The Inn, by James Patterson and Candice Fox

Eight stars

Powerhouse duo James Patterson and Candice Fox return with a standalone novel that offers some insight into how the world works away from a formal police setting. With some great narrative development and a cast of unique characters, Patterson and Fox show that they are a team far above others. After being summarily fired from the Boston PD, Bill Robinson works with his wife to create a new life in the rural community of Gloucester. Opening up a bed and breakfast, the Robinsons think they have it made. However, after the passing of Siobain, Bill is left to run things at The Inn all on his own. While the cop is out of Boston, Robinson is the curious type and stumbles upon a string of deaths that are all attributed to a tiny yellow pill, later revealed to be potent fentanyl. Robinson follows the path of distribution to a sly dealer by the name of Mitchell Cline, who is happy to pepper the bucolic community with addiction and line his pockets. When Robinson makes a play to stop all of this, he engages the services of the local sheriff, who also happens to be one of his residents. As the pressure mounts, more locals find themselves working with Robinson on a way to remove Cline, plotting their response from inside The Inn. Cline will not go down easily and has a large crew ready to follow his every command. Barricaded inside The Inn, Robinson must work with his makeshift team to decide how to handle the situation, knowing full well that it may end tragically before the night is out. Patterson and Fox show their strength in this story that pulls on issues from today in this dazzling one off novel. Recommended for those who like a police procedural with a different flavouring, as well as the reader who has long enjoyed the Patterson-Fox writing style.

While I enjoy both authors on their own, as well as their series work with Harry Blue, I was not sure if I could take a standalone as seriously. While things took a little while to warm up for me, I did become invested before too long and found myself readily turning pages to see what would happen next. Bill Robinson is as jaded as they come, having been forced on his turf early for actions his partner started. Saddled with this and the loss of his wife soon thereafter, there is no doubt that Robinson is seeking something to set himself straight. While the story reads like a police procedural, there are elements of a vigilante leader seeking revenge and wanting to protect his town. The banter and planning work well, but there are certainly some aspects that are quite cliché for me, yet the story still works. Others who grace the pages of this book work their own magic and the story comes to life with ease, flavoured by the backstories and unique approaches the authors inject into those who work with (and against) Robinson. The story had some predicable elements, but I could see this working well on the big screen. Drama increases throughout and there is no let down as the pages turn with ease. The traditional short chapters force the reader to commit to large portions in a sitting and begs for more action with ease new chapter heading. While not their best collaborative work, I cannot fault this duo, who have never failed to impress me.

Kudos, Mr. Patterson and Madam Fox, for another interesting collaborative effort. I am eager to see if you will return to some Harry Blue soon, or if you have more you want the world to reader before then.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: