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Blackout    by David Rosenfelt order for
by David Rosenfelt
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2016 (2016)
Hardcover, Paperback, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I've long enjoyed the humor in David Rosenfelt's cozy Andy Carpenter novels (the last of which was Who Let the Dog Out?), but though the series has an effective formula, it's beginning to feel a little same old. Now here's an exciting standalone from Rosenfelt and, like all his standalones (think Airtight or Without Warning), it's built on an intriguing premise.

The lead is New Jersey state police officer Doug Brock, a loose cannon who went well off the reservation and broke off his engagement to fellow officer Jessie Allen after ruthless criminal Nicholas Bennett killed a young man whom he had mentored and planned to adopt. Doug has been jeopardizing his career by pursuing a private, obsessive investigation. Now, as the novel opens, his partner and best friend, Nate Alvarez, receives a phone call from him. Doug asks for backup and for Nate to call the FBI, but gunshots end the conversation.

Doug is badly injured and has amnesia, losing the last ten years of his life. Naturally, the Feds want to know why he had called for them but he can't remember. However, his personality hasn't changed and he's just as determined as before to find out what happened, this time by retracing his steps. Meanwhile, readers learn that Bennett is working with Ahmat Garsi, a known terrorist.

Doug has quite a team - 'It's not exactly a reincarnation of the Untouchables ... It consists of an overweight cop lying in a hospital bed ... a jilted female cybercop who's on vacation, and a thirty-five-year-old cop who has no idea where he's been or what he's done since he was twenty-five.' But they do get to the bottom of a convoluted plot, despite treachery on both sides of the law.

David Rosenfelt never disappoints and Blackout is one of his best, both for the thriller element and also for character development as Doug and Jessie try to reinvent a relationship blasted by tragedy and grief. Don't miss Blackout!

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