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It was Sunday night, and at quarter after eleven the Roy Rogers restaurant at South Broad and Snyder Streets in South Philadelphia was just about full.
Amal al Zaid, who was five feet seven inches tall and weighed 145 pounds, and who had spent sixteen of his twenty-one years as Dwayne Alexander Finston before converting to Islam, was mopping a spill from the floor just outside the kitchen door when he glanced at the clock mounted high on the wall near the front entrance to the restaurant.
The first thing he thought was that he had forty-five minutes to go on his shift, and then he would be free to ride his bicycle home to the apartment he shared with his mother, two brothers, and a sister in the Tasker Homes Project a few blocks away, grab a quick shower, and then go by the mosque to see what was happening.
The second thing he thought was, Those two is bad news.
Amal al Zaid had seen two young men enter the restaurant. Both were in their early twenties. One was of average height and build, and the other short and overweight. Both of them stopped, one at a time, just inside the door, and looked around the restaurant, and then at each other, and then nodded.
The average-looking one slid into a banquette near the door. The sort-of-fat one, who had something wrapped in a newspaper sticking out of his jacket pocket, walked all the way through the restaurant toward where Amal al Zaid was mopping the floor by the kitchen door. Amal al Zaid then pushed the right door to the kitchen open, and held it open while he pushed his mop bucket on wheels through it.
After a moment, Amal al Zaid peered carefully through the small window in the kitchen door. He saw that the short fat guy had taken a seat in the last banquette on the left, with his back to the kitchen wall. And he saw the short fat guy pull whatever he had wrapped in newspaper from his pocket, and lay it on the banquette seat. And then Amal al Zaid saw what it was: a short-barreled revolver.
"Holy shit," Zaid said, barely audibly, and turned and looked around the kitchen.
The kitchen supervisor, Maria Manuela Fernandez, a thirty-five-year-old in immaculate kitchen whites, who carried 144 pounds on her five-foot-three frame, was a few steps away, examining the latest serving trays to come out of the dishwasher.
Zaid went to her, touched her arm, and when she turned to him, said, "Manuela, I think we're getting stuck up."
Mrs. Fernandez's eyebrows rose.
"There's a fat guy with a gun in the last booth," Zaid said, pointing at the wall, "and there's another guy-they came in together-in the first booth on the right by the front door."
Mrs. Fernandez walked quickly and looked through the window in the door, then went to a wall-mounted telephone near the door and dialed 911.
Mrs. Fernandez's call was answered on the second ring by Miss Eloise T. Regis in the radio room of the Philadelphia police department, on the second floor of the Police Administration Building at Eighth and Race Streets in downtown Philadelphia.
The Police Administration Building is universally known in Philadelphia as "The Roundhouse," because the building has virtually no straight walls-exterior or interior-or corridors. Even the interiors of the elevators are curved.
Within the radio room are rows of civilian employees who, under the supervision of a few sworn police officers, sit at telephone and radio consoles receiving calls from the public and from police vehicles on the job, and relaying official orders to police vehicles.
There are twenty-two police districts in Philadelphia, and six divisions of detectives. There is also the Special Operations Division, which includes the Highway Patrol-despite its name, far more of an elite force than one concerned with highway traffic-and the Special Investigations Unit.
The Traffic and Accident Divisions actually have the primary responsibility for the public's safety on the highways and streets of Philadelphia. Their tools include a fleet of radio-equipped tow trucks and other special vehicles. The Juvenile Division is charged with dealing with crimes committed against-or by-juveniles.
Additionally, there are special-purpose units, such as the K-9 Unit, the Marine Unit, the Airport Unit, and the Vice, Narcotics, Organized Crime, and Dignitary Protection Units-and others.
Each district, division, and special unit has its own complement of radio-equipped police vehicles of all sorts.
And on top of this, of course, is the communications network necessary to maintain round-the-clock instantaneous contact with the vehicles of the senior command hierarchy of the police department, the commissioner and his staff, the deputy commissioners and their staffs, the chief inspectors and their staffs, and a plethora of other senior police officers.
With hundreds of police and support vehicles on the job at any one time, it was necessary to develop, both by careful planning and by trial and error, a system permitting instant contact with the right vehicle at the right time.
The police commissioner-or the commanding officer of the Marine Unit-is not really interested in learning instantly about every automobile accident in Philadelphia, nor is a request from the Airport Police for a paddy wagon to haul off three drunks from their bailiwick of much interest to a detective investigating a burglary in Chestnut Hill.
