The book's anchor is a man named Ralph Ross, a Kentucky State Trooper involved in drug interdiction who was eventually thrown out of law enforcement and convicted for wiretapping. While Ross is just one of the primary characters in the book it is obvious that he is a major (if not the major) source of information and that the book strongly reflects his point of view.
The book implies a number of things without resolving the truth behind them. The Lexington, Kentucky police are strongly implied to be corrupt from the narcotics division all the way to the Chief of Police. Many of the criminals portrayed began their careers in the Lexington Narcotics Division. The book raises serious doubts about a Lexington Investigator John Bizzack; it never quite says he is corrupt and covering up crimes (including murder) for his former-police-now-criminal buddies, but it comes as close to the line as it can. BTW: Bizzack went on to be rather successful, publishing several police manuals and serving the last three governors as Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice Training.
There is also an interwoven, but never proven, theme of CIA involvement. This is the only point where the author and Mr. Ross seem to part ways. More than once she writes dubiously about how Ross isn't buying the connection. Nevertheless, she lays out a number of questions as to how the Kentucky organization was able to thrive and why it took the feds so long to crack it (if they ever actually did).
The hook here is the involvement of Kentucky Blue-Bloods. It's made more interesting by strong ties between Kentucky criminals and Las Vegas Mob types (an interesting thing to consider now that the new Kentucky governor is trying to legalize casinos). Peripherally, there is also the destruction of Governor John Y Brown Jr.'s presidential aspirations as his good friends are taken down and he's never quite proven to be involved in anything.
I was growing up in Lexington during the time that all this was taking place. I remember my Father's abiding belief that Lexington and, by implication, all of Kentucky was extremely corrupt. I remember my Grandfather sitting on an investigative grand-jury until his death. Grandpa was a taciturn man, who took his duty not discuss the investigation seriously. However, word in the family was that he'd said something to Grandma to the effect of "They may not have broken any laws, but they're all dirty." So, I'm not terribly surprised to read any of this.
Still, reading this book was like entering a Bizzaro World Kentucky. Concerned that the book is one-sided, I went looking for critiques and counter-points. I didn't find much. Barnes & Noble and Amazon had the normal gushing reviews, with only one dissent in Amazon:
Don't believe everything you read, April 17, 2005And that's all I could find, even after doing separate searches on both Yahoo! and Google.
By anon "anon"
Though some people might find this book to be exciting and sexy and intriguing, please don't consider it as truth. This book should have been labeled as Fictional, which is what it is. Sally should have interviewed people who really knew the details-maybe spoken to members of the families involved, instead of spouting lies and touting them as truths. As a member of one of the families in the book, I know what I am talking about, and it hurts me deeply the lies that were told, which I can verify, matter of factly, were false.
I did find one other thing that indicated the PD had been "cleaned up":
In 1990 . . . Walsh became Chief of Police. Walsh had never been involved in undercover work or narcotics investigations. He’d been a beat cop throughout his career, and was appointed Chief of Police to clean up the corruption within the department. After Walsh took office, many officers either retired or took jobs elsewhere, including David Shade and John Bizzack.So, hopefully, any problems there were at LexPD have been squared away. Although, I wonder if the State Police are still exiled from Lexington.
1 Book rating scale:
5: Touched by God - a work which makes Shakespeare look infantile
4: Amazing - Instantly began rereading it and quoting it to friends
3: Worth Every Penny - a solid, interesting read, inspiring some thought and discussion with people who share similar interests
2: I Paid For It So I Finished Reading It - Some interesting parts but if I lose the book I'm not buying another copy
1: Couldn't Force My Way Thru and Burnt the Book in order to consign it to the Hell it deserves.