"Every June 15th out at North Precinct, 'A' relief and graveyard shift started killing dogs. The police brass and local politicians only smiled if they were asked about it, shook their heads, and said it was just another one of those old myths about the precinct. The cops at North Precinct called them 'Night Dogs,' feral dogs, wild and half-wild, who roamed the districts after dark. Their ancestors had been pets, beaten and abandoned by their owners to breed and give birth on the streets." That's the stately, carefully weighted language and metaphor that begins what James Crumley (The Last Good Kiss) calls "the best cop novel I have ever read." Of course, the "night dogs" are not only the roaming canines but also the people from the rougher neighborhoods of Portland, Oregon--most particularly the police who work out of North Precinct. Seen through the eyes of a patrolman named Hanson, a Vietnam vet who thought he had seen the worst the world had to offer over there but is proved wrong every day, the story at first seems episodic, unconnected. But gradually all the threads of anger and pain come together to create an unforgettable picture of urban angst. Author Kent Anderson, who was a Vietnam vet and a Portland policeman in the 1970s, says that some readers might find his book disturbing or offensive: "The truth sometimes affects people that way." Then he adds a chilling footnote: "Things are much worse now than they were in 1975."
From Library Journal
It is 1975, and Vietnam veteran Hanson, the hero of Anderson's first novel, Sympathy for the Devil (1987), is a street cop in Portland, Oregon. Through a series of increasingly disorienting episodes, he dispenses rough justice and doubtful order in the toughest and most degraded parts of the city. The stresses in post-Vietnam American society and Hanson's difficulty in resolving his experiences in combat lead him through some disturbing rites, as for instance the annual North Precinct feral dog hunt, in which officers compete to run over strays with their patrol cars. Drugs, guns, sex, and all the usual attractions of youth call to Hanson; eventually, the death of a close friend and mentor impels him to make his peace with life. Anderson's vision is undeniably powerful, but the relentless violence and dark atmosphere will put off the squeamish. Recommended for large public libraries. [First published in 1996 in a limited edition by Dennis McMillan Publications, this novel is being given a full national distribution by Bantam.?Ed.]?Edwin B. Burgess, U.S. Army Combined Arms Research Lib., Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
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-?Edwin B. Burgess, U.S. Army Combined Arms Research Lib., Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
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