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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to the front lines of the war on drugs, June 27, 2005
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This review is from: A Shadow in the City: Confessions of an Undercover Drug Warrior (Hardcover)
Bowden's latest sheds light on a dark subject-the life and times of Joey O'Shay, a man who fought on the front lines of this thing we call the war on drugs for the past twenty-plus years. When I say dark, I mean dark.

I found myself closing the book to escape-to make sure the world of comfort I now inhabit was still there. But then I was drawn back for more, like some kid peering through fingers at a scary movie, wanting to see, yet not wanting to see, because I know that this is real: the people are real, the blood also, the deception, the lies, the callous disregard for life and family and love, and all those ruined lives, not the least of which is the life of Joey O'Shay.

Bowden digs deep into the mind of Mr. O'Shay and forces the reader to see things most would rather avoid-how those on the cutting edge of this war start out good-hearted, well-intentioned people and then are forced to commit evil acts or lose at the game. Each of these acts creates wounds to mind and soul until nothing is left but pain, scars, and awful spirits that torment a man who at his heart may be a good person.

Over time, O'Shay begins to doubt that what he does is effective or the cause just. Two problems: he is so damned good at his job and he knows nothing else. So he continues to fight this war with almost suicidal abandon. But he doesn't believe in suicide and he's either too good or too lucky to lose. He looks for death but death is not to be found. All around him, men he considers better than he fall, but the bullets aimed his direction miss the mark, his lies and deceptions go undiscovered and he is left to endure nights of pain, misery, and tortured dreams, dreams that he alone must bear.

Bowden is fearless in his excavation, going where most will not tread and the subject of the book is also to be commended for allowing us to see into this world, for he is in fact is the source of the information and also participated in the writing. My only regret is that he cannot reveal his true identity. I think the book will be even more powerful should he choose to do so.
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4.6 out of 5 stars (11 customer reviews)
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