This is an entertaining thriller by James Patterson (JP) and co-author Marshall Karp. Since the banality of 'Zoo', I wondered when JP would produce another page-turner. Here we have it. Short, snappy phrases and chapters in the old style. This novel involves the NYPD high-profile response team 'Red Squad'. Their assignment is to oversee and protect a glamour event of celebrities gathered in red carpet style in Hollywood in the Mayor's Hudson Week. The challenge is led by Detective 1st Grade Zach Jordan. His regular partner is injured. He is teamed up with Kylie MacDonald as the replacement. They were an 'item' ('baggage' in American terminology). Kylie is married to Spence Harrington, a TV producer. Zach still has more than an urge on Kylie that he needs to suppress.
From the opening pages, the scene is set for the obvious. Despite the special forces and media attention in front of thousands, a famous producer collapses and dies over breakfast. The likely suspects are identifiable but they have their own script, agenda and deviousness not to be apprehended. With other well-drawn characters, psychiatrist Cheryl Robinson, a recently divorced friend of Zach, and in-charge Captain Delia Cates, Zach and Kylie are on the case. Not straightforward as events rapidly take a turn for the worse. More murders, often gruesome and horrific, clearly well-planned, take place, throwing New York into turmoil. The elite of the Red Squad is being led a merry dance into dangerous territory.
Patterson writes with control and the events that follow are lively and not without humorous touches with Zach and Kylie bouncing off each other. The chase for the calculated killer is memorable and tense as any thriller should be with added asides between the protagonists. The outcome may be predictable but does not preclude the tremendous action, suspense and fun that takes place before. This is Patterson with co-author at their best. It leaves plenty of opportunity for a follow-up with the personnel involved. Terrific novel with a hot plot and pace this is highly recommended and something of a relief for the author's legion of fans.