If you don't recognize Dick Wolf's name as an author, you may recognize it as the creator of Law & Order. He brings the same non-stop action and suspense to his second Jeremy Fisk novel, The Execution.
Detective Jeremy Fisk of the NYPD Intelligence Division sees himself as an elite cop. He's a member of the anti-terror unit modeled on the CIA. He survived the action that killed his girlfriend. And, he's the survivor of a stakeout in upstate New York where two Swedish Muslim militants tried to cross the border. So, a liaison job during United Nations week in New York City isn't exactly what he enjoys. Then thirteen bodies with no heads are dumped on a Rockaway beach.
Comandante Cecelia Garza has pursued a Mexican killer for years. He's a legendary figure in the Mexican war against drugs, a man known for his brutality and his artistic signature. When Garza is called to the scene of a brutal killing spree, she recognizes the signature of Chuparosa. "The Hummingbird" beheads his victims, and carves the picture of a hummingbird on a body. When she accompanies the President of Mexico to the United States for UN Week, she again recognizes his signature, thirteen beheaded bodies dumped on a Rockaway beach.
Just as in his TV shows, Wolf provides fascinating backstories for his characters, Fisk and Garza. While the narco-terrorism angle is interesting, it's Jeremy Fisk and Cecelia Garza, with their histories and their daily struggles in their job, that make the story realistic. Like Linda Fairstein, Dick Wolf is able to find unlimited stories in the streets of New York City. Wolf is quoted as saying, "The NYPD Intelligence Unit provides a goldmine of story possibilities for Fisk. As much as the threats - narco-terrorists in The Execution and Muslim fundamentalists in The Intercept - what also attracts me about these stories is the possibility of exploring the things that drive the people involved in counter-terrorism on a daily basis. And the psychological toll they face when they know that the only good days are the ones in which nothing happens. Coupled with constant anxiety about the cost of failure against enemies who are often unknown. This make Fisk an idiosyncratic, yet totally disciplined investigator."
Before I even finished The Execution, I recommended Dick Wolf's thrillers to a reader who said she likes some of James Patterson's books, and David Baldacci's. Now that I finished it, I have a pretty good idea that I steered her toward another pageturner.
The Execution by Dick Wolf. William Morrow. 2014. ISBN 9780062064851 (hardcover), 335p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.