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Saturday, March 5, 2016

NYPD Red 4

4.5 stars out of 5

Red is, for those who don't know, an elite NYPD task force that caters to the exceptionally well-heeled. When the crime is of a sensitive nature (meaning, often, that the political powers-that-be want it wrapped up in plain brown paper and buried under City Hall before the press gets wind of it), the team - notably Detectives Zach Jordan and Kylie MacDonald - is called in to do their thing. As the title suggests, this is the fourth book in the series, all co-written by Marshall Karp. I hope that writing team sticks together for the future, because so far, the series has been a winner in my book.

This one continues that streak; it's interesting, with several easy-to-follow story lines and kooky characters (one described as a person who "couldn't sell a five-dollar cure for the clap if it came with a four-dollar coupon") and just plain fun to read.

The various scenarios emerge early on, starting with the murder of a beautiful star on her way to a fancy schmancy movie premiere in Manhattan. She's shot while in her limo, and a multi-million dollar necklace is yanked off her neck - a one-of-a-kind piece designed by an egotistical, self-centered (to put it mildly) jeweler to the stars who loaned her the piece for the gala.

Just as Zach and Kylie begin to sink their teeth in the case (and Zach wrestles with issues involving his live-in love, an NYPD psychologist), they're summoned to the mayor's office. Expensive, highly specialized medical equipment is disappearing from the borough's hospitals; hospital officials, concerned that news of the thefts would scare away patients (especially since it appears to be an inside job) want the thieves corralled quickly and on the QT.

As if that weren't enough to keep the team occupied, Kylie's husband - a talented scriptwriter with a serious drug abuse problem - has left rehab for the umpteenth time and is missing. With the two NYPD cases taking almost every second of their free time, will she and Zach be able to find him in time to save him (again)? Will Zach be able to save his relationship with the woman he loves?

Short chapters (and, at 332 pages, a relatively short book) make it easy to put it down when life intervenes and the whole thing go quickly, so readers will get the answers in short order- and all in good fun. 

NYPD Red 4 by James Patterson and Marshall Karp (Little, Brown and Co., January 2016); 332 pp.

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