Tony Lonto grew up a tough kid from the slums of an unnamed American city. He went into the Army, fought in Korea, returned to the city, joined the police force, and found himself assigned to a beat in the very neighborhood he worked to get away from.
A dozen years later, he is now a detective. But when anything happens in his old neighborhood, known as “the Strip,” Lonto is sent in because he knows who’s who and what’s what down there.
This book begins with the murder of a pimp, described by Johnson in gruesome detail. Lonto is sent to the Strip to investigate, and even though he is a guy from the neighborhood, no one will talk to him because he is a cop.
Making Lonto’s life more difficult is the newly appointed, lazy but politically connected, detective assigned to work with him.
The investigation is just getting underway when a second pimp is killed.
The killer is known from the beginning of the story. He is a young solider who acquired a taste for killing in Vietnam, and feels justified in murdering pimps.
Further complicating Lonto’s life is his girlfriend, Anna, a woman with a secret who seems to be stringing him along while he has dreams of marrying her and settling into an orderly suburban life.
Silver Street won the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award for Best First Novel.
(For more posts on books, head over to Todd Mason’s blog.)
(Also, check out my crime novel, Lyme Depot. Thanks.)