Saturday, November 13, 2010

Naked Cruelty-Colleen McCullough

Naked Cruelty
Colleen McCullough
Simon and Schuster, Dec 28 2010, $26.00
ISBN: 9781439178317

In 1968 in Holloman, Connecticut, a masked man grabs Maggie Desmond in her apartment; he rapes her repeatedly. When he completes his sodomizing of Maggie, the rapist warns her not to go to the police; if she disobeys he will kill her. Frightened yet not intimidated by the beast, she talks to a senior police officer at the hospital. Captain Carmine Delmonico leads the investigation into a vicious serial rapist whose victims have been so afraid they refuse to speak to anyone, but now he has the first courageous victim talking to the cops about the “dodo” who assaulted her.

Someone vandalizes the Glass Teddy Bear Shop in the Busquash Mall, but does not steal anything. At Taft High School, a cache of weapons are found by a splinter group of the Black Brigade who thinks the Black People’s Power is not into violence, which is the only way Blacks can achieve equality. Carmine’s Lieutenant Corey Marshall ignores his subordinates’ verbal and written reports that there are more weapons stashed somewhere in the school while trainee Helen MacIntosh, daughter of the president of Chubb University, believes she runs the unit. With issues at home, Carmine faces tsuris 24/7.

The latest Delmonico historical police procedural (see On, Off and Too Many Murders) provides readers with what went on inside a New England precinct during the tumultuous late 1960s. Carmine is an honest cop who expects the same ethical behavior from those who work for him; when he finds someone who fails to attain and maintain his standard, he scrutinizes their every move to improve their standard of conduct and performance. He has so many issues at the station (and at home), he delays his look at the information provided by Maggie until late in the story line; thus adding realism to a strong 1968 investigative thriller.

Harriet Klausner

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