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Thursday, 11 February 2016

NYPD Red by James Patterson (NYPD Red, #1) - Book Review

4.5/5 Stars

They're sworn to protect and serve New York's rich and famous...

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Edition: Paperback
Pages: 481
Chapters: 98 (Plus a prologue with two parts.)
Publisher: Arrow Books

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Amazon
                      Author's Website

Review

There's nothing better than a James Patterson book when you're under the weather and confined to your bed. A psychotic killer, a mad dash against time, explosions and car chases, yep, there's nothing better.

NYPD Red sees Mr Patterson teaming up with Marshall Karp, both of them weaving an action-packed thriller that starts a new series off with a bang, with interesting character dynamics that contribute to both the comedy and tension. All in all, a fantastic piece of genre fiction.

Of course, if you're a more critical reader I'd advise you to suspend your disbelief. There are moments of incredulity, and it's only fitting that a story that focuses on Hollywood and its tendency to stretch reality out of shape should do the same.

Synopsis (Not a copy from the book, but I always keep my interpretations close.)

Detective Zach Jordan works for the elite NYPD Red section of the police force.
Red is a dedicated task force of officers who spend their time dealing exclusively with the rich and famous.
In the middle of a festival, with Hollywood stars galore in the city, a new killer emerges to punish the more fortunate.
To enact revenge.
To make matters worse, Zach is teamed up with a new partner, Detective Kylie MacDonald.
His ex-girlfriend...

Plot - 4/5 Stars

If you're a hardcore Patterson fan, then you know what you're stepping into. NYPD Red is pretty generic for the most part. It's not trying to be this world-changing thriller, just a simple piece of adrenaline for us crime junkies, and at that it excels. Patterson and Karp divvy up the viewpoints between Zach, our kind protagonist, and Gabe, the maniac murderer. 

It's nothing the author hasn't done before, but the way we get delicious insight into our villain is amazing. The authors use excerpts of scripts the killer has made and is now enacting, and it's fun and adds some gritty tension. 

We speed along on a train of mystery and macabre as the plot boils, with some inventive murders and underlying drama.

The Hollywood aspects are pretty stereotypical: The rich and famous are money-hungry parasites that take drugs and throw fits, and while extreme (and in some ways true), it's hilarious and engaging. It alleviates the action well, but do not be afraid, in true Patterson style things go from 0 to 100 in the blink of an eye.

We literally get explosive. 

There's a standard and satisfying ending to wrap up the various threads, and not-so-subtle hints at more books to come (which there are). 

Pace - 5/5 Stars

Come on, it's Patterson! Short chapters full of lighting-quick scenes really have you racing through this novel. There's a reason Patterson's books are bestsellers: Simple, quick and hugely enjoyable.

Characters - 4/5 Stars

The cast gets off to a fine start, but it's nothing spectacular. Initially, they fit the plot to perfection and don't break any molds. Background characters buzz about, but this is only a plus that helps with the killer's motivations.

Our two mains, Zach and Kylie, really do grow on you. Their rapport just gets better and better, and their simmering past gives the partnership a tenuous quality. Zach is kind, moral and a by-the-book police officer; Kylie is more carefree and determined, ready and willing to break rules in the name of justice. Both compliment each other very well, and Zach's calm balances out his partner's brasher attitude, helping them both to achieve stunning heroics.

Writing - 4.5/5 Stars

Simple and quick. Patterson and Karp don't waste the reader's time and get into the meat fast and hard. It's something I love about their novels.

Overall - 4.5/5 Stars

A smashing thriller for the easy-going reader.


Next Instalment: NYPD Red 2


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