Review: "Lion & Lamb" by James Patterson and Duane Swierczynski

     Lion & Lamb, the latest collaboration between James Patterson and Duane Swierczynski, is a fun and light-hearted mystery set in the City of Brotherly Love. When the Eagles all-star quarterback, Archie Hughes, is murdered days before the NFC Championship game the entire city swoons in despair. Archie is city royalty – not to mention the Eagles’ only chance at winning a Super Bowl – and his wife, Francine Pearl Hughes, is a worldwide pop-star, a beloved Philadelphia native and the prime suspect for the murder.
     The District Attorney’s office, to provide cover for the high-profile case, hires the city’s best private eye: Veena Lion. Not to be outdone, Francine’s attorneys hire the city’s other best private eye, Connor Lamb. In short order, Lion and Lamb – against Lion’s better judgment – team up (sort of) to “find the truth” about Archie’s murder. What they uncover marks them as targets by Philadelphia’s – Atlantic City’s, too – entire criminal class.
     Lion & Lamb is high octane amusement. It is told through memorandums, audio transcripts (illegally recorded by Lion and/or Lamb), text messages, and old fashioned third-person narrative. The interplay between Lamb’s smart-alecky personality and the other characters is hilarious. There is more than a passing resemblance between the relationship of Lion and Lamb and that of Nick and Nora in the film series based on The Thin Man, by Dashiell Hammett. The pair’s romance, budding but obvious from the start, is negotiated with perfection. The mystery is played with a sly wink and nod. Plus, there is some fine writing thrown into the mix, like this gem: “Her eyes found Cooper’s, and despite bleeding to death, she worked up a smile that melted his heart a little.”
     Lion & Lamb is a winner.


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