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Citycide: A Danny Cavanaugh Mystery

Gary Hardwick
HardBooks Publishing
246 pages
Reviewed by Fe'Dricka M. Moore

TAGS: Gary Hardwick, Detroit, murder, political corruption


Acclaimed director, screenwriter, and author Gary Hardwick continues the crime-fighting saga of Detective Danny Cavanaugh in his latest book, Citycide. Cavanaugh, an Irish cop who grew up in the mean streets of Detroit, is the tough, street-smart protagonist from the Color of Justice and Supreme Justice novels. In this novel, Cavanaugh is assigned a murder case that leads him to a power-struggle conspiracy that rocks his beloved city.

Rashindah Watson was a young prostitute with a mysterious plan to get out of this city and on to a better life; a plan she shared with her trusted friend and witness, Quentin, on the night she was brutally murdered by an unknown assassin. Quentin’s life was spared but he tried to disappear, only to be later killed by an associate of the unknown assassin. Cavanaugh and his partner, Erik Brown, are assigned this murder case. Initially, they treated this case in an atypical manner until they later discovered text messages connecting Watson to the new mayor of Detroit, D’Andre Patterson.

Already recovering from an unrelated scandal, Mayor Patterson is a well-connected, smart, young, married, yet arrogant politician who is now thrust again into the embarrassing limelight for his sexual escapades with Watson. Patterson attempted to flex his political muscles to slow the criminal investigation led by Cavanaugh, but Cavanaugh was determined to find the killer. Through a series of local encounters with street dealers, dubious suspects, Patterson’s loyal allies in the police department, the District Attorney’s office, and his super-lawyer best friend Marshall Jackson – who will be defending Patterson in the upcoming criminal case, Cavanaugh further uncovers more evidences to solve this conspicuous case. Consequently, Cavanaugh and his family’s lives are placed in danger as he closes in on the killer. Nevertheless, Cavanaugh presses on forward, discovering Watson’s mysterious plan which led him to not only the killer, but also the political crackdown that saved his city.

The novel was divided into three parts to help with the story’s transitions.  Hardwick provided sufficient descriptions of the major and minor characters; the suspenseful plot; the gritty settings of inner city Detroit and the local power structures; and themes of friendship, family, loyalty, honor, and justice. This reviewer recognized the importance of establishing Cavanaugh as one who respects the codes of the streets, while pursuing justice and not losing himself in this power struggle. With the support of his family and friends, even during times when their relationships and lives were tested, Cavanaugh’s bravado and no-nonsense approach in fighting crime makes him a likeable hero. Overall, this reviewer found the novel to be entertaining, thrilling, puzzling, and full of surprises. However, the the pace toward the end of the story was lagging , especially in chapter 25. Nevertheless, if you are looking for an urban mystery thriller with intense political drama, colorful characters, and action-packed excitement, this reviewer recommends Citycide.


Fe’Dricka Moore is an educator, freelancer, community servant, and a Black cultural enthusiast.  She enjoys listening to music, surfing the Internet, writing, traveling, participating in community service activities, and engaging in socio-political discussions concerning the African Diaspora. She currently resides in the New Orleans area.

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