November 3, 2007
In KILLER COP, Nazel wrote a fast-paced but disappointing novel about Black Los Angeles police officer, James Rhodes. The plot had no real ending. It just stopped. In BLACK COP (Holloway House, 224 pages), Nazel shows that he can construct a tight plot that moves along with the pace of two trains speeding toward each other on the same tracks.
James Rhodes, a member of the narcotic squad of the Los Angeles police department, goes under cover in a Black neighborhood to find the boss who is responsible for the drugs flooding the neighborhood. He suspects that the police have been unable to catch the boss dealer because an informant in the department lets the dealers know when a raid is about to take place. Only his chief knows that Rhodes is undercover.
As in any thriller, Rhodes is threaten, beaten, knocked on the head, and beds two women, one of whom, Sue, becomes his girl friend. He, of course, also shows his toughness with his fist and his willingness to use the .350 magnum as he encounters a couple of would-be tough guys in a poolroom where, because of his ability to handle himself, he makes friends with Blackjack, the toughest dude in the room until Rhodes beats him in a fair fight. He soon learns from Blackjack and others that the boss dealer in the neighborhood is Bill Wilson. What he doesn’t know is that Wilson actually works for a white car dealer, Morrie Slater, who works for the syndicate. The train wreck involves Wilson moving to eliminate Slater and take over as the sole boss in the Black neighborhood and Rhodes and the informant in the police department all moving toward the climatic shootout.
BLACK COP is a better read than KILLER COP and will mildly entertain fans of police thrillers. The storytelling is conventional and the prose that of a writer of popular novels. As he did in KILLER COP, Nazel through the collective voice of the residents, describes the conditions in the Black communities of Los Angeles in the 1970s.