Police blue runs deep in Ray Weiss's blood. His grandfather was a cop, and his father's dedication to the Job always seemed to come before his family. So it's no surprise that Ray would want to join the Chicago PD—not just to follow in his father's footsteps, but to prove that he's worthy of it.
Right now, though, he's just a "boot"—a rookie—and the person he has to prove himself to is his training officer, Jack Fiore. For Jack, loyalty to one's fellow cops is the only code that matters, and proving that loyalty is Ray's final test. All Ray has to do is help Jack break into a local jewelry store, steal a few pieces—and keep his mouth shut.
But when Ray stumbles across the store-owner's corpse in the course of the robbery, he finds himself caught between Jack's code and his own conscience. The lead suspect in the murder has a few too many ties to Jack, and Ray has a few too many suspicions for Jack's liking. As Ray's fellow trainees close ranks around Jack and an aggressive young detective begins poking holes in the "official story," Ray faces a choice: to join in the coverup, or to pursue the truth—wherever it may lead.
"Solidly written coming-of-age tale with an endearing and believable hero."
—Kirkus, starred review
"... a whirlwind of double-crosses, illegal immigration and cover-ups... (a) genuinely intriguing story (that) leaves no time for impatience or disengagement."
"Schwegel skillfully tightens the plot screws that force Ray Weiss to develop his own code of ethics.... she also has fun riding with the cops through the best and worst of Chicago's neighborhoods."
—New York Times
"Schwegel spins a taut and muscular tale that explores the dark side of law enforcement. The cast is convincing, the suspense is unrelenting, the result is top-flight entertainment."
—San Diego Union Tribune
"Schwegel pulls off the 'what's real?' plot perfectly. That's because she builds great characters who seem honestly engaged with practices that are, to say the least, questionable. There's enough nuance and depth to make us wince and hope they wake up before the final paragraph."
—Toronto Globe and Mail
Minotaur Books, hardcover, December 2006, ISBN: 9780312343163
Minotaur Books, mass market paperback, October 2007, ISBN: 9780312947644
Minotaur Books, ebook, April 2010