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Without Fear or Favor

Review

Without Fear or Favor

In the Prologue to WITHOUT FEAR OR FAVOR, Roger ("Butch") Karp, New York County's District Attorney, holds a news conference. The crowd expects him to relay the information that Officer Bryce Kim, who shot a black teenager, is going to be indicted and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But they are sorely inflamed when he tells them that nothing is going to happen until an investigation has been completed. The decision reached will be done "according to the rule of law, and without fear or favor to either party, which every citizen has the right to expect from the County of New York's District Attorney's Office.”

"Television correspondent Pete Vansand groaned as his driver turned onto Centre Street and they saw the seething crowd in front of the Criminal Courts Building. Both sides of the street swarmed with agitated people, as if someone had stirred up an ants' nest in Lower Manhattan." Butch Karp is then shot. Thanks to a bulletproof vest, he is not killed. A month later, a race war is taking over the streets of Harlem.

"WITHOUT FEAR OR FAVOR is yet another page-turning and heart-pounding installment in Robert K. Tanenbaum’s long-running legal thriller series. May book #30 be here sooner rather than later!"

A young white cop named Tony Cippio is shot in cold blood after shooting hoops with some neighborhood kids. They are in shock and too scared to tell anyone what they have witnessed. A self-proclaimed "leader" of a militant group greedily grabs the credit for the murder. He calls himself “Nat X” after Nat Turner and Malcolm X, both revolutionaries and activists in their time. "But there’s something more than a call for justice at work here: a plot to bring down the city’s police force through a conspiracy so vast and malicious only Butch Karp and his band of truth-seekers can untangle it."

They go to trial against the arrogant and self-important Anthony Johnson, who shot Cippio. Karp has few fears about him and his attorney, Margarite Nash, a "grandstander" who plays to the jury's weaknesses as human beings and is not the seasoned and stalwart lawyer that Karp is.

One of the witnesses for the defense, a specialist in studying racism as a career, states, “The statistics don’t lie… Racism is a sad historical fact in our culture and perpetuated by our institutions, especially the police." Feldinghaus goes on to say that white men are less in danger of being killed by cops than are black men, especially young black men: "...five times more than can be explained by anything except institutionalized racism in the law enforcement community."

When Karp has his turn to question Feldinghaus, he uses statistics too. But his numbers reflect the number of crimes committed by blacks in their own communities as well as outside it. And Feldinghaus isn't quite so self-assured anymore. Karp goes on to ask him if he and his colleagues are responsible for making the dangerous job of being a policeman even more dangerous with the proposals they make. When push comes to shove in his cross-examination, Karp ends on a high note, taking the witness down with these words: "This is a search for the truth and, frankly, that's something you can't handle."

WITHOUT FEAR OR FAVOR is yet another page-turning and heart-pounding installment in Robert K. Tanenbaum’s long-running legal thriller series. May book #30 be here sooner rather than later!

Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum on September 8, 2017

Without Fear or Favor
by Robert K. Tanenbaum

  • Publication Date: August 15, 2017
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books
  • ISBN-10: 1476793220
  • ISBN-13: 9781476793221