New Lots, Brooklyn, is the second-to-last stop on the L train, and the absolute last stop in life for the residents of the New Lots projects. If there's a hell on earth, it's here, with a twenty-four-hour drug market, a terrifying warren of dark hallways and burnt-out apartments, infested with human vermin and ruled by a gang of killers. Not even the police will set foot in New Lots.
A war rages here, a war that will determine who controls it. Will it be the ruthless Muslim Security Company on a holy mission to clean out the complex? Or the vicious Blue-Tops crack gang determined to keep what's theirs? The shot, the beaten, the burned bodies begin to multiply much too rapidly, even by Brooklyn standards. The call goes out for the one man who can stop it, NYPD Detective First Grade, Loyd Shaw; a man who thinks he has nothing to lose, and the only man tough enough to brave it.
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The heavily symbolic, titular New Lots in John Clarkson's gripping crime novel is a public housing development in one of Brooklyn's worst neighborhoods, Brownsville--"most of which was nothing but long stretches of waste and rubble interrupted by structures that had collapsed under the weight of abuse and neglect and the final ravages of fire. The houses and apartments and commercial buildings still in use were so run down and decrepit that they seemed to be discarded versions of what the rest of the city used." New Lots is a scarred and profane territory of poverty, hopelessness, drugs, and whatever other depravity is the new lot in life for its unloved and unlucky inhabitants.
Two tribes are fighting for control of this ugly turf: the Blue-Tops, a gang of parasitical crack dealers who suck up the blood of the residents, and a Muslim outfit called MS-2, bonded in prison and bent on a show of power as a portent of things to come. A troubled veteran cop named Loyd Shaw, facing forced retirement without a pension if he refuses or fails, is brought in to settle the situation when it threatens a women's shelter run by Justine Burton, the daughter of the police commissioner. Shaw in turn assembles a squad of oddball specialists to take on two extremely smart, dedicated, and deadly gang leaders. Clarkson, a New York advertising executive, makes it all believable and fast-moving, as he did with such previous thrillers as And Justice for One, One Man's Law, and One Way Out. --Dick AdlerFrom Publishers Weekly:
Good-guy cops, bad-guy dope dealers and wannabe-good-guy black Muslims fight over a Brooklyn housing project in Clarkson's snappy latest (after And Justice for One). Loyd Shaw, a trigger-happy cop on the outs with his superiors, is an inch from losing his pension. To redeem himself, he has to drive Archie Reynolds and his crack-dealing Blue Tops gang out of the New Lots projects. Shaw gets to handpick his own crew from among other rogue (or almost rogue) cops, each of whom seems tailor-made for yesterday's action movie: a Chinese-American computer hacker; a tough Italian-American bigot; a smart, sharpshooting Jewish homosexual; a quiet, by-the-books African American. Why New Lots? Maybe it's the violent retaliations from Rachman Abdul X and his security force. Or maybe it's Justine Burton, the police commissioner's daughter, whose women's shelter is a Blue Tops target. Despite the hackneyed premise and stereotyped characters, the charming love story between black Burton and white Shaw?and the violent battles for control of New Lots?will satisfy readers looking for a fast, if predictable, cop thriller with sympathetic leads.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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