Black and Blue: David Rosenfelt
Doug Brock is a New Jersey State Detective who was diagnosed after being shot with amnesia which is a type of memory loss that affects his ability to make, store and retrieve memories. But he has the form called retrograde amnesia which affects memories that were formed before the onset of amnesia. This type of amnesia in someone who develops it after a traumatic brain injury, causes him to be unable to remember events that happened in the years, or even decades prior to that injury.
Retrograde amnesia is caused by damage to the memory-storage areas of the brain, in various brain regions. This type of damage can result from a traumatic injury, a serious illness, a seizure or stroke, or a degenerative brain disease. Depending on the cause, retrograde amnesia can be temporary, permanent, or progressive (getting worse over time. Doug’s loss of memory comes into play right form the beginning when we learn about the first murder that might revert to a case before, he got this type of amnesia as Alex is killed in the same fashion as Walter Brookings. But he does not remember that case and his partner Nate, must fill him in. His girlfriend, Jessie is the head of the computer division, but this is just the tip of the murder iceberg as Danny Phalen comes back in this novel and is their prime suspect at first. The murder weapon in both cases is the same rifle M4 and the result is that they bring him in, and we once again meet Andy Carpenter his defense lawyer whose mode of defense and attack is as sarcastic and self-assured as Brock’s is when dealing with him. These two are a match but my next favorite character is BOBO, Jessie’s dog who realizes that although Doug is here to stay but he’s still her favorite.
Things get out of control as the killer leaves messages and has them mailed directly to Doug’s house leaving clues to what will happen next. If you ever read or recited the verses of 100 bottle of beer on the wall, then you’ll realize that this guy has about that many targeted to eliminate. Links to army records, school records and more are processed and yet they still think Phelan is their prime suspect, but is he?
Walter Gero is their next stop and questioning him they learn more links to Danny and yet another surprise when Helen Mizell a retired teacher in the area is killed looking like some of her students are marked. But, why kill Chuck the bellman, Delores the librarian, Danny’s ex-wife Cynthia , Richard, Decker a gas station owner, Alex a prominent lawyer, Walter was a rich businessman and this was just the start of a rampage that this killer has started and then we learn that he’s elusive as Julie Phelan, Danny’s daughter goes missing and her boyfriend reports it to the police.
With his LT Bradley giving updates as things happen but more deaths are coming as one is a librarian, another someone close to Phelan named Rodney Scanlan an old army buddy and then a note to Nate. Things get wild when Danny is found dead and the killer is determined to take more out why and who’s next?
As Brock and Nate question witnesses, they begin to form a thought that maybe the killer is after the insurance money, each member of the munitions team seemed to be targeted and Gero, Phelan, Scanlon, Brookings and Alex Randowsky seem related but who is the mastermind and why? Two rich men, one librarian, a retired teacher, William Gero, Phelan, Scanlon and Brookings and a random killing, why? The motive is extensively planned and the reason for the killings planned, coordinated and orchestrated by a killer that was hiding in plain sight.
As Doug takes on each witness and follows every lead, he seeks out the General and his LT who might have the answers. Danny Phelan, Rodney Scanlan and William Gero all are connected, and you won’t believe how. But someone wants them out of the way and the adage I’d do anything for money might come through as the motive for so many deaths. How many bottles will be left on the wall at the end of it all?
Author David Rosenfelt takes readers deep inside the mind and actions of a diabolical killer who at first appears innocent, seems to be committed to those he meets and yet when he reveals the history and this person’s past you won’t believe the motive behind the killings. But, first a bomb has to be defused and then those attending a reunion might survive, as Nate and Doug come face to face with a weapon pointed at them, who will take the shot and who will fall as the final scene takes on a sinister turn?
An old case that comes back after 18 years and reminds both Nate and Doug that Walter was shot through the heart. Murders that are similar, an investigation hoping to match the ballistics as a match but when it does, who really pulled all the triggers? Retrograde amnesia might be what Doug lives with. Member of the force realize that he is sharp, astute and right on target but with the aid of Jessie he just might pull it all off never letting his past and his lack of memory take over what needs to be done in the present. Remembering the past, focused on the present what happens will shock readers as Brock, Nate, Jessie and his team will stop at nothing to face off with this killer. Coordination between agencies, officers working together as the final reveal comes to light and the ending leaves us wondering about the Black and Blue. Each chapter heading reveals more as the author taunts and tempts readers to enter the world of those that might fall victim to the killer or allowing us to understand police procedures until a killer appears to have gone silent or maybe not!
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ network/MJ magazine
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