Philadelphia is broken down, for police department purposes, into eight geographical divisions and the Park Division. Each division is headed by an inspector, and contains from two to four districts, each commanded by a captain. Generally, each division has its own radio frequency, but in some divisions, really busy districts-the Twenty-fifth District in the East Division, for example-have their own separate frequencies. Detectives' cars and those assigned to other investigative units (Narcotics, Intelligence, Organized Crime, et cetera) have radios operating on the "H-Band." All police car radios can be switched to an all-purpose emergency and utility frequency called the "J-Band." Special Operations Division has its own, the "S-Band."
For example, a police officer in the Sixteenth District would routinely have his radio switch set to F-1, which would permit him to communicate with his (The West) division. Switching to F-2 would put him on the universal J-Band. A car assigned to South Philadelphia with his switch set to F-1 would be in contact with the South Division. A detective operating anywhere with his switch set to F-1 would be on the Detective's H-Band, but he too, by switching to F-2, would be on the J-Band.
Senior police officers have more sophisticated radios, and are able to communicate with other senior police brass, the detective frequency, or on the frequency of some other service in which they have a personal interest. Ordinary police cars are required to communicate through the dispatcher, and forbidden to talk car-to-car. Car-to-car communication is authorized on the J-, H-, and S-Bands.
"Communications discipline" is strictly enforced. Otherwise, there would be communications chaos.
There is provision, however, for a radio room dispatcher-simply by throwing the appropriate switch-to send a radio message simultaneously to every radio-equipped police vehicle, from a police boat making its way against the current of the Delaware River through the hundreds of police cars on patrol to the commissioner's and mayor's cars.
This most often happens when an operator takes a call in which the calling party says, "Officer needs assistance. Shots fired."
Not every call to 911 requesting police assistance is legitimate. Philadelphia has its fair share of lunatics-some say more than its fair share-who like to involve the cops in any number of things having nothing whatever to do with maintaining the peace and tranquillity within the City of Brotherly Love. And Philadelphia's youth, having watched cop movies on television to learn the cant, dial 911 ten or twelve times every day to report a murder, a body, a robbery, a car accident, anything that will cause a flock of police cars, lights flashing and sirens screaming, to descend on a particular street corner and liven up an otherwise dull period of the day.
The people who answer the telephones didn't come to work yesterday, however-Miss Eloise T. Regis, for example, had been on the job for more than twenty years-and usually they know, from the timbre of the caller's voice, or the assurance with which the caller raises the alarm, that this particular call is legitimate.
When Miss Regis answered the call from an excited Latino-sounding lady reporting a robbery in progress at the Roy Rogers at Broad and Snyder, she had known the call was genuine.
At 11:21, a call went out from Police Radio.
"Possible armed robbery in progress, Roy Rogers restaurant, Broad and Snyder. Unknown civilian by phone."
Officer Kenneth J. Charlton, of the First District, then patrolling the area, responded, "One seven. In on the Roy Rogers."
—from Final Justice: A Badge of Honor Novel by W.E.B. Griffin, Copyright © 2003 W.E.B. Griffin, Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons, a member of the Penguin Group (USA), Inc., All Rights Reserved, Reprinted with Permission from the Publisher.
Posted January 16, 2004
first time (and last) reading this authors book...wish I could get my money back, the author goes way off on a different path when trying to give background info on the characters and takes minimum of a page to give complete background before coming back (the long way around) to original train of thought, I had to go back to previous pages to pick back up on plot. I was very dissapointed with this author.
