The Execution: A Jeremy Fisk Novel
It would seem that Dick Wolf never sleeps, at least from a creative standpoint. Wolf is the creative mind behind the “Law & Order” franchise (seemingly playing everywhere on a television channel 24/7/365) and the newly minted “Chicago PD.” He also has created a thriller series featuring NYPD detective Jeremy Fisk, of which THE EXECUTION is the second in line (following 2013’s THE INTERCEPT). Those expecting Fisk to be a variation on a theme of Wolf’s more familiar video creations will be pleasantly surprised, for while the latest has a cinematic presentation, Wolf makes full use of the advantages that the written medium has over the visual. The result is a page-turning work that never stumbles from first page to last.
"This series has been a good one from its jump, and given the twists and turns that were trotted out near its conclusion, my instincts tell me that Wolf is just beginning to warm things up for Fisk and the good people of the NYPD."
THE EXECUTION is first and foremost a well-deserved tribute to the NYPD, which, on a daily basis, faces tasks and hurdles that other municipal police departments never encounter. Fisk’s department is responsible for overseeing security for the largely symbolic but nonetheless important signing of a narco-terrorism treaty between Mexico and the United States during United Nations Week. The job is supposed to be light duty for Fisk, who is still recovering physically and emotionally from the events in THE INTERCEPT, which involved the interception of Muslim terrorists crossing into the US from the Canadian border. The duty is anything but light, however. Detective Cecilia Garza of the Mexican Intelligence agency is accompanying Mexican President Umberto Vargas. Garza, know as “The Ice Queen” to her subordinates, is convinced that a deadly and legendary drug cartel assassin known only as “The Hummingbird” is planning to assassinate Vargas in a high-profile manner.
Shortly before leaving Mexico for the United States, Garza had been investigating a mass slaughter that appeared to be the Hummingbird’s work. When a similar mass murder occurs in Queens almost simultaneous to Vargas’s arrival, Garza is convinced that the Hummingbird is nearby and waiting. Neither Vargas nor Fisk play well with others, and each is used to getting his or her own way, no matter what it takes. As a result, the jurisdictional clashes that would ordinarily occur between the two law enforcement agencies whose jurisdictions overlap are magnified a hundredfold.
Gradually, though, the relationship between the unconventional Fisk and the unbending Garza goes from antagonistic to rough-edged to uneasy as the two experience a mutual respect --- and an unacknowledged attraction --- toward each other. Fisk, acting on equal parts evidence and instinct, ultimately becomes convinced that there is indeed a plot to assassinate the Mexican president and, against orders, initiates action to prevent the plot in a plan that may cost him his job as well as his life.
THE EXECUTION is shot through with subtle irony, utilized to good purpose. A plot thread left dangling at the close of THE INTERCEPT is resolved for well and good, and yet another is created to be dealt with in a future installment. The enigmatic Garza almost steals the book away from Fisk. She is too good a character to be utilized in just one novel, and thus it is my feeling that she may return somewhere in one of Wolf’s story universes. Fisk is a bit of a loose cannon, and all the more attractive for it. This series has been a good one from its jump, and given the twists and turns that were trotted out near its conclusion, my instincts tell me that Wolf is just beginning to warm things up for Fisk and the good people of the NYPD.
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 17, 2014