Thrown-Away Child

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Neil Hockaday loves Ruby Flagg and she reciprocates the emotion. Yet, the honeymoon is over by half and the time has come for Neil to meet the in-laws. So, a very apprehensive Hockaday takes to the rails and heads for New Orleans, a trip made all the more soul-wracking by Hockaday’s recognition that he must decide if he is to remain a member of the New York Police Department. Of course, a visit to the city where care is an alien emotion is an experience in and of itself. It is also, for an interracial couple such as the Hockadays, the quintessential example of a culture that finds their union reprehensible. Moreover, Hockaday soon discovers an essential truth about law enforcement organizations everywhere: Despite all efforts to the contrary, a few bad apples will exist who make life difficult for the rest.

Nevertheless, despite his unofficial status (he has no status official or otherwise), Hockaday conducts an independent investigation to exonerate his wife’s cousin from a charge of murder. This task is made all the more difficult by a series of murders with obvious racist overtones. Fortunately, Hockaday discovers a New Orleans policeman who shares his particular commitment to the idea of justice over the strict interpretation of the whatever statutes apply to the circumstances under consideration.

The subtext in the previous work in this series, DEVIL’S HEAVEN (1995), involved Hockaday’s struggle to stay sober after a lifetime of alcoholism. In THROWN-AWAY CHILD, Adcock strives to delineate the special stress imposed on those who marry across a racial divide by the families of both. Adcock seldom pulls his punches and this semi-autobiographical work is no exception to the rule.