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Posted June 16, 2014
466 pages when 200 pages would have been enough. SOOOOO many unesessary characters introduced. It seemed to me that the author's editor said he wanted a big book this time. Matt kills ALL the bad guys single handed. Don't waste your time or money!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 27, 2012
Posted January 31, 2012
Most realistic police procedural I have ever read. The only thing that keeps me from giving it a 5 is they have more officer involved shootings than I could ever imagine - even in a large city (this said, I have absolutely NO law enforccement experience myself.)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 7, 2005
I am sorely disappointed in the fact that Griffin has taken what was a great 'historical' work of cop fiction and destroy it by bringing it up to modern times. All of the books in the series before were set in the 1970's and that made it a great bit of fiction in both flavor and content. Bringing it into modern day has made it lackluster and pale in comparison to his earlier works. Add to that the fact that he runs poor Matty through the ringer in this book. Between his seemingly endless female problems, to another shootout in Philly, I can see where Matt might want a breather from the endless crisis he is put through. AS if that were not bad enough, he has filled this book with a lot of clutter, once more deviating from his normally sleek, gritty style of writing by filling up several pages between events with a lot of unrelated goings on that could have been covered nicely in a page and a half. Altogether I am disappointed in the overall product, I have come to expect much, much better writing from Mr. Griffin. Perhaps the toll of having to keep so many irons in the literary fire has finally caught up with him. Still, for a bit of a distraction or 'mind candy' in lieu of a serious read, 'Final Justice' serves it's purpose.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 24, 2004
This differs very much from my normal reading material. When I ran out of printed Danielle Steel books to read a co-worker loaned me the first of this series to read and then the next and the next...... I thoroughly enjoyed Final Justice despite what all the other reviews say that I have read. Please tell me its not really the finale! -now that is disappointing.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 3, 2004
My biggest problem with this novel occured in less than 10 pages in: a witness to a double murder has a cellphone. Why is this a problem? All the other 'Badge of Honour' novels have been set in the 1970's, whether explicitly or by inference (dialogue, fashion, vehicles). I enjoyed that setting- it gave the books an extra flavour not normally found in the present-day cop genre- and the lack thereof really distracted from the read. The murderer-in-France subplot really seemed to serve no eventual purpose other than give Payne something to do while on convalescent leave, and ends the book (and series?) on a rather anti-climactic note; by contrast, the end of <i>The Investigators</i> had a much stronger ending and could easily have itself been the end of the series. Despite these shortcomings, it was a pretty good read. Griffin's seeming trademark style of deadpan sarcasm is almost addictive, and his grasp of the charcters is still generally strong. His editor deserves both a bouquet, for keeping his lamentable tendency to recap past events to a dull page or two here and there; and a brick, for not sharpening that pencil a bit more. Griffin's novels always promote page turning, because he rarely ever foreshadows; the suspense keeps you going. The major one-off character introduced to be killed, a sorry crime Griffin is guilty of in past books, is happily absent. If this is, in fact, the conclusion of 'Badge of Honour,' hopefully Griffin will return to police fiction at some point. He can do much better than this, and do it really well.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 15, 2004
I am a first time reader of WEB Griffin. I picked up Final Justice and was delighted to find it a good read. The plot and characters are engaging and the dialogue was engrossing right up to the end. The characters were interesting from page one. Mr. Web reminds me of DeMille. if you like mysteries, interesting plots and subplots, strong characters, then I recommend reading W.E.B. Griffin. Being a vociferous reader of many subjects when I want to relax I'll pick up a mystery. I judge books by my standards and mysteries are my favorites. W.E.B. Griffin is a very talented writer. The reader is drawn into the plot's twists and turns and his characters are interesting and quite real, Some good, some bad and some very engaging. When the story ends it's akin to saying goodby to friends or people you know. I was delighted to find that the main characters reappear in his Honor Badge series. Needless to say, I have purchased all his police stories and look forward to any future Honor Badge books he writes.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 26, 2004
The story did not flow as well as previous novels in this series - there seemed to be a bit much of 'filler'. Outside of that, the story line was Okay. If there is a disappointment, then it is in the way this novel was concluded. It is sort of open ended yet there is no certainty that there will be a concluding novel which is certainly needed for this series. Regardless, it is comfortable reading that can be easily related to real life.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 22, 2004
author does not have enough material for a 518 page book; therefore, he must use non-interesting filler dialogue to fill pages. I read 120 pages before I put the book back on the shelf. That should have been enough pages to get back to the double murder!
