THE HONOR FARM by John Westermann


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 A whodunit with a twist--instead of going undercover on the mean streets and leafy suburban lanes of New York's Nassau County (as he did in Exit Wounds, 1990), Patrol Officer Orin Boyd goes to jail to learn whether the prison-cell death of Police Commissioner David Trimble's son was a suicide or murder. And what a jail it is. Nicknamed the Honor Farm, the Nassau Country Correctional Facility at Sands Point is a former Gold Coast mansion that provides cushy containment for convicted police. With the exception of occasional shifts in the prison's slaughterhouse and a rare round of janitorial chores, the Honor Farm offers an almost comical regimen of nonstop rest and recreation for 20 crooked cops, many of whom know (and hate) Orin Boyd. And now is their chance to do something about it. As soon as the gates squeak shut on Boyd, who's agreed to be arrested and sent there as a cover for his investigation, his family finances are wiped out by a computer-hacking con who's chummy with some cops whom Boyd once arrested. Tommy Cotton, a corrupt senator Boyd humiliated during a traffic stop, tries to have Boyd beaten up. A creepy con named Harmless George goes after Boyd's wife, June, and another group of cons secretly launches a scam to buy the Farm. After one more apparent suicide, it's difficult to tell the schemers from the scammed as Boyd, a proud Vietnam vet blessed with equal helpings of brains and brawn, takes on all comers, uncovering a sad truth about crooked cops and the people who bend them to their will. A wry, street-smart, bare-knuckles, behind-bars brawl that bears up under a thick plot and a large cast of dirty denizens. Fans of the police procedurals of early Wambaugh and late McBain will delight in the gruff sensibilities of Westermann's heroes and the unregenerate sleaziness of his villains.

Pub Date: Nov. 12th, 1996
ISBN: 0-671-87122-6
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Pocket
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1996


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