A sinewy thriller that's no doubt a kickoff--a steel-toed one- -to a new NYPD series by Solomita, whose Stanley Moodrow novels (A Piece of the Action, 1992, etc.) have lost a little edge. Like Moodrow, the much younger Roland ``Mean Mister'' Means, who's Cherokee-Irish, plays fast and loose with his detective's badge--a useful trait when going up against the vicious serial killer dubbed ``King Thong.'' Though Solomita has Means narrate his first case in industrial-strength tough-guy prose, he interweaves the cop's story with chapters told in the third-person, graphically detailing the kidnapping and sexual enslavement of a blind woman by a male assailant, ``Daddy,'' and his flighty partner, Becky. It's only after Means has been rescued from a desk job (punishment for Dirty Harry-like antics) by ambitious black captain Vanessa Bouton that it becomes clear to readers that Daddy and King Thong (so-called for his fetishistic treatment of his victims), who's shredded seven gay men in Manhattan, are one and the same. Contrary to prevailing NYPD wisdom, Bouton thinks that King Thong killed six victims to cover up the seventh killing, which was for money, and that he's otherwise a crazed killer of women--and that Means is the man to track him down. Narrowing down suspects by tearing through the NYPD underworld Ö la Moodrow, Means, with an awestruck Bouton in tow, narrows in on one Robert Kennedy, who lives upstate in the same region where Means, an abused child who turned into a master hunter, grew up--and from whom the kidnapped woman is presently escaping by smashing Becky's skull. Matters resolve in a tense hunt in the woods, with plenty of gore spattering the leaves and grass. Brisk, manly fare whose leather-hearted hero deserves an encore--as does the still venerable Moodrow.