(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Kristen Cates is a classic “good old girl” in the rural Texas tradition. Having excelled as a high school athlete in a parochial school, she is waiting tables until she can accumulate enough money to enroll in college full-time. Working all day and attending school at night can become a bit tiresome. Not surprisingly, she jumps at the chance to take advantage of affirmative action programs and join the local police department.

Soon after she completes her training, the department decides to take advantage of her relative anonymity. Kristen is placed undercover with a veteran officer to purchase prohibited substances on the streets. Unfortunately, those who would supply such items are aware of an alarming discrepancy in the administration of the American legal system as it pertains to narcotics. Those who consume such substances may not testify in court against those who sold them same without incurring penalties with respect to their own consumption. Accordingly, pushers routinely require new customers to partake of part of their purchase immediately--thereby theoretically compromising them.

In order to make the necessary arrests, therefore, undercover officers must flirt with addiction in an effort to establish their credibility. Moreover, they must consciously perjure themselves once their suspects are brought to trial. In other words, persons sworn to uphold the law must observe it more in the breach than in the practice. Those who would attempt such an approach discover that addiction is dangerously easy to acquire and extremely difficult to overcome.

A first novel, RUSH is obviously autobiographical to a degree beyond what is normally the case in such instances. Kim Wozencraft has constructed a compelling tale of chemical seduction and personal and psychological betrayal. Civil libertarians will be mightily offended by this work, likewise those who insist that the American legal system is a considerable barrier to the successful prosecution of the war against drugs. Actually, RUSH may be the most compelling evidence in support of the decriminalization of most substances now prohibited, for if men and women are driven to such extremes in support of a law, perhaps the law itself is questionable.