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Red Alert: An NYPD Red Mystery


Red Alert: An NYPD Red Mystery

I’m going to aim this review at those of you who don’t normally read any of James Patterson’s collaborative works. For those who do, you will want to check out RED ALERT, which he has written with (the always marvelous) Marshall Karp. It is the fifth in the NYPD Red series and is the best of the lot, which is high praise considering that there hasn’t been a bad one yet. That’s all you need to know. But for those who would otherwise deliberately turn away, I’m going to urge you to apply the “John Smith” standard to this book: “If RED ALERT was written by John Smith, would you enjoy it?” The answer is absolutely.

NYPD Red is a special police unit set up to handle the legal problems and complaints of New York’s rich and famous. The focus of these books is on Detectives Zach Jordan and Kylie MacDonald. They have a prior romantic history that has long vanished in the rearview mirror but provides the basis for some prickly repartee between the two (most of it flying in one direction) and an occasional edgy “will they or won’t they?” moment. The series is primarily narrated by Zach, who is ruggedly endearing. I easily could see this as a television show, kind of a “Moonlighting” meets “NYPD Blue.”

"RED ALERT is a terrific story, wonderfully told and extremely entertaining, with a captivating beginning, finely paced middle and satisfying ending."

Now that you’re up to speed, let’s talk about RED ALERT. There are a few moving parts to it, including two different cases that Zach and Kylie are investigating simultaneously. The first revolves around a series of bombings that target a select group of individuals involved in a charitable housing project. The second concerns the murder of a well-known female movie maker who initially appears to be the victim of a kinky sex encounter gone dramatically wrong. It is soon established, though, that her death was anything but accidental. Zach and Kylie quickly find a likely suspect --- a disgruntled ex-employee who had an off-and-on relationship with the deceased --- but as they investigate more deeply, they reach the conclusion that they may well be wrong.

There is also a third case that Zach is investigating on his own. It involves the robbery of a private, high-stakes poker game with a celebrity list of participants. The gent who organizes it wants to let the matter drop. But Zach can’t do that, as he suspects that the doer is none other than Kylie’s new boyfriend, a high-rolling gambler who was a participant in the game. He isn’t entirely sure of his motives for quietly investigating the matter, and he doesn’t know what good, if any, can come of it. Still, he persists. It’s the least of the three mysteries here, but that doesn’t make it any less intriguing. Some interesting police work occurs as well, including a side trip to Thailand during which Zach and Kylie get a close-up look at how the rich and famous really live. It's eye-opening, to say the least.

RED ALERT is a terrific story, wonderfully told and extremely entertaining, with a captivating beginning, finely paced middle and satisfying ending. What more can one reasonably want?

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on March 30, 2018

Red Alert: An NYPD Red Mystery
by James Patterson and Marshall Karp

  • Publication Date: October 2, 2018
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1455542652
  • ISBN-13: 9781455542659