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Book Author: David Rosenfelt

BLACKOUT by David Rosenfelt: Book Review

Doug Brock is a New Jersey police detective.  He’s honest, aggressive, and, some would say, a loose cannon in his pursuit of criminals.  So it’s no surprise that when Blackout opens he’s been suspended from the force for failing to follow orders.  But, Brock being Brock, that doesn’t deter him from following leads, even as he ends up in a hospital room, unable to remember the events of the past decade.

Doug had been mentoring an orphaned teenager whom he coached in baseball.  He was planning to adopt Johnnie Arroyo as soon as possible.  One night, as they walked along a Teaneck, New Jersey street after dinner, shots were fired at them from a passing car.  Despite Doug’s effort to shield Johnnie, two bullets passed through the young man’s body, killing him instantly.

Certain that he knows the man behind the murder, Doug disobeys orders and starts his own investigation.  Even being put on indefinite suspension doesn’t stop him, and in his downward spiral he has broken off his engagement to fellow officer Jessie Allen.  And then comes his phone call to his partner, Nate Alvarez.

Nate is frankly tired of the emotional basket case that Doug has become.  He’s received too many phone calls about Doug’s unofficial search for Johnnie’s killer, each one more strident and over-the-top than the one before, so only the fact that he’s Doug’s best friend keeps him on the line this time.  In the midst of the call, with Doug telling Nate to call the FBI, the phone on Doug’s end is dropped and Nate hears the devastating sound of two gunshots and then two more.  Then silence.

When Doug awakens five days later from his drug-induced coma, not surprisingly he’s exhausted and weak, barely able to speak.  However, much worse than that is the fact that he believes it is 2005, a decade earlier than the actual date, and that he is twenty-six, ten years younger than his true age.  He’s suffering from retrograde amnesia, with no guarantee that his memory of the last ten years will ever return.

Blackout is a gripping thriller that will captivate the reader from the first chapter.  The police department tells Brock that he apparently was investigating Nicholas Bennett, an important crime figure in the state, but as it’s obvious that Doug has no memory of Bennett or his probable connection to the shooting of Johnnie Arroyo, they withhold some pertinent information from him.

However, there’s enough information for Brock to disregard his captain’s orders to start back to work slowly; he’s frantically hunting his memory for his connection to Bennett and the reason why the crime boss would have tried to have him killed.

All the characters in the novel are terrific–Doug Brock, determined to regain his memory and discover what led to the shooting; Nate Alvarez, trying with little success to rein in his partner and finally agreeing to help him fill in the gaps in his memory; Jessie Allen, the woman Doug can’t remember he was engaged to; and Nicholas Bennett and Ahmat Gharsi, two men of widely disparate backgrounds who are working together to commit a horrific crime.

You can read more about David Rosenfelt at this web site.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her web site.

 

 

ON BORROWED TIME by David Rosenfelt: Book Review

A man and his fiancee are driving in her hometown in New York state.  A sudden tornado-like storm whips his car off the road and down a ravine.  When he regains consciousness, he’s surrounded by police and emergency technicians, and he frantically asks them to help him find his fiancee.  But she’s nowhere to be found.

That’s the hook of On Borrowed Time by David Rosenfelt. Richard Kilmer, the novel’s protagonist, is distraught and insists on going back to his fiancee’s parents’ house, where he and Jen have just spent four days, on the chance that she somehow got out of his car and was able to make her way back there.

But when the police take him there the house looks slightly different, older and less well-kept, than the house Richard and Jen left only an hour earlier.  And the woman who answers the door says that she’s never seen Richard before and that her husband has been dead for many years.  When Richard asks about her daughter, she slaps him across the face and slams the door.

Richard returns to his apartment in New York City, still reeling from the accident.  He talks to his two closest friends with whom he and Jen spent several evenings, but they say they never met her.  He goes to the art gallery she and a friend owned, and there’s a different business in that location.  What is going on?

Richard is a free-lance investigative journalist, so he decides to make his next story the search for Jen. After the story appears, he’s contacted by hundreds of cranks–some say they know where Jen is, some claim to be Jen, and some tell him they could get in touch with Jen on the “other side.”

But one night Richard gets a call that is very believable. A woman phones to say she thinks she knows who Jen is and can prove it.  She sends a photo to Richard on his computer, and when he opens his e-mail he’s looking at a photo of his fiancee.

The woman who called Richard, Allison Tynes, claims that her identical twin sister has been missing for several months.  Allie flies to New York from Wisconsin, and when Richard meets her she is, in fact, the double of his missing fiancee.  Together they decide to find out if Julie Tynes and Jennifer Ryan are, or were, one and the same person.

The chapters narrated by Richard  are interspersed with chapters narrated by someone called The Stone.  He is the mastermind of the plot involving Richard, Jen, and a mysterious drug that will make him billions.  But who is he, and why is he having Richard followed and his apartment bugged?

David Rosenfelt has written a real page-turner, a mystery with a touch of medical science fiction built in.  I don’t know how much of what turns out to be the core of the plot is “science” or “fiction,” but it certainly makes for a thrilling ride.

You can read more about David Rosenfelt at his web site.