A hardened city detective is sent to a hellhole rust belt town in Missouri where violent crime is skyrocketing and police officers are showing up dead in S Craig Zahler's crime thriller Mean Business on North Ganson Street.
A distraught businessman kills himself after a short, impolite conversation with a detective named Jules Bettinger. Because of this incident, the unkind (but decorated) policeman is forced to relocate himself and his family from Arizona to the frigid north, where he will work for an understaffed precinct in Victory, Missouri. This collapsed rustbelt city is a dying beast that devours itself and its inhabitants...and has done so for more than four decades. Its streets are covered with dead pigeons and there are seven hundred criminals for every law enforcer.
Partnered with a boorish and demoted corporal, Bettinger investigates a double homicide in which two policemen were slain and mutilated. The detective looks for answers in the fringes of the city and also in the pasts of the cops with whom he works—men who stomped on a local drug dealer until he was disabled.
Bettinger soon begins to suspect that the double homicide is not an isolated event, but a prelude to a series of cop executions...
In this dystopian detective novel from Zahler (A Congregation of Jackals), the botched handling of an interview with a distraught man results in Arizona detective Jules Bettinger's forced transfer to the police department in decaying Victory, Mo., a town of 26,000 with an extraordinarily high crime rate. Each of 24 officers "is responsible for a minimum of seven hundred criminals, four to five hundred of which have committed violent acts." Bettinger soon discovers that other cops, including his new partner, Dominic Williams, don't play by the rules. Their brutality, which reduced one criminal to a shattered cripple, initiates a war that begins with the murder of two cops and turns Victory into a cratered battleground. When Bettinger's family comes under threat, he descends to the level of his new colleagues. The over-the-top tough guy dialogue wears thin, as does the constant graphic violence. Zahler, a screenwriter about to make his directorial debut, is adapting this book into a movie for Warner Brothers, with both Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio attached to the project.