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By Shepard Rifkin

Thirty-seven years old, single, former high school dropout, Damian McQuaid is a tough New York police lieutenant whose wit is as quick as his professional hunches. A member of the force for eleven years, he figures that he’s “probably the only guy on it who didn’t live in Queens.”

McQuaid is also his own man. So when Shimmy, a good friend, is robbed of $250,000 worth of diamonds and found slumped, very dead, in a Kennedy Airport phone booth, he knows he could never enjoy the vacation he was headed for until he finds the murderer. “Diamonds,” he admits early on, “didn’t mean anything to me except trouble.”

Shimmy never made it to Los Angeles, but McQuaid does. There he is given police courtesy and a partner named Freedman, a Jewish cop with a seen-it-all sarcasm. When the two of them begin to investigate the seamy world of big-money jewelry dealing and check out a fancy firm called Breckenridge, McQuaid not only gets his first important lead in the case, but meets a beautiful Breckenridge employee named Joan Roberts. The lady, however, turns out to be involved in stealing more than McQuaid’s heart—and McQuaid, in a chilling denouement, is forced to examine both his personal and professional values.

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