Picks and Pans Review: Lady Cop

updated 04/13/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/13/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Bryna Taubman

Similar to the 1978 best-seller Nurse, this is a slice of police life as lived in Manhattan by real Cagneys and Laceys. The four main characters are composites of policewomen whom the author observed for a year. Taubman, a longtime journalist, at times jars the narrative with passages of historical perspective, but, for the most part, this is a compelling blend of new and old journalism. All the women cope with sexism inside the department and also face the same revolving-door justice and isolation male cops experience. "It seems I'm always angry lately," admits one undercover woman struggling with burnout. Unlike TV cops, these officers rarely use force. "I've been on the job for 15 years, and I can think of maybe two times when brute strength made a difference," says one male cop. "I think women are more levelheaded. When someone really wants to fight, women are often able to calm them down. Men will aggravate them." Lady Cop portrays with admirable understanding the complex relationships between the women and men who inhabit that strange subculture inside the law. (Warner Books, $17.95)

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