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Library Journal Review
Book 7 of Griffin's "Badge of Honor" series continues the saga of the Philadelphia Police Department, focusing once again on the Special Operations unit. Detective Matt Payne is sent to Harrisburg to gather evidence against a narcotics unit that is suspected of stealing from the very people whom they have arrested. Payne is also working with the FBI in its attempt to locate several terrorists who, in 1968, blew up a scientific laboratory, killing 11 people. While walking in the footsteps of law-enforcement officers, Griffin gives a clear picture of what it is like to be a police officer, how police officers think, how politicians bring pressure to bear on their actions, and how the justice system works. Everything Griffin writes immediately goes on the best sellers lists, mainly because he tells such richly detailed stories using a huge, engaging cast of characters who by this time will have become old friends to many readersand this book is no exception.Jo Ann Vicarel, Cleveland Heights-University Heights P.L., Ohio (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
The seventh in Griffin's cop-oriented Badge of Honor series (after The Murderers), this fast-paced, clever thriller puts wealthy, wisecracking Philadelphia detective Matt Payne in hot water up to his neck. As assistant to the head of the Special Operations Division of the Philly PD, young Matt, the department's golden boy, has never walked a beat, but the media love him for his quick-trigger work in dropping two murderers with a couple of snappy headshots. Matt's new case begins when a cop's widow fingers some dirty doings in a highly successful narc unit and, at the same time, the narcs earn the wrath of Philly's mob boss, Vincenzo Savarese (a grandfather who has not forgotten the importance of a woman's honor). In a side plot, Matt is assisting the FBI in its pursuit of an animal-rights terrorist group. "Assisting" means, in part, charming beautiful social workerand suspected terroristSusan Reynolds; before he knows it, Matt is tragically lovestruck and up to his handcuffs in stolen money and felony charges that could put him in jail. As usual in Griffin's police procedurals, there's more going on here than in a three-ringed circus. Even readers wearied by Griffin's other, rather plodding series (Brotherhood of War, about soldiers, and The Corps, about marines) will enjoy this intricate, witty, tightly wrapped tale of cops on the job. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
In a just literary world, Griffin's turgid manuscripts of men and guns would molder in a basement corner unread and unlamented. But, inexplicably, they appear between hard covers and, in the past, have ascended the best-seller lists. Whatever the explanation for Griffin's popularity, enumerating the points of sheer badness of this particular script will deter neither its publication nor its likely success. However, consider a few: glaring breaks in continuity such as the appearance of telephone answering machines and GM Suburbans in a story set in April 1968; with the murder of Martin Luther King in the background of a story set in a big northeastern city, no allusion--even for atmospherics' sake--to riots that erupted following that crime; and the absurdity of having the hero address a soon-to-be-bedded woman as "fair maiden." The bare-bones plot sends Griffin's cast of Philadelphia's finest after two criminal groups: bad apples in the narcotics squad and animal-rights terrorists. The two investigations come together in the person of Matt Payne, detective. At a high-society party, Payne falls for Susan Reynolds, a pretty, naive do-gooder. While tracking the money trail of the corrupt cops, Payne wheedles out of Reynolds admissions about her connections with the bombers. Plain old police work then rolls up all the bad guys, clearing the stage for the return of Griffin's stick figures in the inevitable sequel. Recommended only to meet demand. --Gilbert Taylor
Kirkus Book Review
The latest installment--and first hardcover--in the prodigious Griffin's Badge of Honor series on detectives in the Philadelphia police force. As in his several successful series on soldiers (including The Last Heroes, Vol. I of Men in War, 1997, and Line of Fire, Book V of The Corps, 1992), Griffin is particularly deft at catching the hierarchies of all-male societies, and the ways in which men school themselves for action. His protagonist here, Special Operations detective Matt Payne, shares with Griffin's other heroes an appetite for testing himself, a knack for getting into very dangerous situations, and a willingness to meet violence with violence. In this case, Payne is up against both a group of corrupt and lethal cops and a cabal of urban terrorists. Don't expect George V. Higgins, or even Christopher Newman here--while Griffin endows his Philadelphia setting with a terse authenticity, and his characters are distinct, if not remarkable, you won't find realistic chat, deep plumbings of character, or a detailed portrait of police politics. What you will find is a shrewdly paced plot, sharp, vivid action, and a rather mordant view of human nature. Not deep, but lively. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.