From Kirkus Reviews
Despite a few years of research and the promise of his own marauder-like name, Jackall has written an unremittingly wooden tale of drug-related mayhem. Jackall (Williams College; Moral Mazes, 1988) spent a few years with the NYPD, following a trail of murders across precincts in Manhattan, the Bronx, and the West Side Highway connecting the two boroughs. The detectives gradually uncover a single gang operating out of a heavily Dominican neighborhood in Manhattan's Washington Heights. The Red Top crew--enamored of Scarface and clavos, secret compartments for guns that line their fancy cars- -moves in and takes over the corner drug trade after murdering the local dealers. Jackall is on the scene as the worst offenders are themselves murdered or rounded up for trial, accused of murdering others, from competing dealers to an innocent college grad who made the mistake of passing a gang member on the highway. But this dramatic story is not well served by Jackall's dry style (it's clear why the police referred to him as ``the Professor''). He is ill at ease with police lingo, and his use of terms like ``pross,'' ``dissing,'' and ``two in the head'' can be grating. Clearly, Jackall has an intimate understanding of the complicated case against the Red Top gang, yet it is confused by the book's poor organization. A short speech by the sentencing judge crackles with the only real fury here about how thoroughly the gang has ruined the lives of everyone it touched. An academic, labyrinthine look at the terror gangs inflict on their neighbors and society. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
has a great deal to tell about the formation and operation of emerging "criminal enterprises." Moreover, and perhaps more important, this book is a fly-on-the-wall look at how the "forces of order" think and go about eradicating the opposition...Mr. Jackall is at his best when he fleshes out how police detectives single-mindedly overcame dead-end leads, sidestepped or neutralized competing units within the ranks of the police bureaucracy and parlayed fragments of accurate information to solve several particularly vicious pieces of Wild Cowboy handiwork...Anyone interested in the techniques of criminal investigation could not find a more comprehensive and readable primer than this book. (Alan Mass New York Law Journal
This book is a hard-driving, factual account of the Dominican drug trade and the havoc it wreaked in New York City, particularly in Washington Heights and the Bronx, along with the frustrated efforts of law enforcement officials to deal with it. (Bill Franz The Register
Jackall isn't afraid to draw conclusions and his story has an air of authenticity. This book makes a brutal and, for most readers, extremely foreign world seem discomfitingly close. (Publishers Weekly