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.