1992 Best First Novel Edgar® Award Winner
Steven Baum is a young probation officer in New York City. Every day he deals with the whole spectrum of criminal life—crackheads, sex abusers, white-collar criminals—and tries to find something to salvage. Where anyone else would sensibly turn away, he pursues his dream of turning around the Ultimate Hopeless Case. Then he runs into Darryl King.
Darryl is a thug, a stone-cold killer, a hard core product of the urban underclass. Yet at the same time, he's also a confused and vulnerable young man. In his struggle to make a name for himself in the drug underworld, he runs into a major obstacle: his probation officer, Steve Baum.
Each represents for the other the testing point that will make or break him.
A Times Literary Supplement's International Book of the Year
"Searing... A real ace of a novel."
—The Associated Press
"Deft and witty... Blauner's prose is pounding and the narrative crackles at a jackhammer's pace."
—The New York Times Book Review
"Scary, violent and caustically funny... Unmistakably authentic..."
"Because Blauner tells the truth, his book is unforgettable."
—Patricia Highsmith, author of The Talented Mr. Ripley