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Book Review and Exclusive Interview: The Last Witness by W.E.B. Griffin and William E. Butterworth

I read my first W.E.B. Griffin book - "The Lieutenants" - as a PFC in Airborne School.  It was new and most of my 'stick' was talking about it.  We all were instant fans.  

The following is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper.  You can read all of our book reviews by clicking all on the Books category on the far right sidebar.

9781101601006_p0_v1_s260x420The latest book, The Last Witness, from the Badge of Honor series, written by the legendary author W.E.B. Griffin and his son William E. Butterworth IV is a very insightful novel.  It is a story of corruption, the difficulty in fighting it, drug cartels, and the violence connected with them. had the pleasure of interviewing both father and son.

The main character, Philadelphia homicide detective Matt Payne, has been brought onto a case involving a connection between the Mexican drug cartels and the Russian mob.  These organizations lure teenage girls away from their foster homes, and ultimately smuggle them into a sex trade operation. Some of these girls are being murdered and the one surviving witness has gone underground. Payne knows that finding this witness is critical to solving the case and must find her, before the Russians, the cartels, and some of Philadelphia’s most powerful get to her first. 

Griffin decided to start writing this “cop series after a Philadelphia police officer sent me a letter asking if I would be interested in writing this series in the same style as my Army and the Marine Corps novels.  Since my roots are in Philadelphia I found the idea fascinating.  I thought that the cops was a closed brotherhood and did not think they would let an outsider in.  After forming connections the series started.  The cop on the beat, the one protecting our society is the one I really admire. I thought about how close the police and the military are, not only in organization, but, more importantly, in their dedication to duty, their sense of honor, their willingness to lay their lives on the line, day after day, to protect society. We nicknamed Payne “Wyatt Earp” to pay homage to him.  He is a cop who did what is right.  Because he got into a couple of gunfights he was seen as a Wild West shooter.”

Both father and son enjoy writing together and never see it as a problem.  They are able to converse back and forth, mainly through emails.  In comparing the two, Griffin noted, “I know more about the army than Billy does, while he knows more about the cops than I do.  Yet, we both contribute to all of the series.”

Butterworth IV wants readers to understand the importance and realism of this plot.  He hopes they will view this as a warning about the drug cartels, that they are

not just in the Border States and cities, but within the interior of the US.  “I was getting depressed as I wrote about the viciousness of the cartels.  90% of this book is based on fact, but we did not want to preach, but to tell it as a story, which is why we had as a character a Texas Ranger that spoke from his experiences. At the end of the day we wanted to make a point and have an entertaining novel.”

They also gave a heads up about their next few books.  This December will be the last book in the Presidential Agent series.  Since Griffin has written a series of twelve M*A*S*H books with Richard Hooker, the real Hawkeye, he decided to use that format for this book by turning it into a satire with humor. 

The authors are transitioning The Honor Bound series to a new series, starring Jim Cronley, that goes back to Cold War days and how the Americans fought the Communists, titled End of Innocence. Griffin commented, “Fortunately I am in a position that I can write what I choose.  I want to inform since a lot of people don’t know about this era of our history.  I am so disgusted with what is happening.  I can’t imagine some of the things that have happened in the past few years.  There was Hilary Clinton giving the Russians the re-set button and then misspelling it.  I am really outraged how people have changed.  Look at General Petraeus; whatever happened to duty and country?  The person he had an affair with was a West Pointer.  These two people should have known better.  I don’t want to write about people like that, but want to write about true American heroes.  I still remember what was told to me by General White when I left Korea, ‘You guys have a greater right to speak up about this country, more than anybody else.’  He meant of course as veterans. I took him literally and have opened my mouth ever since.”

After reading The Last Witness people will be able to learn the facts and question the reality of events.  This entertaining novel allows for a way of visiting events in this country that is often overlooked.