Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Restless Sleep: Inside New York City's Cold Case Squad

This nonfiction book takes a long look at the Cold Case Squad of the NYPD, the group that follows up on murders that were never solved when they were current events. How was it started? What kind of detective works these cases? How many are finally solved?

A sampling of cases are examined closely, including the murders of a young teen in 1988, a troubled wife from Alabama in 1951, a drug-dealer and his wife in 1996, and a policeman in 1977. Ultimately, one leads to a whole network of interconnected murders, one leads to the conviction of the four who did it, one points to a likely murderer but all the parties involved are dead or untraceable after 50 years, and one continues to be a maze of dead ends.

I found it interesting, but depressing. The operations of a police department, like the making of sausage, should not be examined too closely by the squeamish. The bureaucracy, the territorialism, and the human foibles of the police officers at every level leave me amazed that anything is resolved at all. But they keep on plugging away at these cold cold cases, so that a murderer won't continue to walk the streets and kill again, so the victim's families can find another increment of justice, so they can feel the satisfaction of knowing they didn't give up.

If it interests you, read it. You will learn something and you might like it. But once was enough for me.


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