Griffin and his son, Butterworth (The Last Witness, 2013, etc.), offer No. 12 in their rich boy–turned–police officer series featuring .45-toting Matt Payne, Philadelphia’s homicide detective sergeant.
Payne, known to admirers as "Wyatt Earp of the Main Line," has been branded "Public Enemy Number One" by Josiah Cross, one-time crook–turned–storefront minister and $80,000-a-year chairman of Philadelphia’s Citizens Police Oversight Committee. Meanwhile, crime goes on, beginning with a smash-and-grab robbery at the Lucky Stars Casino. The mastermind was Tyrone Hooks, who’d rather be known as the rapper Rockin215. In the narrative-as-anecdote that follows, Hooks gets his comeuppance, since the casino’s major investor is Yuri Tikhonov, a former Russian SVR (that’s the new KGB) agent, who solves intractable business problems by murdering those who hurt the bottom line. There are also short histories of past Payne shootouts, with one former bad actor, the New Acuña Cartel, arriving via subplot with killers for hire who decapitate an investigative reporter working under Payne’s friend Mickey O’Hara. That gives O’Hara a chance to opine that "fewer people are willing to pay for publications that produce long-form journalism—the hard-hitting, in-depth pieces." In the cast of thousands, every player gets a description incorporating age—Cross is a "tall, skinny, bearded, 40-year-old African-American"—as Griffin pauses for multiple tangential expositions: comparing the stopping power of pistols to the horsepower of a Prius; a treatise on heroin, weed, and China- and Pakistan-manufactured synthetic drugs; and the massive frauds made possible by EB-5 visas and Cayman Islands secretive banking laws.
A lesser contribution to Griffin’s nonmilitary series but passable summer beach reading when there’s no reliable connection to Netflix.