New York City: from 1937 to the 1970s, the NYPD owned the streets, and the Irish owned the NYPD. Officers ruled their beat, fighting crime the way they wanted, and bending the law to take what they could. There was only one rule: look after your own.
When Sergeant Brian O'Malley's prostitute lover pushed him out of a window, his friends in the police cover up the details and give him a hero's funeral. His eldest son is encouraged to join the boys in the force, but as he rises the ranks he realises that all favours must be repaid, whatever the repercussions.
Uhnak was herself a detective for the New York City Transit Police Department. She first hit headlines when she was decorated for bravery after arresting a much larger armed robber. She went on to win $125 on a television quiz, which she gave to the man's pregnant wife. She resigned after 14 years to complete a degree and write fiction. Her debut Bait won the 1968 Edgar Award for best crime novel. She went on to become a hugely popular bestselling novelist. She died from a self-administered drug overdose in July 2006.