It has been eight years since James Patterson and Howard Roughan published HONEYMOON, featuring John O’Hara, the tragically unlucky-in-love FBI agent. The appropriately named SECOND HONEYMOON is a somewhat unexpected sequel to that work, and it is a great one: a true potboiler --- and I use that term with the utmost love and respect --- with enough action, twists and turns to fill two books, with more left over.
SECOND HONEYMOON finds O’Hara’s job status resembling something that is less than a suspension but more than a vacation. With time on his hands, he accepts employment from a private party --- with FBI approval, of course --- who happens to be an extremely wealthy industrialist. Warner Breslow is the employer, and his son and newly minted daughter-in-law have been murdered while on their honeymoon in the Caribbean. Breslow does not have a great deal of faith in the investigative abilities of local law enforcement. But he is familiar with O’Hara’s skill set and, given that O’Hara is unofficially “between situations,” makes an offer that O’Hara literally cannot refuse.
"...a true potboiler --- and I use that term with the utmost love and respect --- with enough action, twists and turns to fill two books, with more left over."
Meanwhile, someone has started moving across the country from west to east in a seemingly random pattern, killing individuals who have but one thing in common: each is named John O’Hara. Sarah Brubaker, an FBI special agent who is a real up-and-comer, is assigned to the case, which becomes more and more puzzling with each apparently random killing. The killer is leaving cryptic clues at the scene of each murder, but they are more confusing than helpful, at least until Agent O’Hara’s path crosses with that of Agent Brubaker. It becomes obvious that O’Hara is the killer’s obvious target, but who and where will he murder before taking his final shot? It takes the pair a bit of time to sort it out, but in the meantime, more newlyweds are being slain.
Brubaker unofficially assists O’Hara in his investigation, and the two catch a break when they get a clue as to the identity of the killer who is interrupting honeymoons all over the country. The clue, however, gives them more than they bargain for, putting them at danger’s door in a way that they never expected. As for the O’Hara culprit, he is motivated by revenge against O’Hara for something that, interestingly enough, O’Hara did not do.
Meanwhile, O’Hara has revenge issues of his own with which to deal. The drunk driver whose actions killed his wife is about to be released from prison after serving a relatively light sentence, and he is having a difficult time reining in his own homicidal impulses.
Patterson and Roughan make for a great collaborative team. SECOND HONEYMOON picks the reader up and keeps things flowing right along. Another plus: despite being a sequel, it easily can be read on its own without referring to its preceding volume, though you certainly would be well-served by packing both in your vacation luggage this summer. As one might expect, romantic sparks are kindled between O’Hara and the feisty Brubaker. Hopefully, this pair will return; fingers crossed that we don’t have to wait another eight years for this to occur.
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on June 28, 2013