An unlikely pair of cops forced into premature retirement team up against the hit men assigned to kill one of them, in NYPD specialist Daley's most serious dip yet into mainstream waters. Jack Dilger knows that rules are made to be broken. So when he goes after crooked art dealer Herbert Bulfinch, he doesn't let departmental regs, or the New York penal code, stop him from installing illegal wiretaps, tracing the links between Bulfinch and his latest client, aspiring collector/Colombian druglord Jorge Zaragon, or crashing Bulfinch's meeting with Zaragon and his kid brother Victoriano without a warrant. The result is a bloody shootout, done to a turn by Daley (Wall of Brass, 1994, etc.) that leaves two cops dead and our sullied hero on life support, with his higher-ups almost as mad as Victoriano Zaragon. Meantime, on the Riviera, financial inspector Madeleine Leclerq has been equally diligent and equally foolhardy in pursuing a money-laundering seam whose tentacles reach high up into the Nice local government. The more evidence Madeleine and her partners gather, the lower their stars sink on the horizon, and when in her frustration she talks out of school to a Paris Match reporter, she's exiled to a meaningless job with the Youth Brigade and given the gate by her live-in lawyer. All this background intrigue, which fills half the book, merely sets the stage for an extended High Noon finale, as Victoriano, under indictment and with Dilger the only surviving witness, comes after him--first via variously inept proxies, then in person--just as he's caught the eye of Madeleine. There'll be time for a decorative survey of the Mediterranean before the agreeably sardonic ending. Fleet and absorbing, though paradoxically more modest than some of Daley's genre pieces. Victoriano's presence turns out to be lucky for the characters, since without him they'd be denuded of the suspense situations that give them what substance they have.