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In the worldwide war against terrorism, solving and thwarting attacks directed against a city or nation can be a demanding and daunting task. Imagine for a moment how harrowing and difficult it must be to solve such a crime twice. BLACKOUT is that story. It is told in David Rosenfelt’s energetic and fast-paced prose, never bogging down in technical minutiae, but always moving briskly towards a tense, page-turning conclusion.

Doug Brock is a New Jersey State police officer intent upon gathering sufficient evidence to prosecute and convict Nicholas Bennett, a notorious crime boss. After a young man whom Doug has befriended is the innocent victim of a gun battle involving Bennett’s gang, Doug goes off the rails in his investigative work. He becomes a lone wolf, earning a suspension from the force but continuing on his personal investigation to nail Bennett. Doug’s work achieves the goal of obtaining evidence against Bennett, but the proof is of a larger and more dangerous criminal enterprise than even he could imagine.

"[BLACKOUT] is told in David Rosenfelt’s energetic and fast-paced prose, never bogging down in technical minutiae, but always moving briskly towards a tense, page-turning conclusion."

Needing help, Doug calls his partner, Nate Alvarez, and advises him, “It’s much bigger than we ever thought, Nate, and I’ve got it all.” Nate is told to contact federal authorities, but the phone call abruptly ends with the sound of gunfire. Rushing to the scene, police find Doug critically wounded, but no other evidence supporting his assertion of a major crime.

Doug is hospitalized with massive injuries that require a medically induced coma. Waking up from the procedure, he has lost all memory of the past decade. Without remembering anything about the case, but knowing only that his last words before being shot were that “something big” had been uncovered, Doug and New Jersey authorities begin the process of putting the puzzle back together.

Along the way to solving the crime, Rosenfelt recreates Doug’s life small piece by small piece. There is, of course, a love interest for him. A fellow officer, Jessie Allen, was actually engaged to marry him. Those plans abruptly ended when his investigation took priority over everything else in his life. Slowly, as Jessie assists the investigation, Doug recalls bits and pieces of their relationship and why marriage was the plan.

In parallel chapters, readers also learn details of the terrorist plot that Doug discovers before he was shot. But is it really such a plot, or just a common-variety criminal con job?

David Rosenfelt began his writing career in television but now devotes his full-time writing to stand-alone mysteries and the Andy Carpenter novels, a courtroom-based series. He writes in a pleasing and fast-paced style that clearly is influenced by his television writing career. Dialogue rules the novels along with clear, straightforward action. No visits to crime labs or complex villains appear on the pages of Rosenfelt’s books --- just good old-fashioned, shoe-leather crime-solving. BLACKOUT is an enjoyable adventure for the break you might often want from more serious reading.

Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman on January 8, 2016

by David Rosenfelt

  • Publication Date: October 4, 2016
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 1250055326
  • ISBN-13: 9781250055323