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The Inn


The Inn

It is summer, which means that we can expect at least one vacation thriller from James Patterson. The warm-weather gift for 2019 is titled THE INN and finds Patterson ably partnering with Candice Fox, a much-revered Australian crime fiction writer who has become known in America not only due to her past collaborations with Patterson but also as a result of her own work, particularly the Crimson Lake series. This is somewhat of a different work for both authors, set solidly in the United States and featuring an ensemble cast of solid but damaged characters who bring their disparate talents to bear against a deadly force that threatens to encroach upon the peace and solitude they have eked out for themselves.

Former Boston police detective Bill Robinson is first among equals. He was involuntarily and disgracefully separated from the Boston police force a few years ago for reasons that are not fully revealed to the reader until the midpoint of the story. Robinson and his wife, Siobhan, retired to Gloucester to reopen a rundown inn that quickly functions as a vacation spot but primarily operates not so much as a halfway house but as a gentle landing for an isolated group of individuals who have quietly withdrawn to varying degrees from the world as a result of age, infirmities and disappointments.

"THE INN is full of action and violence, with Patterson and Fox stopping occasionally to build a new set of dominoes here and there in the narrative only to explosively knock them over later."

They include a former FBI agent who has become a journalist for a local paper; a bloodied but unbowed wiseguy; a writer who constantly bemoans the state of...well, everything; a war veteran who experiences violent flashbacks; a retired physician; and the county sheriff, a dedicated but hapless law enforcement officer who continues to get reelected to his post not because of his performance but rather as a “devil that you know” selection.

Two years before the events in THE INN take place, Siobhan was killed in a vehicular accident; as a result, Robinson himself is one of the walking wounded. The inhabitants of the inn function more or less well on a day-to-day basis, with Robinson’s law enforcement background occasionally called upon to assist the local constables in an unofficial capacity.

Everything changes when the scourge of opioids comes to town. It is aided and abetted by Mitchell Cline, a ruthless criminal who is bent on controlling the illicit drug in New England by acquiring his territory one geographical piece at a time. The tendrils of his influence are seemingly everywhere, and it becomes an all-out war when his business claims one of Robinson’s loved ones as a victim. The other regular inhabitants of the inn get involved to varying degrees, with each ultimately bringing their talents, such as they are, to bear when Cline extends his line of attack to the inn itself. Robinson soon learns that he has no choice but to bring the fight directly to Cline, which he does with some assistance from an unexpected corner. It may not be enough, though, unless Robinson can reach deep within himself and become just as violent and dangerous as Cline is.

THE INN is full of action and violence, with Patterson and Fox stopping occasionally to build a new set of dominoes here and there in the narrative only to explosively knock them over later. There are plenty of twists and turns. Not all of the characters who readers will meet along the way make it to the finish line, but the exit door is certainly left open for additional stories down the road. Fans of both authors and their collaborative efforts will find much to love here and no doubt will eagerly anticipate more.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on August 9, 2019

The Inn
by James Patterson and Candice Fox

  • Publication Date: March 3, 2020
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1538715449
  • ISBN-13: 9781538715444