Wednesday, August 10, 2016

“NYPD Red 4” by James Patterson and Marshall Karp - Blood on the Silver Screen

NYPD Red 4 by James Patterson and Marshall Karp-book cover
We get small glimpses into their lives through cameras and newspapers, and what we see often furthers our belief that they really are different from us. We constantly yearn for what they have, yet at the same time we have no idea of what sacrifices that entails. Indeed, celebrities are somewhat of a mystery for many of us, almost seeming to live in an entire world apart, one reserved for a higher class of humans. But then there are always events reminding us that these are mortal people, with a head, two arms and two legs just like everyone else... events like murder, as it happens in NYDP Red 4 by James Patterson and Marshall Karp.

The NYPD Red squad is an elite task force that really has one mission: to serve the glitterati of the country, protecting them in every way imaginable and heading any major investigation that happen in those circles. We are once again introduced to Zach Jordan and his partner Kylie MacDonald, the heroes of the series' previous instalments. They have ahead of them a long but not unusual night: a chic movie premiere attracts all sorts of celebrities and paparazzi, and it's the NYPD's job to keep the whole thing safe. In one fateful moment, it all goes to hell as chaos breaks loose and someone decides to relieve the starlet of the evening, Elena Tavers, of the millions of dollars' worth of jewelry around her neck... leaving her dead in her limousine. Zach and Kylie get called in as they usually do in these high-profile cases, and at first things seem rather straightforward. Little do they know, it is only the beginning of a psychotic plan concocted by a ruthless maniac, with death and fame on his agenda.

For those who aren't already familiar with the NYPD Red series, let me just say that the novels can be read in any order, with each book dealing with a new and specific case. We get short introductions to the people that have appeared previously so you never feel at loss as to what's happening or who is who. What reading the totality of the series does bring is a better understanding of the main characters, the dynamic of their partnership, and basically their inner development... so feel free to pick them up in any order.

Anyhow, keeping in tradition with the rest of the series, the story goes at a rather quick pace, not leaving all that much time or room for lush descriptions and deep character development. We certainly do get a bit of those, after all it is important to properly build a setting and generate interest in the protagonists beyond their role in the case, but the action is what's really taking up the driver's seat. There is always something surprising waiting to happen, with the investigative thread taking us through more contrasting locales and jaw-dropping plot twists than can be counted. In other words, this novel is certainly an excellent exercise in relieving boredom.

While the subject matter of the book may be rather dark and brutal at its core, dealing with murder, corruption and decadence at the elite levels of society, there is a healthy dose of humour injected into the whole mix, mainly courtesy of James Patterson's co-author, Marshall Karp. His dry, sarcastic and dark style of humour (the kind that can be seen in his Lomax and Biggs series) really stands at out at certain points and helps tremendously in making the story more enjoyable and engaging, contrasting with the heftiness brought on by the horror the protagonists must face.

All things considered, while NYPD Red 4 certainly doesn't try to reinvent the genre, it remains a very solid and enjoyable addition to the series, a murder mystery thriller that can keep you hooked in until the end, all while making you laugh out loud throughout the journey. It's a book I recommend to fans of the genre as well as those looking to get acquainted with James Patterson and Marshall Karp's works.

James B. Patterson (March 22, 1947)

James B. Patterson (March 22, 1947)

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James Patterson is an American writer who has dedicated a large part of his literary career to writing murder-related thrillers, inventing in the process two memorable character-based series in Alex Cross and Michael Bennett. His most prominent works include Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider.

Marshall Karp

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Marshall Karp has been a writer his entire life, creating scripts for commercials, plays, sitcoms, and even a movie. Now, he has dedicate himself to being a full-time author. After five years of effort, he managed to publish his first book, The Rabbit Factory, which turned out to a be a real success.

More of the James Patterson's book reviews:

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