NYPD Red 3
by James Patterson with Marshall Karp
2015/ 384 pages
read by Edoardo Ballerina 7h 5m
rating: A / crime – detective
(#3 in the NYPD Red series)
“Hunter Alden did not live in the real world – he lived in the world of the 1% of the 1%.” Too bad, the head of his chauffeur, Peter Chevalier, is found in their garage and his the body in a New York City park. Happy New Year. Then it appears that Hunter’s 18-year old son, Tripp Alden, and his film-making friend, Lonnie Martinez, are missing – kidnapping is suspected.
I’ve read exactly one James Patterson book prior to this and I have no idea which one it was. I didn’t like it a bit because of all the anonymous gory violence. But … this book sounded good – and it was on sale – so I give the guy another chance. And it looks to me like I picked a winner – for its genre. (Even the others in this series don’t look this interesting – they sound like more serial killer mayhem.)
Fwiw, I know that most of Patterson’s books these days are written by other authors – a kind of “stable” if you will. I’m not completely opposed to that as I think it can give promising authors a chance to both learn and get noticed. This one is with Marshall Karp and I suspect he’s the actual writer of a good idea Patterson came up with – or at least developed into an outline – that’s the way it usually works. Otoh, the idea is rather original so maybe it was his idea and Patterson developed it a bit leaving Karp to do the writing.
It’s nicely written for a thriller of this sort, the dialogue is snappy and fun, the tension builds nicely, the characters are fairly well developed, the structure adds interest, and the plot has some surprises. I’m glad I read it.
It’s all about the money – or is it? Because there are lots of other things going on – things Hunter Alden will not share with the police or his wife, Janelle, or even his aging father, Hutch Alden. These are things which prevent Hunter from answering the phone with those folks in the room – even if it might be a ransom call. Hunter will not discuss anything with the police at all – not ransom, not information, nothing. Hunter says he wants to find his chauffeur’s killer and proceeds with his own investigation which has its own twists.
NYPD Red is the unit assigned to the case and Zach Jordan and his partner Kylie MacDonald draw the case. NYPD Red is on all the important cases involving Manhattan’s wealthy families. They’re good, but they’re cops, and they’re good cops – not open to corruption of any kind. Those two have an ongoing relationship which goes back a long way, but it’s supposedly on a back-burner for now. Besides, they both have ex’s they’re still involved with. Zach’s portion is often told in 1st person.
Hunter eventually gets the call – the ransom/blackmail demand. It’s way, way worse than anything which had crossed Hunter’s mind.
Part 2 delves into the story of Silas Blackstone, Hunter’s all-purpose man – Blackstone apparently does a lot of things for Hunter, has been doing them for a long time. The narrative switches to what’s going on with someone named Cane who has the boys and then goes back and forth between several characters. The tension kicks in at page one and only lets up for relationship matters between the cops – Zach Jordan and Kylie MacDonald.
So the question is – who’s pulling the strings? Who killed the chauffeur, who kidnapped the boys and who’s behind the person who actually did it? The ending isn’t great, but it satisfies.