NYPD Red: Book 1

NYPD Red: NYPD Red, book 1

‘NYPD RED: NYPD RED, BOOK 1’


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OPENING LINE:

When something happens to the rich and famous in New York City, NYPD Red is on the case.


PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY:

It’s the start of Hollywood on Hudson, and New York City is swept up in the glamour. Every night, the red carpet rolls out for movie stars arriving at premieres in limos; the most exclusive restaurants close for private parties for wealthy producers and preeminent directors; and thousands of fans gather with the paparazzi, hoping to catch a glimpse of the most famous and beautiful faces in the world. With this many celebrities in town, special task force NYPD Red is on high alert – and they can’t afford to make a single mistake.
Then a world-renowned producer fatally collapses at his power breakfast, and top NYPD Red Detective Zach Jordan is the first one on the scene. Zach works with his beautiful new partner, Detective Kylie MacDonald – who also happens to be his ex-girlfriend – to discover who the murderer might be. But this is only the beginning: the most brutal, public, and horrifyingly spectacular crimes they’ve ever encountered are about to send all of New York into chaos, putting NYPD Red on the ropes.
Zach and Kylie know there’s no way of telling what a killer this deranged will do next. With the whole world watching, they have to find a way to stop a psychopath who has scripted his finale down to the last explosive detail. With larger-than-life action, relentless speed, and white-knuckle twists, NYPD Red is the next mega-blockbuster from “The Man Who Can’t Miss.” (TIME)
©2012 James Patterson and Marshall Karp (P)2012 Hachette Audio


THE PLOT:

The mayor of New York has a plan to attract more movie and television productions away from California and into his city. When some heavy hitters in the film industry end up dropping dead, NYPD Red is called in to solve the case.
Zach Jordan is one of those NYPD Red officers. His regular partner is out on leave and so he is paired with Kylee MacDonald. Jordan and MacDonald have a history, as they were at the Police Academy together and developed a friendship. Unfortunately, the history goes deeper than that because they also used to be romantically involved and MacDonald is now married to an entertainment industry executive.
It is clear that Jordan in particular still has some lingering feelings for his new partner, evidenced by his willingness to sacrifice his life in order to save hers when it appears that they both might be blown up. It has the potential to lead to an interesting dynamic as the series continues.
I like the interplay between the two characters a lot. The relationship feels natural because they both have a similar sense of humor and view of the world. I found Jordan to be particularly interesting because of his sarcastic nature and commentary throughout the novel.
I found the interaction between Jordan and MacDonald to be a lot more interesting than the story itself. The antagonist is a more than worthy adversary, capable of committing some truly diabolical acts, but the plot doesn’t feel particularly fresh.
The antagonist and his girlfriend are scripting out a real life movie. It’s an interesting enough concept, but I feel like it’s been done better elsewhere. I will say that the plot does pick up at the right moments with a worthwhile climax and an unexpected hero.


THE AUTHOR:

This is the second of James Patterson’s book series to have New York as a primary setting. However, this is not a clone of the Michael Bennett series. See my review of ‘Step on a Crack’ for more about the tone of that series.
Where Michael Bennett places more emphasis on the family dynamic, NYPD Red feels more like a buddy comedy in spots. That’s a good thing because the world would be a lot less enjoyable if one or the other of these forms were to go missing from it.


THE NARRATION:

Edoardo Ballerini is a good choice to give voice to the protagonists. It isn’t hard to imagine that if you were to meet Zach Jordan, he would sound pretty much exactly like Ballerini does. Ballerini’s performance makes the book more enjoyable than it might otherwise have been.
As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, Jay Snyder has a tremendous voice. It is both smooth and full of confidence. I could probably listen to him narrate the phone book and be entertained. But as good as he is, I think I would have liked this book a lot better had his role been filled by Kevin T. Collins instead. The type of characters that Snyder is voicing are right in Collins’ wheelhouse. That sounds like a bigger criticism of Snyder’s performance than I mean it to be because he does take the characters he voices to some very dark places.


THE PRODUCTION:

This book is all that you would expect it to be given that it wasn’t released too many years ago. It sounds great because that’s how it should sound. All of the chapter stops on the audio track match the actual chapters in the book.
The music used at the beginning and end of the book does manage to strike the right tone of both sinister and intense. There are a few sound effects for explosions but nothing too intrusive if you’re not a fan of sound effects on your audio track.


FINAL THOUGHTS:

It can sometimes be difficult to assess the first book in a series. The book must accomplish a couple of things. It must be interesting enough on its own, so as to make the reader eager to come back again. It must also plant some seeds that will bear fruit later on down the road.
NYPD Red does manage to accomplish both of these tasks. However, while the plot is interesting, the idea of a killer scripting his murders like a blockbuster movie feels somewhat unoriginal.
The character interaction between Jordan and MacDonald is much more interesting. If you can care about the dynamic between the two of them, you will find the first NYPD Red to be an enjoyable enough read despite the too familiar plot.


QUICK FACTS:

Title Author Narrator Publisher Genre Release Date Running Time Score
NYPD Red: NYPD Red, Book 1 James Patterson, Marshall Karp Edoardo Ballerini, Jay Snyder Hachette Audio Mystery & Thriller 10/08/2012 7 hours, 7 minutes 6.75/10

DISCLAIMER:

A copy of ‘NYPD RED’ was purchased from Audible for review.


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