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Posted November 11, 2003
This was my first W.E.B. Griffin reading and I was thoroughly captivated. It isn't often that I find an author with a level of writing that keeps my constant attention. Griffin does that. If you like police thrillers you'll love this. The characters have depth, the storyline captivating, with an ending that begs for more. I can't wait for another offering in the Badge of Honor Series. In the meantime, I'll be catching up on his other writings.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 19, 2003
I have read the other Badge of Honor books and I could not put this one down. Being a police officer myself, I find that what is written and how the officers interact with each other is very real and I can even relate to how some of them feel. Griffin does an excellent job in his portrayal of police work and the mental anguish that sometimes goes with the job. His closing chapter that describes the fight between Wohl and Amy Payne is just like what goes on in a real police relationship where you are on call 24/7 and have to answer that call.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 31, 2003
One of my favorite things about reading Griffin's novels are the eras for which, and in which, they have been written. Having been born in the 70's, for me, to be able to read his police series (and all his series for that matter)-they make me feel like I am able to travel back in time, and experience how a different generation lived. I can not tell you how irritated I am because he has taken a wonderful series, set in the seventies and has now written this novel as if it was the year 2003. Of course, Matt Payne is still 26 years old and everyone else for the most part has remained the same, but true fans of the seventies police series will be sorely disappointed in this unexpected turn of events. Having said that, the acutal story itself is still a good one, but his writing seems to be loosing something as he gets older. And not to go off on a rant, but let me ask all his loyal fans - how or why do his editors allow in all of his series several deviations from previous books? Has anyone else noticed that too? In one book, Malcom pickering is an ace with 8 kills and in the very next book he has 6. In the police series, Matt is Chads best man before he is to go off to war and then all of a sudden he is employeed by Nesfoods (having never gone into the service)! It is these type of little things in all his books that irritate me, but switching gears by 30 years really stinks! I hope his next novel is written for his loyal fans, not just for the sake of trying to get new ones.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 30, 2003
I have a copy of every book tha Mr. Griffin has written in the Corps, Army, Police, and Spy Novels. I reread them constantly. If would be extremely difficult to pick my favorite. However, his latest in a long line kept my interest from page 1 until the end without putting the book down. I recommend this to any reader who has a sense of adventure to discover what the real world is about...Police work is very intense, stressing, and dangerous..if you walk in the shoes you know the feeling..if you read this book you wil know what a police office goes thru...and if you liked this book there are moreWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 31, 2003
The major minus_____________ As with the novels in his other series there is a lack of continuity in the novel's time line. The series starts in the early to mid 1970's. The current story is set in the late 90's or early 2000's (25 yeasrs later) yet the characters have aged only 5 years _____________ The major plus_____________ As with all of the W.E.B. Griffin Novels the story is well writtten and fast paced.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 11, 2003
Both the title of this book and the 'ending' could lead one to conclude that FINAL JUSTICE could well be Griffin'a final police procedural set in the City of Brotherly Love. Fotunately...or unfortunately...too many questions remain unanswered as the homicide sergeant returns from France at the book's conclusion. The devil is in the details in this story and to some extent Griffin is losing accuracy and possibility to make a bettter read. Still I highly recommend it. If Griffin is to continue this series, let's not make us wait forever for the next.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 13, 2003
Five years was way too long to wait for this sequel but it proved well-worth it. I live out in the county west of Philadephia and love the local color to his books, in fact - that was was pulled me into this series to begin with. Griffen's writing is fast paced and takes you away with him. I hope he comes out with another Chapter in Matt's story as I do not want him to disappear into series limbo. More, More, More - please!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 9, 2008
Instead of going to law school and becoming an attorney in the prestigious family firm, Matt Payne joins the Philadelphia police force. At first, everyone connected to Matt, on the job and off, thinks this is something he has to get out of his system before returning to the ¿proper¿ fold. Matt however solves some high profile cases and eventually becomes a respected detective. When he passes his sergeant¿s exam with the highest score, he obtains his wish a transfer to homicide. From the day he arrives there, he gets in the middle of the action, helping his superiors on a robbery that ends up with a woman and police officer dead. He¿s also assigned to work the case of a rape murderer who has to be caught before he strikes again. In the middle of all this, he is assigned to baby sit a movie star in town to raise funds for charity. Matt Payne may be an excellent police officer but he also has to learn that he is not a superhero before he implodes. Fans of police procedurals have a treat in store for them when they read FINAL JUSTICE as readers observe a day-to-day look into the workings of a police department and the toll it takes on an individual officer. W.E.B. Griffin humanizes the police officers he writes about so his audience feels sympathetic towards them and hope they are not killed in the line of duty. The final call on this novel is a winner for the audience. Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 24, 2002
It's been almost five years since the last book in the Badge of Honor series (the author was busy with two of his other series), and it seems to have been worth the wait. The central character is newly promoted homicide Sergeant Matt Payne, who is dividing his time here between a diner holdup that left two people dead, and a rape that escalated into murder. Other characters readers will remember from the series' previous books return, including Inspector Peter Wohl, Lieutenant Jason Washington, reporter Mickey O'Hara, and Deputy Commissioner Dennis Coughlin. There's also a few new characters dropped into the mix, but the book mainly focuses on Payne as he juggles work on those two major cases as well as a new romantic attachment. There is one change faithful readers will notice almost immediately. I won't reveal it here, except to say I think it adds to the story. The author also sets scenes outside of Philadelphia in a place I suspect he's very familiar with. He avoids, to a great extent, rehashing previous storylines in the series, which has sometimes bothered me and interrupted a current book's plotline. Bottom line: this is a well-written novel from a master writer, and the book works as a stand-alone story as well as what might be a cap to a series. Only a few small hanging subplots keep me from giving it five stars. (review copy was uncorrected manuscript)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 25, 2009
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