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Preview: Booklist Online - Review of the Day

Booklist Online - Review of the Day

Last Build Date: Sat, 20 Jan 2018 17:58:35 GMT

Copyright: ALA Booklist Publications Copyright 2007

Green Sun.

Sat, 20 Jan 2018 17:58:35 GMT

Anderson, Kent (author).
Feb. 2018. 352p. Little, Brown/Mulholland, hardcover, $27 (9780316466806); e-book, $13.99 (9780316466820).
REVIEW. First published January 1, 2018 (Booklist). Anderson doesn’t publish much, but when he does, it’s something to remember. This is his third novel about Officer Hanson, whose life pretty much parallels the author’s own: a tour in Vietnam (Sympathy for the Devil, 1987), followed by work as a patrol cop with the Portland, Oregon, police department (Night Dogs, 1996), a stint as an English professor, and then a return to policing, this time with the Oakland PD in the crack-ridden 1980s. Anderson picks up the story in Oakland, where Hanson is riding solo through the city’s meanest streets, earning grudging respect from the largely African American residents for his refusal to behave like every other cop and alienating his fellow officers for the same reason. The novel’s episodic structure follows Hanson on his beat, and in the accretion of incidents, Anderson shows just how hard it is to be a good cop, to put mediation before violence, to solve disputes rather than setting a flame to them. From night to night, four figures keep popping up, like themes in a fugue: a bike-riding teen called Weegee; his aunt, Libya, to whom Hanson is attracted; a drug kingpin who befriends Hanson and tries to hire him; and a black rabbit that may be real and may not. All four come together in a wrenching finale that functions almost cathartically for both Hanson and the reader, a release from the emotional tension that has been building throughout the story. It is perhaps the perfect time for an honest, realistic, unflinching portrayal of a good cop, and Anderson delivers just that. — Bill Ott