David Corbett. Done for a Dime (2003) 356 pp.
In Rio Mirada, a rough town north of San Francisco, a legendary black
saxophonist named Raymond “Strong” Carlisle is shot dead in front of his
home. Lead detective Dennis Murchison and his racist partner, Jerry Stluka,
figure it’s the tragic result of a nightclub fight Carlisle had provoked
the evening before. They have two suspects: a local gang member working
for a drug dealer and Carlisle’s own son, who is also a musician and whose
white girlfriend witnessed the murder, but is too traumatized to remember
anything. Tensions are high between the police, the residents, and the
gangs; they reach the boiling point when a real-estate mogul orchestrates
a giant fire in the neighborhood, which he hopes will drive the predominantly
black residents elsewhere and clear the way for his development scheme.