty high. If you want to keep a totally accurate count, buy a calculator, and then look into your own soul, if you find yourself judging Denny. I know he’s wrong, but . . .
Maybe you wouldn’t make the same choices, but then maybe you wouldn’t be the king of Northern Manhattan.
I think I’ll leave the moral verdicts to someone else on this.