As newspapers continue to downsize, the crusading journalist is becoming a rare sight. But the fictional journalist who latches onto a story and won’t let go has found gainful employment in Brad Park’s highly entertaining series. The Good Cop continues the superior storytelling that Parks established in his first novel, Faces of the Gone, which won both the Shamus and the Nero Awards.
In The Good Cop, Newark, New Jersey Eagle-Examiner reporter Carter Ross follows the shooting of policeman Darius Kipps. Before any other media can organize, Carter interviews Noemi Kipps, the cop’s widow, and Mike Fusco, Kipp’s police partner, who both give him a good portrait of the late dedicated cop, devoted husband, and new father. But Carter is immediately pulled off the story when the police department maintains that the 37-year-old cop committed suicide in the shower at the Fourth Precinct station—the newspaper doesn’t cover suicides. Carter’s journalistic hackles are raised when Noemi and celebrity preacher Alvin LeRioux demand an investigation into the death and then, a couple days later, recant. Carter’s investigation has turned up no clear vision of Darius; some call him a dirty cop, others claim he was squeaky clean. Carter expands the scope of his reporting when another cop dies under similar circumstances. Carter follows the story to the streets of Newark and an unusual warehouse run by two brothers and a gang of teenagers who know everything that goes on in the neighborhood. Carter knows he is getting close to the truth when he is the target of a couple of inept drive-by shootings.
Parks infuses an in-depth view of newspapers and the thrill of chasing a good story into his fourth novel. The author shows how an ethical journalist can make a difference by exposing the truth. Parks’ skillful plotting delivers a well-balanced story that is high on tension and features superbly developed characters. Carter knows how to work his sources and manipulate his editors while juggling a sometimes messy personal life. Those of us who have worked in newsrooms will recognize Carter as a kindred spirit.