Former police officer Kent Anderson, author of the memorable Vietnam War novel Sympathy for the Devil, returns with a powerful new novel about a Vietnam-vet cop who still carries the war inside himself. Searing and brutally honest, Night Dogs plunges us into the free-fire zones of our cities, where the legendary thin blue line is breaking down.
The North Precinct of Portland, Oregon, is home to two kinds of cops: sergeants and lieutenants who’ve screwed up somewhere else, and patrolmen who thrive on the action on the Avenue. Officer Hanson is the second kind, a veteran who has traded his Bronze Star for a badge. War is what Hanson knows, and in this battle for Portland’s meanest streets, he’s fighting not so much for the law as for his own code of justice.
Hanson is a man who seems to fear nothing–except his own memories. And it is his past that could destroy him now: An enemy in the department is determined to bring him down by digging into his war record and resurrecting the darkest agonies of that nightmare time. And Hanson himself risks everything–his career, his equilibrium, even his life–when the only other survivor of his Special Forces unit comes back into his life. Doc Dawson is a drug dealer and a killer…but he’s the one man Hanson can trust.
Night Dogs is an extraordinary work from a powerful and authentic voice in American fiction. Recoiling from the violence that Hanson deals with every day, the violence that is in Hanson, readers will also understand the compassion that drives him. A novel remarkable for its razor-sharp characterizations and dialogue, its freshness of observation, Night Dogs–and Hanson–will remain etched in the memory for a long time to come.
"The best cop novel I have ever read. There’s never been anything like it." –James Crumley
"Fiercely authentic and deeply disturbing…Extraordinary." —Los Angeles Times
"Anderson makes his mark in Wambaugh country with his eloquent, literary voice and an anguished, haunting sensibility. Many novels have been written about the lives of cops and soldiers, but few have probed the American propensity for violence as well as this one." —Publishers Weekly
"Night Dogs reads like Long Range Reconnaissance. If you come back alive, you’ll be different. That’s mastery." –Carsten Stroud
"Night Dogs is not just a fine book, it is an important book." –James Crumley
"Be warned–start Night Dogs before dinner, forget dinner, next comes glaring morning sunlight and muscle cramps. This is very good writing!" –Janwillem Van de Wetering
"Kent Anderson knows that wisdom is mourning." –A. A. Attanasio
"Every so often, you come across a crime novel that flat-out blows you away and restores your faith in the entire genre. Night Dogs… is one of those books. I think it’s the best novel I’ve read, period, in the last couple of years." –George P. Pelecanos