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Lion & Lamb


Lion & Lamb

LION & LAMB has at its heart a murder that will shake Philadelphia Eagles fans to their core. Two Philly cops, a veteran and her rookie partner, observe a Maserati driving recklessly and then coming to a sudden stop. When they approach the vehicle, they find a very familiar face dead at the wheel and covered in blood, the result of a few gunshots.

The deceased party is Archibald “Archie” Hughes, the Super Bowl-winning quarterback of the Eagles. Since the crime takes place in late January, it is about to impact the upcoming NFC Championship game that Archie was set to play in for a return trip to the Super Bowl. Adding insult to injury, someone has swiped the Super Bowl ring from Archie’s corpse. Once word of this shocking tragedy hits the press, the football world is rocked.

"Not only do you get to enjoy a terrific thriller, you are able to watch a classic game of cat and mouse between two slippery and well-heeled PIs."

LION & LAMB is yet another great team-up opportunity for James Patterson. This time, his coauthor is Duane Swierczynski, whose fiction and graphic novel work I love. The homicide immediately brings to light an obvious main suspect: Archie’s wife, Grammy-winning singer Francine Hughes. Many people are aware that Francine may be more popular than Archie. But what motive would she have for killing him?

As sides are drawn in this case, two well-respected private investigators are called upon by both the prosecution and the defense. First up is Veena Lion. Even though she has no respect for the district attorney, she will take his money for her high price tag to help him prove that Francine is indeed responsible for the murder.

On the other side of the legal aisle is Cooper Lamb, who is contacted by Francine’s lawyers to help establish her innocence. At first, Cooper turns them down. When they circle back to him, he says he will accept their offer only if he gets a commitment from them that he is seeking the truth, even if that means proving their client’s guilt. They agree to his demands.

Following these hires, we see Lion & Lamb meeting up for drinks at a local watering hole. They discuss the case and the roles they are about to play, as well as establish some ground rules. They agree to freeze Mickey Bernstein, the detective officially working the case whom neither of them can stand, and that their primary goal is to find the truth no matter what and support each other in that effort.

Lion & Lamb go along their separate investigative tracks. Lamb speaks with Archie’s teammates and has a nice sit-down with Francine herself. Lion also attempts to meet with Francine while looking at other potential suspects, like the big-time chef who is in deep to loan sharks and might be looking to shake things up for the championship game by eliminating the star player of the favored team.

Bernstein blazes his own path and is often trailing after Lion & Lamb, which is what happens when he gets the call about the very same chef being beaten and shot by unknown assailants. He has a better relationship with some of the important witnesses, like the owners of the Eagles. Regrettably for him, it gets him no closer to a solution to the case than Lion & Lamb.

The thrill in reading LION & LAMB is watching the various lines of inquiry converge as suspects are raised and cast aside. Can having a dedication to uncover the truth above all really prevail in a case full of complicity and corruption at every turn? As the tagline on the front cover reads, “They can catch a killer --- if they don’t kill each other first,” which doubles the book’s fun. Not only do you get to enjoy a terrific thriller, you are able to watch a classic game of cat and mouse between two slippery and well-heeled PIs.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on August 26, 2023

Lion & Lamb
by James Patterson and Duane Swierczynski

  • Publication Date: August 14, 2023
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • ISBN-10: 0316404896
  • ISBN-13: 9780316404891