Black & Blue: A BookShot, by James Patterson and Candice Fox

Eight stars

Patterson teams up with acclaimed writer Candice Fox to create a new and exciting series, beginning with this explosive BookShot. Harriet Blue is a detective in the Sex Crime Unit of the Sydney Police Department. She has been trying to chase after the Georges River Killer (GRK) for some time, the most notorious and elusive serial killer in Australian history. When she is called to the Georges River after a body is discovered, it fits all the key aspects of a GRK victim. However, she is not the only detective on-scene. Tate ‘Tox’ Barnes is a detective with a sordid past, with rumours swirling around him. Having somehow made it onto the force after killing a woman and her child at the age of six, Tox is hated by everyone and vilified at every turn. Blue is forced to work with Tox on this crime and endures his unorthodox methods for solving crimes, which proves that the body before them is not part of the GRK’s collection, but rather a killing that happened on the open waters. While Blue grows to respect Tox and his methods, she remains a pariah and the target for childish retribution. As Blue and Tox continue to follow leads, a separate plot line sees a rich yachting couple being held captive by a woman who has financial aspirations. Hope Stallwood will stop at nothing to get what she wants and is willing to take anyone down how impedes her plans. The closer. Blue and Tox get to solving their crime, the more the investigation pulls Hope’s plans into the mix. Will Blue be able to find the thread that connects these cases and save those involved before it’s too late? A great addition to the BookShot collection, which will keep the reader flipping pages as fast as they can be read.

Using this BookShot idea to introduce new series seems like a smart idea on Patterson’s part. Harriet Blue, the newest member of Patterson’s crime thriller collection introduces herself nicely in this shorter piece, offering enough breadcrumbs to lure the reader in, while leaving much for the upcoming full-length novel. Patterson and Fox highlight some of the strengths Blue brings to the table alongside her new partner, as well as the cloud that floats above them both, individually and as a pair. The story flows nicely with strong characterization and decent narration, which can be compared to some of the other detectives that Patterson has in his quiver (Cross, Boxer, Bennett). How Blue will fit awaits to be seen, though her introduction surely will leave readers intrigued with what else there is to offer.

Kudos, Mr. Patterson and Madam Fox for this explosive beginning to the series. I look forward to what else you have to offer in the coming months.