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Given the Crime

Anne Beame Rudman and Charles Dennis
Pocket, 1998. 320pp
ISBN: 0-671-00151-5

review by Harriet Klausner

Garbage disposal is a multi-million dollar a year business in the Big Apple. The natural assumption to be drawn from this profit making venture is that there must be many indepedent entrepeneurs carving out a piece of the action. The Yellow Pages substantiate that theory. However, every listed company works under the umbrella of the Gotham Waste Removal Association (GWRA), a front for the Mafia, who believe in maintaining a monopoly by any means at their disposal.

Susan Givens, the head of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Asset Forfeiture Unit, has enough on her plate without trying to clean up the mob. Her personal life is in shambles. The man she loves disappeared over eight months ago. Her spouse, who she has tried to throw out of her life, is spying on her. Even though her case load is full, her boss wants her to prove that the GWRA has committed criminal activities. While being taken hostage by a john who killed a prostitute, Susan learns that he has information to sweep the mob out of the refuse business. She manages to get the man placed into the Witness Protection Program, leaving her to think that it is over. However, the danger to Susan has just begun.

The female protagonist of Given the Crimeis a spunky person, who bravely copes with a difficult job, a crazy husband, and raising two daughters. At times the story line is satirical, allowing the audience to accept coincidences and circumstances that, if taken as serious, would be considered far fetched. Because of this refreshing tongue-in-cheek approach, Rudman and Dennis make a welcome addition to the legal procedural sub-genre.

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