Ryne Lanark is a Chicago cop with a hidden agenda. Before joining the force, he was an acclaimed actor until his family was slaughtered by street punks during a New Years Eve thrill-kill session. The murderers were never caught, and Ryne made revenge his life’s mission. Rather than going full-on vigilante, Ryne joined the police and worked his way up to Lieutenant where he regularly goes undercover as a “decoy” to catch and abuse violent criminals.
Ryne doesn’t play well with other cops. Attempts to foist a partner upon him generally end in fistfights or worse. After being sent to Precinct 13 - the last-chance stop for screw-up cops - he is assigned his first female partner, a young looker named Shannon. Over time, the relationship takes the exact story arc you’d expect in a 1980s police procedural.
Meanwhile, the White Glove Murderer is menacing Chicago by raping, surgically disfiguring, and murdering victims. The crimes are particularly gruesome and graphic - even by fictional serial killer standards. As you’d expect, Ryne wants a piece of the investigation. Again, the case follows precisely the story arc you’d expect. It’s not bad, but it also lacks the fun, over-the-top pulpiness that Pinnacle Books delivered to readers a decade earlier.
Mostly, I liked Decoy. It was a well-crafted police procedural mystery with two interesting lead characters. Walker was a fine, if workmanlike, writer 30 years ago capable of delivering a paperback consistent with late-1980s cop-action standards. If that sounds like your thing, you’ll dig this book. I’m probably more at home in the world of 1950s and 1960s crime fiction, but I enjoyed this detour to 1989 well enough. Recommended.
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