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Escape: A Billy Harney Thriller


Escape: A Billy Harney Thriller

James Patterson has written countless books with well-known figures, including former President Bill Clinton, sportswriter Mike Lupica and singer Dolly Parton. Also participating as co-authors are established writers, the most recent of whom is David Ellis, a judge and Edgar Award winner who has penned 10 novels of his own.

"ESCAPE meets all the James Patterson tests --- clear, sharp writing; an entertaining plot; and 121 chapters in 400 pages."

Ellis, who served as legal counsel to the Illinois legislature, garnered public attention for leading the impeachment proceedings against former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. In 2014, he was sworn in as the youngest-serving Justice of the Illinois Appellate Court, where he now spends his days writing judicial opinions. While not engaged in that staid and formal work, Ellis writes legal thrillers. His experience and solid writing ability are present in his solo novels, which make for enjoyable reading.

ESCAPE is the third installment in Patterson and Ellis’ series featuring Billy Harney, a Chicago detective who works in an elite unit that focuses exclusively on what we used to call “heater” cases, the high-publicity crimes that lead the evening news broadcasts. I am late to the series, but quite a bit has happened to Billy in the first two entries, THE BLACK BOOK and THE RED BOOK. He has had to endure the death of his wife, as well as that of his partner, and the imprisonment of his father, also a Chicago police officer. These unfortunate events all play a part in ESCAPE.

The book begins with the Chicago PD searching for a kidnapping victim. The action is furious, and Patterson and Ellis use the investigation to introduce Billy to readers and give them a thorough tour of the Windy City and its suburbs. Interestingly, the authors portray their protagonist as an officer who would make Chicago proud. Hard-working and honest to a fault, he cannot be bought but is willing to circumvent procedures and policies that he believes would prevent justice from being administered.

The cast of villains includes a sadistic sexual predator and an evil billionaire who believes his money makes him invulnerable to the criminal justice system. There is also a street gang whose members have infiltrated every aspect of Chicago life. While there are quite a few stereotypes here, the storyline still has some interesting twists, turns and tumbles. In the end, as you would expect, the good guys and gals come out all right.

ESCAPE meets all the James Patterson tests --- clear, sharp writing; an entertaining plot; and 121 chapters in 400 pages. Take it with you on vacation and enjoy it as you wait for his next book, which you know will be right around the corner.

Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman on June 24, 2022

Escape: A Billy Harney Thriller
by James Patterson and David Ellis

  • Publication Date: May 9, 2023
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1538752921
  • ISBN-13: 9781538752920