Book Review: James Patterson – NYPD Red 4

  • Originally posted on February 22, 2019

Detectives Zach Jordan and Kylie MacDonald are at it again — dealing with high profile crimes linked to the rich and famous and battling with inner-city politics whilst trying (and usually, failing) to sort out their messy personal lives with their respective partners and their own history.

The fourth edition follows on three months after breaking every rules in the book to catch a smarmy billionaire, who in any case wound up murdered before being bought to justice. Whilst reading this book, one quote from Delia Cates, the Captain of NYPD Red, repeatedly came to my mind:

I’ve learned my lesson with you two. Let the infractions pile up until we close the case.

I know little about officer protocol, but it doesn’t seem like Cates was successful in teaching Jordan and MacDonald in the interval as both clearly bent the rules on multiple occasions. And that quote goes a long way to explain why Cates did not step in and put a halt to their investigation. That, and an uncompromising political situation for Mayor Muriel Sykes and her husband.

NYPD Red is Patterson’s (and Marshall Karp’s) finest series. There is a clear formula for their collaborations: three complicated but fast-paced plots; seamless bounding between each of them, with the lines between their work and personal lives being blurred the entire time; and chaotic but satisfying conclusions with an army of twists and turns.

The blurb refers to a high-profile murder and robbery at a New York movie premiere leading Zach and Kylie into deeper and deeper trouble. But it does not mention the stealing of expensive equipment at hospitals across the city, nor the dangerous exploits of Kylie’s drug-addicted husband in his efforts to get a fix. As usual, the ‘NYPD Red’ franchise improves with every single book.

It is remarkable how Zach and Kylie achieve everything within a few times, each time fuelled only by two hours sleep, adrenaline and breakfast at Gerri’s Dinner. But I hope they continue to do it for several more editions yet.

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