Hansen, a Vietnam vet who became a cop in Portland, Oregon, is barely in control of his own violent tendencies. The precinct he covers in the time frame of the book--the 70s--is becoming far more dangerous due to drugs and the increasing availability of guns within this war zone. Hansen is an effective cop, but more and more he is drawn into situations where his own need for violent action will get him into trouble. Now a colleague in the department is secretly checking on Hansen's war record, hoping to discredit him. There is plenty of cop action in this beautifully written novel, but above all it is a portrait of a man who will never put Vietnam behind him--the war is inside him.
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