JUSTICE by Dan Mahoney


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The eighth, and funniest, police procedural from the retired NYPD captain (The Protectors, 2002, etc.).

Mahoney is something of an acquired taste. Instead of edgy action and intense explorations of a gritty urban landscape, he’s more likely to have his series’ heroes, worldly-wise NYPD Detective First Grade McKenna and his egotistical but extremely competent partner Cisco Sanchez, chow down with their cronies in atmospheric New York bars and restaurants where meandering conversations take the place of clue gathering. This said, Mahoney's strength is his vision of the NYPD and the city surrounding it as a maze of delicate, intimately personal relationships that are variously sordid, silly, craven, and sometimes so righteous you want to stand up and cheer. “Justice” here is the ironic pseudonym of a vigilante who is murdering the city’s drug-dealers in brutally humiliating ways (one pair of corpses is left in the ludicrous embrace of a set of life-sized sex dolls). Justice not only sends sarcastic accounts of his killings to a New York Post reporter, he provides clues for the NYPD to help clear other drug cases and makes the crooks’ ill-gotten millions appear in artfully arranged stacks of cash at a church, a synagogue, a cathedral, and a mosque. Though just about everyone agrees that the vigilante does more good than harm, Justice is still a murderer who sometimes tortures his victims to get information about their evil doings. It falls to McKenna and Sanchez, who suspect the vigilante might be one of their own, to bring Justice to justice. To make things even more complicated, McKenna discovers that Justice is trying to assist them in locating a crooked cop who helped a billionaire Colombian crime boss take over illicit drug distribution up and down the East Coast. In this winning but far-too-convoluted tale, McKenna and Sanchez call in favors, jump though hoops, tell white lies, and eat very well to bring a politically acceptable solution to a problem that nobody wants to solve.

A career peak.

Pub Date: Aug. 8th, 2003
ISBN: 0-312-30957-0
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2003


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