The Blue Dilemma
by Maurice A. Butler

"Officer Harris took one last swig of his drink, and in a drunken stupor, looked down at the gun sitting in his lap. Maybe it was his time to go, he thought."

The mean streets of a tough Washington D.C. neighborhood comprise the locale for this tale of police officers whose backgrounds are vastly different, as well as their motives for becoming cops. Yet they all share a desire to do their jobs in an honorable way that actually helps the community they serve. This novel, however, is no apology for how policing is carried out today. It doesn't shirk from the issue of rogue cops who dishonor their badges and their duty. In fact, it dramatizes several instances that show just how bad some police can be. Its bigger agenda, though, is to bring to life all the physical, mental, and emotional situations that can take their toll on even the most dedicated officers.

The intricate plot details the backstories that bring each of the principal players to where they eventually interact. There's a young woman raised in the very streets that she'll one day patrol. There's a young farm boy from the Midwest who goes from rural idealism to urban practicality. There's an ex-soldier who realizes his training in one discipline is good for another. Plus, there's a wily veteran who helps them all.

Author Butler does a first-rate job of dramatizing the challenges police officers face. He skillfully recreates scenes of murder, mayhem, drug use, prostitution, accidental carnage, and intentional violence that cops are exposed to every day. He's also proficient at letting the reader know not just what his characters see but also how they feel. This is a well-written novel that will pull readers in and keeps them hanging on to see who survives and who doesn't in one of America's toughest jobs.

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