Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Publisher: William Morrow/ Harper Collins
Release Date: July 2003
ISBN: 0060188987
Format Reviewed: Hardback
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Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Reviewed: 2003
Reviewer: Susan McBride

Reviewer Notes: Strong Language

Reviewer Susan McBride is the author of "Overkill."

Four to Midnight
By Scott Flander

     Four to Midnight is the second police procedural by Scott Flander, a reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News, and it starts off with a bang as two white cops are accused of beating up a city councilman named Sonny Knight, "The most powerful black man in Philadelphia." The incident follows another racially charged battle between the black community and the police involving the trial of a college professor arrested for murdering a white cop. With tensions already high, Sergeant Eddie North knows he's got to handle things carefully. He tells his cops, Mutt and Roy, not to talk to anyone but their attorney, and he avoids the press like the plague. But Councilman Knight is all too eager to tell his story to anyone who'll listen.

     Mutt and Roy swear that they found Knight already bloodied and unconscious on the road beside his Mercedes, and Eddie wants to believe that they had nothing to do with the crime. When no one will listen and even Internal Affairs doesn't seem to be looking in any other direction but at Mutt and Roy, Eddie starts to investigate on his own, and finds more worms under the rocks than he bargained for.

     Interestingly enough, in a novel that focuses on color--particularly black and white--there is a lot of gray area explored, as Eddie finds that bad guys come in all shades and good guys aren't always so good. I liked the sense of feeling off-balance and of not being sure which characters I could trust. Four to Midnight didn't end quite as strongly as it started, and I would've like to have seen more conflict between the cops and the councilman. Still, it was an engaging read for the most part and should satisfy fans of police procedurals.

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