The Red Book

by James Patterson and David Ellis

Publishers Weekly Bestseller Patterson and Ellis’s melodramatic sequel to 2017’s The Black Book finds Det. Billy Harney back on duty after being put on paid administrative leave following his discovery of rampant corruption in the Chicago PD. As the face of reform, he couldn’t be fired after his “one-man wrecking ball to the police department that made Sherman’s march through Atlanta look like a sightseeing tour.” Now distrusted by most of his colleagues, the detective is shocked to get a plum assignment with the Special Operations Section, a newly formed elite unit, led by a police lieutenant who once arrested Harney for murder. The focus of the SOS is on a wave of shootings that has made the Windy City notorious nationwide. The shooter’s identity and motive prove to be more complicated than initially believed, and the overly labyrinthine mystery ends up connecting to a still-fresh trauma in Harney’s past. The fast pace compensates only in part for the formulaic plot and thinly drawn characters. This one’s for established fans only. (Mar.)

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Book list The incredibly prolific Patterson gets a lot of flack for the sheer number of coauthored books he releases over the course of a year, but his books continue to attract a devoted audience. This sequel to 2017’s The Black Book, also written with Edgar Award–winner Ellis (the author of several well-received novels of his own), picks up soon after The Black Book ends. Cleared of a charge of double homicide but still reviled by many of his colleagues, Detective Billy Harney returns to the Chicago Police Department and is surprised to learn that he’s being transferred to a newly created strike force. Stuck with an abrasive new partner (she doesn’t exactly hide her distaste for him), Billy must navigate an investigation into a quadruple homicide while doing his best to put his life back together. The book is crisply written in Patterson's familiar style, and Billy is definitely one of Patterson’s more interesting recent creations. Not merely a solid sequel but also a fine thriller in its own right.

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Kirkus Patterson and Ellis put their characters through hell in this hard-edged second installment of their Black Book series after The Black Book (2017). A young girl is one of four people gunned down in a “very, very bad” K-Town drive-by shooting in Chicago. Police are under intense political pressure to solve it, so Detective Billy Harney is assigned to the Special Operations Section to put the brakes on the gang violence on the West Side. His new partner is Detective Carla Griffin, whom colleagues describe as “sober as an undertaker” and “as fun as a case of hemorrhoids.” And she looks like the last thing he needs, a pill popper. (But is she?) Department muckety-mucks want Harney to fail, and Griffin is supposed to spy on him. The poor guy already has a hell of a backstory: His daughter died and his wife committed suicide (or did she?) four years earlier, he’s been shot in the head, charged with murder (and exonerated), and helped put his own father in prison. (Nothing like a tormented hero!) Now the deaths still haunt him while he and Griffin begin to suspect they’re not looking at a simple turf war starring the Imperial Gangster Nation. Meanwhile, the captain in Internal Affairs is deep in the pocket of some bad guys who run an international human trafficking ring, and he loathes Harney. The protagonist is lucky to have Patti, his sister and fellow detective, as his one reliable friend who lets him know he’s being set up. The authors do masterful work creating flawed characters to root for or against, and they certainly pile up the troubles for Billy Harney. Abundant nasty twists will hold readers’ rapt attention in this dark, violent, and fast-moving thriller. Top-drawer crime fiction. The authors are tough on the hero, but the hero is tough. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Kirkus Patterson and Ellis put their characters through hell in this hard-edged second installment of their Black Book series after The Black Book (2017).A young girl is one of four people gunned down in a very, very bad K-Town drive-by shooting in Chicago. Police are under intense political pressure to solve it, so Detective Billy Harney is assigned to the Special Operations Section to put the brakes on the gang violence on the West Side. His new partner is Detective Carla Griffin, whom colleagues describe as sober as an undertaker and as fun as a case of hemorrhoids. And she looks like the last thing he needs, a pill popper. (But is she?) Department muckety-mucks want Harney to fail, and Griffin is supposed to spy on him. The poor guy already has a hell of a backstory: His daughter died and his wife committed suicide (or did she?) four years earlier, hes been shot in the head, charged with murder (and exonerated), and helped put his own father in prison. (Nothing like a tormented hero!) Now the deaths still haunt him while he and Griffin begin to suspect theyre not looking at a simple turf war starring the Imperial Gangster Nation. Meanwhile, the captain in Internal Affairs is deep in the pocket of some bad guys who run an international human trafficking ring, and he loathes Harney. The protagonist is lucky to have Patti, his sister and fellow detective, as his one reliable friend who lets him know hes being set up. The authors do masterful work creating flawed characters to root for or against, and they certainly pile up the troubles for Billy Harney. Abundant nasty twists will hold readers rapt attention in this dark, violent, and fast-moving thriller.Top-drawer crime fiction. The authors are tough on the hero, but the hero is tough. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Library Journal The prequel to Downing's World War II Berlin-set "Station" series, Wedding Station introduces John Russell, an English crime reporter at a Berlin newspaper whose grim tales of everyday mayhem are increasingly swallowed by the darkness descending upon Germany under new chancellor Hitler. Graham's latest stand-alone, Danger in Numbers, a state police agent links arms with an FBI specialist on cults to solve a ritualistic murder in small-town northern Florida (125,000-copy first printing). In Kayode's Lightseekers, Nigerian investigative psychologist Philip Taiwo travels to a remote town in his country's south to probe the public torture and murder of three university students in what he comes to realize is a lot more than a moment of crowd madness. In her #ownvoices debut, London-based criminal attorney Matheson, of the City University Crime Writing competition, sets DI Anjelica Henley the unenviable task of stopping a criminal imitating The Jigsaw Man before the real hack-up-his-victims killer gets the copycat himself (100,000-copy first printing). In The Red Book, from Patterson and Illinois justice/Edgar Award winner Ellis (Line of Vision), Det. Bill Harney of the Chicago PD's Special Operations Section is fresh on the job and walking the finest of lines when the turmoil surrounding a drive-by shooting turns political (520,000-copy first printing). In Rollins's Kingdom of Bones, Sigma Force faces huge swaths of Africa where the populace has turned quiescent even as plants and animals become cunningly fierce; has the biosphere run amok or is fiendish engineering involved (250,000-copy first printing)?

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