Location, location, location. Who wouldn’t think of ex-cop Artie Cohen (Hot Poppies, 1999, etc.) as a downtown kind of guy on hearing him wax rhapsodic over his loft—with views of Soho, Tribeca, and Nolita—as he sits on its rooftop nibbling smoked mozzarella with Lily Haines, his smart, hip, long-legged, red-haired ladylove, watching her adopted Chinese foundling splash adorably in her baby pool? But a call from Sonny Lippert, a pal from Artie’s days on the force, drags him ever upscale, first to tony Sutton Place, where self-exiled Brit Tommy Pascoe’s near-beheaded corpse is found floating in the exclusive pool of his exclusive co-op, then to a Brighton Beach nightspot, where rich Eurothugs flaunt their Versaced Natashas, and, finally, to bloody London—where, before her suicide, Tommy’s elegant widow Frankie assured him it would all end—racketing around the overdeveloped Thames riverfront with a staggering trail of corpses in his wake. Given the sexual discrimination of a coon hound and a gun fetish that would make Charlton Heston proud, Artie may be somebody’s idea of a hard-boiled hero, but his prose is strictly Velveeta. Would Philip Marlowe describe his case as “the geoplastic phase of those volcanoes . . . the lava that keeps coming at you, getting bigger, moving faster”?