Cajun Justice, by James Patterson and Tucker Axum III

Eight stars

Looking forward to some new collaborative efforts, I picked up this piece by James Patterson and Tucker Axum III. The story held my attention throughout and broke some of the traditional Patterson stylistic choices, which only added to the intrigue and entertainment. Secret Service Agent Cain Lemaire has a great position on the US President’s advance security team, which is how he finds himself in South America. When Lemaire tries to cover for one of his fellow agents, he ends up paying off a prostitute and lands the entire team in some hot water. Summoned back to DC, Lemaire is placed in quite the predicament and his Secret Service career is all but done, pending a review. Lemaire has little else to do, other than to return to Louisiana, where his family awaits. After some coaxing by his twin sister, Bonnie, and with an interest to turn the heat down in America, Lemaire agrees to a job in Japan. He’ll be heading up a security detail for an automobile executive who has been in some hot water of his own. When Lemaire arrives, he is not only greeted by the cultural differences, but also a sister who is very excited to see him. Lemaire and Bonnie enjoy catching up before it’s time to get down to brass tacks. Lemaire assesses the team he will lead and discovers some weaknesses that need reorganising. This is even more important when an assassination attempt rocks Lemaire and his team. While he remains ever vigilant, Lemaire agrees to some downtime, where he discovers another side of Bonnie, one that never seemed to have made it into their numerous conversations. This leads to a few fists being tossed and Lemaire soon learns that he has attacked one of the yakuza, the Asian Mafia. When Bonnie goes missing, the message is clear, forcing Lemaire to realise that this is no group worth ignoring. While he balances a massive search for his sister, Lemaire also finds solace in a colleague and reveals much about his past. Bonnie’s life is surely hanging by a thread, as the yakuza have no issue with sending their captives into the depths of despair to prove a point. Cain Lemaire will have to rely on his skills and some key assets in Japan to find his sister and clear his name in media outlets. A great book that pulls intensity out of all corners to leave the reader wanting more. Recommended to those who enjoy culture shock novels, as well as those who find pleasure in some of Patterson’s better collaborations.

I may have a love/hate relationship for books that bear James Patterson’s name on the cover, but this was a wonderful surprise and I hope others in my position take note. Working with Tucker Axum III, Patterson is able to pull on his collaborator’s experiences to craft a wonderful book that keeps the reader hooked throughout. One will presume that Cain Lemaire has some parallels to Axum, which helps add depth and intrigue to the protagonist. Forced out of the job he loves, Lemaire must reinvent himself and find solace halfway around the world. This move to Japan not only opens Lemaire’s eyes to a new culture, but helps him heal from a personal tragedy he’s kept hidden. There is both strong backstory and character development in this piece, permitting the reader to see the full gamut of Cain Lemaire and his abilities to rise above it all. Others within the book offer the reader some interesting insight into life within many circles: the Secret Service, Cajun traditionalists, as well as the Japanese. All these groups highlight different portions of the book and shine their experiences on Cain Lemaire, who traverses through them with some degree of ease. The story was quite entertaining from the outset, leaving the reader to wonder if this might be a political thriller, with POTUS in the middle of a scandal, but soon develops into a wonderful story that takes the reader through a significant culture shock. The authors present the Japanese lifestyle quite effectively here, contrasting and comparing while also developing a great story that never loses momentum. There is something for everyone with his book and is sure to keep many talking about the superior nature of the piece, while others posit about the likelihood that Cain Lemaire will be back again. I’d read more from this collaboration if they ended up being as strong, while I also applaud James Patterson for finding someone who has upped what can sometimes be mediocre publishing efforts.

Kudos, Messrs. Patterson and Axum, for a great piece. I am eager to see what comes of your work and how others react to it.

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