Tuesday, April 1, 2014

THE GOOD COP by Brad Parks






Brad Parks' The Good Cop is humorous and macabre.

The macabre part is an illegal after-hours romp through the Newark, New Jersey, morgue to look at a body. That's one portion of the humorous part too.

His editor assigns Newark Eagle-Examiner investigative reporter Carter Ross to cover the alleged suicide of a good cop.

The mystery in the story has to do with whether the good cop was really a good cop. If so, why did he get drunk and commit suicide?

The good cop's wife tells Ross how ethical her husband was, how he stuck to the rules no matter what. And even her minister, a mega-church sleazeball pastor, defends the cop.

The minister calls a press conference. He promises to stir things up big time. Then the minister drops the whole matter and exonerates the Newark Police Department. Why?

When the good cop's partner commits suicide, the plot thickens, and the story goes from there.

I take it that these stories are well-known.

I came across this book through a blog. The book had won awards. The author is an award-winning writer.

One thing interested me especially—Parks' description of the newspaper business. Carter Ross talks about the difference between writing for the “dead tree” version of the Eagle-Examiner and the newspaper's website.

Careful editors still oversee the dead tree version. Ross believes the dead tree version is a dying form. When he writes for the Internet site, he has looser rules.

The Good Cop is a quick read, an enjoyable book. Newark's characters (including a man who sells new merchandise he as stolen using warranties) all play a part.

Ross beds a couple of his female cohorts, and overall, the book just reads along.

Sometimes I think I'm way behind in the “books everybody has read” category. It was nice to catch up a little with The Good Cop.

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SOME QUOTATIONS FROM THE GOOD COP--

That, of course, was the reaction of most editors to a big story. Gather up your reporters—they sometimes referred to us as “resources” so we wouldn't be confused with human beings—and then figure out what to do with us later.
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You have to know what flavor of ice cream you are in this world, and I am vanilla.
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One of the fundamental things I believe as a writer is that words have power to move people. They can make us feel angry or hateful or sad, sure. But they can also uplift us. They can provide hope. They can even comfort the grieving.
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I always get a kick out of white people who complain that blacks are “obsessed” with race and talk about it too much. If those white people could, just once, walk into a room like this, where suddenly they were the Other Race, they'd understand the “obsession” a little better.
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...if there's one thing working in the hood has taught me, it was to never underestimate a single mom.
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“Okay, but let's leave the politics out of this for a second--"

“This is New Jersey,” Hilfiker said. “You can never leave politics out of it.”
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“Well, then, who are you?”

“Carter Ross, agent of Satan,” I said, smiling.
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I felt my hands and legs being fastened by strips of plastic. After a lifetime of never once being handcuffed, it had now happened to me twice in one day. Suddenly I knew what it was like to be a character in Fifty Shades of Grey. 

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