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Abuse of Power (1997)

by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg

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237183,156 (3)2
A woman officer blows the whistle on police abuse and her colleagues retaliate by making her life intolerable. Rachel Simmons of Oak Grove, California, a widow with two children, is sexually assaulted, her daughter's life is threatened, back-up units fail to respond and she is framed for drug dealing. By the author of Trial by Fire.… (more)

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I really debated how to rate this novel. The first half of the book is background information and set up for the event blurbed on the back cover. This was written in 1997, and admittedly, I'm not an expert on police procedures in the late 199os but there were so many glaring errors in police procedure that I was surprised to later read that the author had studied criminology. I didn't bond with any of the characters enough to care what happened to them. By the time I realized it wasn't going to get better, I was so far in that I just finished reading the book.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD (READ MORE AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION)
****
****

Rachel is a widow and mother to two children who chooses to become a police officer for the benefits the job offers as well as because she wants to help her community. Her children are quite different ages (a teen and a 3 year old). In one sense, I want to agree with the teen and wonder why Rachel had the second child if she wasn't going to be able to spend time with him. It does seem that Tracy (the teen) and Lucy (a neighbor) are more mothers to the boy than Rachel is.

Rachel faces sexual harassment at work--but who is she going to report it to? Her boss seems in on it. Then again, others on the same shift seem to face harassment, so . . . . You've got a master manipulator in Grant Cummings. He "helps" fellow officers out of jams and then uses that information to blackmail them into doing things his way. He's able to abuse people verbally, emotionally, and in some cases, physically.

Rachel doesn't want to lie so she tries to phrase her answers and reports in such a way that she's not telling a lie. The other officers see this as she's crossing the "blue line" and not supporting her fellow officers. They decide to teach her a lesson about cops not being there for other cops. As a result, Rachel is left to face off with a psychotic man alone in a house.

While I can't fault Rachel for wanting to wash up after being sprayed with the man's blood--she goes to a bathroom in the crime house to do so (can you say contamination of the scene?) and even when she sees the drug set up nearby and realizes the bathroom hides evidence, she still uses the sink in there to wash up (see above comment). All I could think of was a CSI episode where one of the new techs admits he used the bar's bathroom after he thought they were done processing the scene and being told how he broke procedure. If that was breaking procedure, this MUST BE a violation of procedure. Yet no one seems to comment on that--they're more worried about the money from that bathroom that's missing. Money they have only Rachel's word was there.

Rachel sleeps with one of the DAs--apparently with no real relationship there--though later her sister does develop a deeper relationship with the same man.

It's hard to respect a police force where pretty much everyone on the shift is corrupt or deliberately looking the other way. Harriman seems the only decent one on the shift. I'm still not convinced the chief wasn't looking the other way--though he puts up a good show to try to save his job once the shit hits the fan.

The ending was a bit of a let down. ( )
  JenniferRobb | Aug 20, 2019 |
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To Hoyt, Forrest Blake, Chessly, Steve, Beth, Michael, Irene, Pat, Alex and Roxanna, as well as Rachel, who I would never allow to become a police officer in these perilous times
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Seated on a bench outside Department 22 of the Ventura County Superior Court, the male police officer was dressed in his black regulation uniform.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A woman officer blows the whistle on police abuse and her colleagues retaliate by making her life intolerable. Rachel Simmons of Oak Grove, California, a widow with two children, is sexually assaulted, her daughter's life is threatened, back-up units fail to respond and she is framed for drug dealing. By the author of Trial by Fire.

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