The latest in the Karp-Ciampi series, Without Fear or Favor, by Robert Tanenbaum, is a seat of your pants thriller ripped from today’s most sensational headlines.The City is rife with stoked anger, and racial violence. The new cast of characters include race-baiting ministers, self-interested journalists, do-gooder white limousine-liberal defense attorneys, frightened witnesses, and racist cops out to take justice into their own hands. They join with the familiar courthouse characters, New York City’s homeless (the Mole people), the stressed out district attorney’s office, hero police officers, and Marlene Ciampi, well being the Marlene we all love.
Into the City’s volatile tensions enters a sociopathic loser who found a way to make himself into more than an excon, guilty of murder and rape. He decides to refashion himself into a modern day revolutionary. Only he isn’t the sit-in, political march, sloganeering type. He is a violent, deranged psychopath.
The story begins when a young New York City police officer, father of two with a baby on the way, is trying to engage with the teens on his beat by playing basketball. It is called community policing. Getting to know the people on your beat. Let them see that the police are their friends, and not the enemy. The officer takes this part of his job very seriously. He hopes to make some head way with the young people from the neighborhood, in order to build trust and let them know he is there to protect, not harm them.
But there are evil winds taking shape in the neighborhood. Chaos and hate have reared their ugly heads and PO Tony Cippio becomes their latest victim. Gunned down in an assassination, that has become too common in our society lately, Butch Karp is tasked in making certain that the murderer is put away for his crime. But there is also another murder he has to deal with, the killing of an unarmed black teenager by a police officer. But sadly in the latter case, not everything is at it seems, or as those who would benefit from a volatile chaotic unbalance City would have everyone believe. Balancing the two cases Karp is responsible for keeping the City from exploding, while he searches for the truth.
The upshot is that there is more at play here than the execution of a policeofficer, and the murder of an innocent black teen. The two cases are related, and it is up to Karp to make the connection for a jury. It is up to Karp to show how evil can manipulate the innocent, and destroy people’s lives.
Best known for his engaging and exhilarating court room scenes, Tanenbaum does not disappoint. Using deft, and skillful tactics, Karp lays out his case to a jury that leaves no doubt as to the events surrounding both murders. Everything comes to a head in a pulse pounding courtroom showdown. Justice is finally done, in more than one way.
The book is available August 15.