NYPD Red 4, by James Patterson and Marshall Karp

Seven stars

Patterson and Karp return to tantalise readers with another high-impact NYPD Red thriller, sure to get the heart pumping. A movie actress is murdered on her way to a premiere and a one-of-a-kind necklace is stolen, which brings the NYPD’s elite squad out to solve the case. Red caters to the needs of the upper crust of New York society, though Detectives Zach Jordan and Kyle MacDonald seek justice before glamour. As they pick through the few clues on scene, the mayor summons Jordan and MacDonald to Gracie Mansion for a personal favour. A string of medical equipment robberies from facilities around town have gone unreported, but the sting is being felt citywide. Pulled in both directions, Jordan and MacDonald pull double duty, all while they squad commander reads them the Riot Act at every opportunity. Were that not enough, both must handle issues in their personal lives; MacDonald and her husband’s return to the life of a drug addict, Jordan and his girlfriend who cannot compartmentalise all the time he spends with his partner and ex-girlfriend. Juggling everything makes things as difficult as ever, though Red employs only the best of the best. With a lead on the jewel heist that turns the crime on its head and surveillance of a hospital that shows a reconnaissance mission, Jordan and MacDonald may have solid leads to wrap up these crimes. However, even with the culprits in their sights, there is always more to the story. In a well-developed story, Patterson and Karp deliver much for the reader to enjoy, a wonderful turnaround from past tepid publications.

Should this novel be part of the ongoing indication that James Patterson has turned over a new leaf (or finally returned to his old ways), his fans might be able to rejoice. After years of subpar publications that garner readers as a fatal car accident draws gawkers, there seems to be a stronger sense of writing and plot development. Karp assists in this writing endeavour with strong back stories offered of both Jordan and MacDonald, which helps support their ongoing forward movement through the series. The crimes may not be unique, but the approaches taken keep the reader enthused and turning pages into the night, which is offset with short chapters and a plot that twists at just the right moment. Patterson and Karp know where they want to go and how to get there without too much drivel or redundancy, which any series reader will surely appreciate. NYPD Red has potential and could flourish into something effective, though one must speculate if Patterson will bring his co-authors together to pen a crossover series, with New York and Washington, DC so close to one another.

Kudos, Messrs. Patterson and Karp for this interesting addition to the series. Here’s hoping you have found your niche and run with it.