The Protectors by Bernard DeLeo
Published July 24th, 2012 by RJ Parker Publishing
Banner and synopsis provided by the author.
Buy this book at: Amazon
Connor Bradwick and Ellie James enforce the law in one of the perennially most dangerous cities in the country: Oakland, CA. Bradwick snaps when he and James bust in on a kidnapping ring, enslaving children for pornography. He brutally executes the three kidnappers, stunning James. He sets up the scene to pass for self-defense with Ellie James cooperation. Their ruse succeeds, triggering a two cop crackdown on crime the city of Oakland’s leaders scurry to stop. Dedicated to end ‘look the other way’ crime suppression tactics, ending in destruction and death for the common people in Oakland, Bradwick and James decide it’s time to go on offense.
Connor explains it this way after they rescue the kidnapped children, “The kids made me start thinking about how I want folks to look at us. I don’t care anymore to visit someone to tell them we found the people who broke into their business or house and robbed them blind. I want them to wave at us from their house or business as we go by because we prevent the gangbangers, drug dealers and thugs from terrorizing them.”
The crime war takes on different meaning when they bust an MS-13 El Salvadoran gangster’s illegal alien processing center. Connor and Ellie run headlong into a corrupt politician on the gangster’s payroll, and the terrorists behind him. Soon, everyday crime fighting busts become a fond memory.
This is a case of “it’s not you, it’s me.” Except I’m not sure that’s accurate. Either this book just hit me in the midst of a slump and I didn’t like it but it’s an otherwise great book, or my mood was perfect for it but the book just wasn’t that great. I am not sure which it is, but I do know that it’s one of the two.
This was pitched to me as resembling a “buddy cop” drama and I was looking forward to that. On that front I was not disappointed. The interactions between Ellie and Connor were really great. I loved their banter. Even though I initially thought that surely real cops were occasionally serious and not joking around all the time, but I still enjoyed them. It made me laugh. I also was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked Connor. In the beginning, I hated him. He murdered three people in front of children and then asked them not to tell! Yes they were criminals, but do cops go around executing people now with no due process? I was prepared not to like Connor, but I ended up enjoying his character a lot. He was not quite the vigilante that he seemed at the beginning.
I was also prepared not to like Ellie either. Her first line was “Do I look fat?” I found myself rolling my eyes and thinking, great another one of THOSE stereotypical females. To a certain extent I still feel that way because she was frequently overly sensitive, too emotional, and irrational but I grew to like her. She has a good sense of humor and knows how to get a good dig at Connor’s expense.
Even the plot started to grow on me, though I don’t think I ever truly enjoyed it. This is where my biggest problem with the book lies. Books require that you suspend reality for a little bit for the sake of the story. This required me to just abandon reality completely and I didn’t like that. On every page I had a hard time taking it seriously. I don’t care what dangerous city you’re in, you are NOT tasing, shooting, or macing people on every call! I have been to the “bad” parts of Oakland (where this is set), and seen cops on calls and never seen a gun drawn once. I also had a hard time believing that a police Sargeant would say “Yeah sure, make arrests on your off time, no big deal! It’ll be great actually!” Um, nope I can’t get there either. And if all cops have this many anger management issues, I might want to rethink calling 911. So that got to me a lot. Good for the story but not good for me. So if you are a fan of cop drama type books then give this one a try, you might like it more than I did. This book does have its merits and I enjoyed a lot of it! But if you are reading my review and nodding your head and thinking “she makes a lot of good points” then perhaps this isn’t the book for you.
Many thanks to the author, who provided me a copy of this book and a spot on the blog tour! The book was provided in exchange for an honest review.