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NYPD Red 3


NYPD Red 3

The NYPD Red series by James Patterson and Marshall Karp is a great example of plotting outside the box. The series concerns a special division of the NYPD that, rather than dealing with the hoi polloi, concerns itself with the travails of New York’s rich and powerful. While there are those who argue that New York’s Finest constitute a law unto themselves, NYPD Red answers to its police captain, who, in matters Red, answers to the mayor.

The go-to members of the squad are Detectives Zach Jordan and Kylie MacDonald, who have a romantic history that is past tense and a professional history in the here and now that includes some sharp-edged repartee between them as they engage in high-speed trips to crime scenes and the mayor’s office, all the while ignoring their lingering feelings for each other.

"Patterson and Karp provide plenty of surprises throughout NYPD RED 3. As a bonus, they also inject a number of New York factoids into the narrative."

That is really all of the back story you need to know if NYPD RED 3 is your first encounter with the elite squad, and it’s one that you will definitely want to pick up and take with you on your way to spring break, whether you are planning to be an active participant or intending to just observe the festivities. Things begin in fine, Patterson-like fashion with the introduction of Hunter Henderson Alden, Jr., a ruthless financier with a reputation to match. We meet Alden at the beginning of the new year as he receives notice that Tripp, his teenage son, has been kidnapped and is being held for ransom, a notification that is accompanied by the grisly presentation of the head of Peter, the family’s long-time chauffeur. Alden’s reaction to all of this is somewhat bizarre, to say the least, given that he attempts to keep Tripp’s abduction and Peter’s noggin a secret from one and all, including his wife and the police.

The discovery of Peter’s headless body next to Alden’s missing limo in Central Park soon puts Jordan and MacDonald on the case, and results in a significant bit of paring and thrusting as Alden pulls power and rank by obstructing justice. The mayor --- who was elected in no small part as the result of the financial contributions of Alden’s father --- enables him to get away with it to some degree. There is still, however, the matter of Tripp’s kidnapping. Lest you think that NYPD RED 3 is a simple matter of Jordan and MacDonald hunting down a missing high school student whose father insists is not missing at all, think again. Jordan’s abduction is not merely a case of ransom, but one of blackmail as well. Alden is not highly regarded by the public at large, but even as he has secrets that he hopes will never see the light of day, the person or persons who know those secrets plan to use the enormous payoff that they are demanding toward very different ends.

Jordan and MacDonald have to put their personal issues --- with themselves and their respective significant others --- on hold while they sort things out. The problem is that almost everyone they talk to is lying to them. Their only hope of solving the mystery, and perhaps saving Tripp’s life in the bargain, lies with two very unusual and highly surprising sources that, in turn, lead them to a couple of the biggest surprises of all. There is an even bigger problem facing Jordan and MacDonald. Even if they are able to close the case, can they achieve justice? The conclusion provides the answer, and more.

Patterson and Karp provide plenty of surprises throughout NYPD RED 3. As a bonus, they also inject a number of New York factoids into the narrative. While they don’t go overboard on them, there are certainly enough to give even a native New Yorker pause and education, while those of us who live elsewhere might want to check out some of the landmarks mentioned on our next visit. Patterson and Karp have a winning formula here that does not read like formula writing at all and hopefully will continue for some time to come.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on March 19, 2015

NYPD Red 3
by James Patterson and Marshall Karp

  • Publication Date: September 1, 2015
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1455584924
  • ISBN-13: 9781455584925