Chicago P.I. Joe Kozmarski's story is a throwback to classic tough-guy private eye novels. Kozmarski is hard-drinking and hard-headed. It's him versus the world. With a little help from a couple of requisite women-who-love-the-bad-boys.
How low did Joe go? He was a police detective, and considering the number of corrupt cops in this book, he wasn't so bad. But he messed up because he had (and has) a problem with alcohol and drugs, so he was out of the police. He also feels responsible for the serious injury of a cop, one of his few friends from the old days.
Although he is innocent and, in fact, tried to prevent good cops from being shot by bad cops, Joe was held in isolation in jail for killing a cop and his name is mud. His only recourse is to play all sides against each other: the desperate police department, the gang using their credentials as police officers to commit illegal acts, and the warring neighborhood gangs.
Michael Wiley has won and been nominated for major awards, so it's astounding that his books have not been turned into paperbacks. As a matter of fact, his first two books in the series, "The Last Striptease" and "The Bad Kitty Lounge," are difficult to come by. Such is the puzzling state of publishing today.