Harry Blue or Detective Harriet Blue is a tenacious, tough and yet impetuous character that will mystify, entrance and yet keep readers wondering what wild and crazy thing is she going to do next. When her brother Sam Blue is arrested for a triple murder she demands to see him but her request if denied. She wants to help with his case but instead her superiors send her to a place that is so dangerous, so isolated and not fit for any humans to live there. A mining community made up of prostitutes, drug sellers, dangerous thugs and someone who believes that anyone that defies what he believes in and does not complete their missions to his liking deserves to die. He is calls himself THE SOLDIER but although he lures his victims, taunts them and then mutilates them leaving them in pieces like a butcher cutting up a carcass of meat, no one seems to believe what is happening right in front of them until it’s too late. Blue is the top Sex Crimes investigator in her department an although she appears to be at the top of her game within this novel she will be tested, threatened, taunted and her instincts and mind stretched to the limit as authors James Patterson and Candace Fox take her out of her comfort zone into a place where murder is on the menu. Her brother Sam is in jail and is being held without bail for now and she is getting little from her bosses about his arrest. Sent to this makeshift town in the middle of nowhere where the landscape is dismal and the money made is in illegal ways selling anything from drugs, food, bootleg movies and more in order that these unfortunate residents find what they think is a better life. The characters are shady and the lowest pits of human society. Evil is also on the menu and those in charge of the camp could care less or believe that the three who go missing did not just leave their jobs and head somewhere else.
Enter Edward Whittaker her new partner and overseer who will not leave her side and yet you begin to wonder about his motives for even being on this assignment. Danger lurks everywhere when they arrive and realize that they have to share a donga or hut like building and their quarters are so close they hardly have room to breathe. The food is one step lower than prison food and the walls have bars making them look like makeshift prison cells. The people in this place resent that they are there but Danny is missing and when and if they do find him they will embark on an adventure or episode more deadly than anyone on the SCI Network or an Alfred Hitchcock movie. Danny is just one of the missing persons and yet when they inform David Burns the head of the camp he refuses to allow them to do their job and curtails them every step of the way. But why? They want to do interviews, search dongas and even get records of the criminal acts of these people but for some reason they are stopped and their superiors seem limited as to what they can and will share. How are they supposed to solve the case even when no one believes that there is a serial killer living there? Even worse she has the stigma of her brother and the accusations against him and Harry begins as the novel progresses to second guess herself and question her judgment and instincts.
Exploring the camp is dangerous as Richie and his crew make their presence known and Harry/Harriet has some close calls but tries to use her instincts and skills as a cop to take him down. But, that does not always work. Hiding in plain sight is the killer and she befriends some of the girls on the site to help her get the information needed to solve the case.
Harry insisted that they do a search of the mine to look for the missing young people but they refused to realize that there was a serious problem With Gabe Carter in toe and working with her and Whitt they thought that at least one of the divisional officers cared and would help them find out what happened to Danny, Hon, Tori and Amy. With no system in place to find these mine workers and no one concerned about anything but making money, their chances of learning anything and finding them was close to zero. Searching Danny Stanton’s bunk they found posters, photos and not much else. Things are stolen by the others and taken for their own. But, even though Harry was working this case within her thoughts and mind she could not forget that Sam was accused of torturing and raping three women and she refused to believe that he hunted them down. But, that was not her prime concern as she was told and the Chief, her boss have the three women there who claimed to be afraid to come forward but they finally did. Demanding the briefs, wanting to know more she was in the dark and kept there. So, what do the words Killer, Dark, Hunter and Vengeance mean in this case?
Harriet is impetuous, high strung and often does not think through her actions but she befriends a group called The Ocean Divine of the EarthSoldiers International Collective. Added in a man named Edward Linebacker seemed to be at the top of her list and his mannerisms and attitude seemed to match what she and Whitt thought the MO of a serial killer but were they right? Added she becomes too involved with a member of the mining community and her senses dulled she just might be next on the Soldier’s list. When asking for all of the mine’s CCTV from the past few weeks, the permission to interview the workers, the need to learn more about the drug sellers and much more she was stonewalled. It appears that even though she and her partner were the police in this town the mine’s bosses were in charge. But, on page 331 we see, hear and read the words of a killer. Finding herself and her partner locked in a closed space with practically no air and no way to get out Harry and Whitt finally realized that this case might be their last. When you in this place it is smart to let someone know your whereabouts or might never be heard of again? Harry will learn a lot about this mine, the secrets she will uncover beneath the surface and the harsh realities of what happened to these victims and the final scenes created by James Patterson and Candace Fox are heart stopping, frightening, thought provoking, illuminating and will take you the reader on a dangerous cyclone ride into the depths and pits of the mind of a diabolical killer whose mind and sanity will be questioned until the final outcome. Will Harry and Whitt survive what this person has put in place? What is the rationale behind the killings? What will the final fate of her brother be if she ever gets to see him before it’s too late? Detective Harriet Blue is outspoken tough, tenacious and at times goes over the top but with the right incentive and when her sparks fly watch out she is no one to take lightly or fool with. Whittaker her partner seems to center her at times and they make an interesting pair.
The ending leaves room for a sequel as Detective Harriet Blue still has more to come and more murders to solve. What’s next for her and will she remain with Whitt as her partner? Will she be back in the Sex Crimes Unit? When things get tough and the world looks dark do not see solace ever in a place called the NEVER NEVER! JAMES PATTERSON AND CANDACE FOX ALWAYS ALWAYS FIVE STARS
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine