(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Detective Tony Scanlon responds to a murder-robbery call only to discover that one of the victims was Lieutenant Joe Gallagher, a popular fellow officer without an enemy in the world. As Scanlon and his crew of misfit cops begin their investigation, however, they discover Gallagher’s penchant for women and gambling which, if revealed to the press, could precipitate a scandal that the Department could ill afford. Scanlon, who lost a leg in the line of duty, owes his present position on the force to Gallagher. Therefore, as he untangles the web of kinky sex and gambling debts that Gallagher left behind, Scanlon’s desire is to protect the memory of his slain friend while bringing his murderer to justice, even if the justice is not exactly that of the law.

The search for the murderer takes Scanlon from a brothel in Greenpoint to the office of a plastic surgeon in Manhattan; and as he methodically pursues each lead, many of them false, he also pursues personal peace of mind and attempts to recover from the impotence that resulted from his amputation.

Caunitz, whose first novel, ONE POLICE PLAZA, was highly regarded, has written a second novel that again takes the reader into the heart of the New York City Police Department. Although SUSPECTS is not as flashy as its predecessor, it is more believable, a solid, fast-paced narrative of real police work whose readers will cheer the unorthodox investigation and means of bringing the criminals to justice. If Caunitz continues to write this well, he is going to develop a devoted following.