No. 4 on my book list for the year was Black & Blue, a story from the James Patterson BookShots concept with Candice Fox.
Detective Harriet Blue is a sex crimes cop trying to join the hunt for a bad guy known as the Georges River killer. But it starts with her beating up some guy in a parking lot.
The disconnect made it a little hard to get into. Who’s the criminal here? But the real action starts at Chapter 5. Fortunately, since this is a BookShots book, that’s Page 9. (As I’ve mentioned before, BookShots are intended to be a quick story read in one sitting.)
It also took me awhile to realize the book was set in Australia, since the authors didn’t really spell it out. I suppose that’s a fault of my American-centered mindset, but when you’re talking geography, I figure clarity is key.
The detective finds herself unwillingly paired up with Tox Barnes, who is somewhat of a freelance cop floating from case to case as he pleases. (Again, this puzzled me. But hey, maybe Australia operates way differently than the American police forces I’m familiar with.) The other officers hate him because of something that happened long ago, and as Blue is now tied to him, this makes her life increasingly difficult as well.
There’s almost too much going on to keep straight, but the main part of the storyline eventually dragged me in. A woman on the run is holding a couple hostage on their boat, and she’s not afraid to kill. If you can make it to this point in the book, everything will start to make sense.
Multiple crimes are wrapped up in pretty short fashion at the end — with a pretty huge twist that isn’t elaborated on as much as you’d hope. The last bit eventually ties back to the oddball beginning, as well.
I’d say this one has a good concept, but a heavy edit would have made for a better book. Even splitting this story in two would help. Sometimes less is more!