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by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg
Signet, November 1997
448 pages
ISBN: 0451180062

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Abuse of Power is one of Nancy Taylor Rosenbergís most powerful and thought-provoking novels she has ever written. It is deserving of all the praise it can get. The author uses her knowledge working as a probation officer in Dallas to create strong female characters that have been wronged by the system and are forced to go outside the law in order to get justice. In this book the main character is Rachel Simmons, a police officer who will expose corruption in her division at a great personal expense.

Rachel is a single mother working two jobs trying to make ends meet. Life has not been going well for her ever since her husband passed away from cancer leaving unpaid hospital bills. Rachelís thirteen-year-old daughter Tracy has been raising her three-year-old brother, Joe during her motherís absence due to her job. Things were fine at first, but it is now causing a strain between mother and daughter that needs to be fixed. She wants to improve her life situation with her family but it will be a long road ahead before things start to get better.

One day while working patrol, Officer Simmons performs a rookie mistake that could cost her her job. Officer Grant Cummings comes to the rescue by tampering with evidence. Rachel is shocked about it but does not speak up, afraid to confess her incompetence. Grant then blackmails Rachel to come to the end-of-shift beach party where the cops relax and let loose. At that event Rachel is drugged and sexually assaulted. She is not going to take it anymore and she is going to do what is right. She will be ridiculed by her fellow officers and placed in extreme situations without back up. She will then be accused of a crime she did not commit and her childrenís lives will be threatened. Rachel will have to give up everything she believes in and trust her instincts and her family. By the end of the bookís shocking conclusion, Rachel will find true happiness in what she has done and making a difference in her police department. Her contribution will never be forgotten.

Rosenbergís strength in this novel is in its character developments. Rachel Simmons is a real person facing real problems and temptations. She is not a superwoman. She is a troubled mother who wants to do what is best for herself and her children not knowing how to do it. This book shows the worse of the most corrupt cops. One can only hope that the fictional California town of Oak Grove does not serve as a current model with todayís police. This novel is a powerhouse of a novel and has my highest possible recommendation.

Reviewed by Angel L. Soto, November 2002

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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