The latest installment--and first hardcover--in the prodigious Griffin's Badge of Honor series on detectives in the Philadelphia police force. As in his several successful series on soldiers (including The Last Heroes, Vol. I of Men in War, 1997, and Line of Fire, Book V of The Corps, 1992), Griffin is particularly deft at catching the hierarchies of all-male societies, and the ways in which men school themselves for action. His protagonist here, Special Operations detective Matt Payne, shares with Griffin's other heroes an appetite for testing himself, a knack for getting into very dangerous situations, and a willingness to meet violence with violence. In this case, Payne is up against both a group of corrupt and lethal cops and a cabal of urban terrorists. Don't expect George V. Higgins, or even Christopher Newman here--while Griffin endows his Philadelphia setting with a terse authenticity, and his characters are distinct, if not remarkable, you won't find realistic chat, deep plumbings of character, or a detailed portrait of police politics. What you will find is a shrewdly paced plot, sharp, vivid action, and a rather mordant view of human nature. Not deep, but lively.