Monday, March 05, 2018

'Da Force'

The friends finished Don Winslow's 'The Force' (2017) and passed it on to us. Set in Manhattan, this is all about the New York Police Department. NYPD. Police privileges, drug cartels, turf wars, grey areas, racial prejudices, and all. It reads like a television drama series. Good cop? Bad cop? That line is blurred. (Reviews here, here, here and here.)

Flawed protagonist Detective Dennis John Malone. He has been with the NYPD for 18 years, working his way up to the elite 'Manhattan North Special Task Force', simply known as 'Da Force'. He's arrogant, contemptuous and corrupt. He leads two lives. A seemingly ordinary family life with his white wife Sheila and children in a house on Staten Island. He also has a black girlfriend Claudette living in Harlem who's a nurse and loves jazz and heroin.

Heroin does everybody in. Everyone double-crosses the other. Police officers rob drug dealers and then put the dope back on the streets to sell. People shoot each other out, cops and gangsters alike. Crooked cops are also killers. You can't tell who's right no more. Malone is arrested and indicted, then released in a strange deal. His brothers-in-crime, Russo and Monty are tagged too, and the whole web unravels, all the way to the attorney-general's office, the police commissioner and the mayor. Deals are made, dishonored and blackmailed, in the name of justice. Of course Malone's two women ultimately meet in a hospital emergency room when shit went down, and in the end, no woman was there for him or with him. It was a surprisingly decent read. This story could be made into a Netflix mini-series. Hahaha.

He couldn't imagine then that those streets could wear him down, that the Job could wear him out, that the sorrow and anger, the bodies, the heartbreak, the suffering, the foolishness, the cynicism would grind on his soul like a stone on steel, dulling not sharpening, leaving nicks and invisible, insidious cracks that would spread until the steel first broke and then shattered, until he understood what killed his father and left his blue coat draped across the dirty snow and Billy O lying on the floor strewn with dirty cash, his body and blood corrupted. 
Malone's soul started shiny as his new shield, darkened as it changed into gold and now is black as night. 

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