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Texas Ranger


Texas Ranger

I don’t remember James Patterson ever turning his hand to write a contemporary western prior to the publication of this latest work. If he has, mea culpa. If not, it is somewhat ironic that TEXAS RANGER, co-written with Andrew Bourelle, is one of his best books to date. It features a complex, driven character with intriguing strengths and frustrating flaws embroiled in a mystery that you will not soon forget.

The title says it all. TEXAS RANGER focuses on Rory Yates, a member of one of law enforcement’s most legendary and elite organizations. Yates is known throughout Texas, and beyond, for his prowess with respect to his rapid-fire sharpshooting talents. It is this asset that has him in trouble as the book begins. Yates’ involvement in an on-duty shooting (controversial but righteous) in Waco is followed by another that requires him to ride a desk while he is being investigated. The gun smoke has barely cleared, though, when Yates receives a panicked call for help from his ex-wife, Anne. It seems that someone has been threatening her in a series of escalating incidents. Upon hearing this news, Yates immediately drives back to his hometown of Rosebud, only to find that he has arrived too late. Anne has been brutally murdered.

" of [Patterson's] best books to date. It features a complex, driven character with intriguing strengths and frustrating flaws embroiled in a mystery that you will not soon forget.

Yates is all but certain that her killer is Calvin Richards, a long-distance truck driver who Anne had been dating until recently. Yates’ relationship with Richards is complicated, and not just because of their respective histories with Anne. Yates had arrested Richards several years before, which resulted in him doing some time in prison. Richards was supposedly reformed, but Yates is convinced that his violent temperament and anger at Anne for ending their relationship has resulted in her death. Yates decides to remain in Rosebud while he is on administrative leave, visiting with his siblings and mother and father --- the latter of whom is keeping a secret of his own close to his heart --- while he conducts a clandestine investigation into his ex-wife’s murder.

Though he is repeatedly warned off of the investigation, Yates cannot help himself, particularly when one of his former girlfriends from high school --- and a friend of Anne --- is murdered in a similar fashion. He becomes obsessively single-minded in his one-man investigation of Richards, forming the facts that fit his hypothesis, rather than the other way around. Only occasionally does he consider that he might be wrong, even though it is clear to everyone involved --- including the reader --- that Richards has something serious to hide. Meanwhile, the trail of broken hearts Yates left behind in Rosebud leads him to a somewhat complicated decision, even as the killer closes in on him, with potentially fatal results.

TEXAS RANGER is something special. While it is certainly an ideal beach read, it is also a book for all seasons, as well as for anyone who enjoys strong, compelling characters and a puzzling mystery with a number of potential suspects. That it takes a geographical detour to an unexpected locale is a major plus. If Patterson and Bourelle decide to keep Yates and his extended coterie of friends and family active beyond this book, I’ll be there.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on August 17, 2018

Texas Ranger
by James Patterson and Andrew Bourelle

  • Publication Date: December 11, 2018
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller, Western
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 153871387X
  • ISBN-13: 9781538713877