By 1972 Detroit had earned the title of Murder Capital of America. STRESS (Stop The Robberies, Enjoy Safe Streets) was supposed to change that. STRESS undercover police decoy units produced instant results. As in dead young black men, a black community more outraged and aggrieved than ever before, and a series of bloody shoot-outs that reached spectacular-and sometimes tragicomic-new heights. Into the middle of a cauldron of violence and extremism steps Charlie Battle, a bright young black cop and the nephew of a former pro-wrestler. Battle's job is to investigate a shooting by an out-of-uniform officer in a posh society mansion that left three men dead, one of whom, Battle is sure, was an innocent victim of circumstances. Hand-picked for the job, Battle knows he's been chosen to fail. But that doesn't stop him from trying. What he finds on the streets are guns, alienation, and a fugitive black revolutionary who has become so infamous the FBI will not touch him-even though he is on its most wanted list and even though the feds know exactly where he is. As the militant's foot soldiers plan to heist the daughter of one of Detroit's richest families, Battle is caught between armed black power and a police department that may be even more violent. He knows it's only a matter of where the shooting will erupt next and who it's going to kill.
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by Loren D. Estleman
"Detroit in 1972 is in transition from Motor City to Murder City. The police undercover unit STRESS (Stop the Robberies, Enjoy Safe Streets) inadvertently makes things worse, angering the black community and upping the violence level. Reader Ezra Knight, who is equally at home with Shakespeare or gritty dialogue, follows several plot lines and characters as diverse as socialites and black activists. His rich, expressive voice never loses control of the story, even as the cops lose control of the city. Major players like Charlie Battle, the bright, young, black cop trying to make a bad situation better, and minor ones like Mapes, a cabby witness, are brought to life with humor and sensitivity. There are plenty of light moments, but this is, in essence, a dark tale. J.G. (c) AudioFile 2002, Portland, Maine"
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