William S. Burroughs once said, “The only way I like to see cops given flowers is in a flower pot from a high window.”
New York Police Detective Denny Malone, the main character of Don Winslow’s 20th novel, “The Force,” has been on the receiving end of a few of those pots.
Malone is the de facto leader of the Manhattan North Special Task Force, which is typically shortened to “Da Force” (and is good for at least three “Star Wars” references), an elite crime-fighting unit based in Harlem.
Malone and his crew are throwbacks, which is to say Winslow unabashedly traffics in blatant stereotypes. Malone’s father was an Irish cop, his brother was a fireman who died during 9/11,...