For detectives Cole Trane and Mollie Simmons, high-profile murders don’t usually make up their relatively quiet caseload. Their idyllic seaside city full of multi-million dollar homes, socialites, and wealthy businessmen is rocked by tragedy when an internationally-famous movie star is gunned down during a botched robbery. Determined to seek justice for the beloved actress, Cole and Mollie follow the killer’s trail as he leaves behind more victims in his attempt to escape. Their sleuthing soon uncovers a criminal network with ties to the Russian mob, shady business deals, and deadly assassins—putting themselves in the crosshairs. While Cole grapples with their romantic past, he and Mollie’s close partnership may be the only thing strong enough to stop a ruthless killer.
Jack Polo’s crime thriller THE PARTNERS reads like a screenplay—action-packed car chases, vicious shootouts, and a band of grim-looking assassins with thick Russian accents and two detectives in pursuit. Short, punchy chapters lend themselves well to the story’s brisk pace, bursting with rapid-fire dialogue and snippets of humor. The narrative moves swiftly, sometimes too much, though Polo has a deft hand with scene transitions and cliffhangers to ramp up the tension where it counts and keep the audience in suspense. The novel shifts between third person points of view and offers perspectives not just from Cole and Mollie’s end of the investigation, but from the killers and the sketchy, rich businessmen in the web of this far-reaching crime. These points of view add a level of intrigue to the narrative, detailing a brutal Russian killer’s messy escape while the detectives scramble to catch up.
In this mostly plot-driven tale, THE PARTNERS has quite a collection of interesting characters; Polo manages to make even the most minor of them feel real with a few details and some vivid prose. That’s why it’s a little disappointing that the two main characters, Cole and Mollie, never seem as fleshed out as they could be. Their witty banter and easy partnership is a highlight of the novel, but it feels like the story never spends enough time with them outside of the investigation to really get a sense of who they are. The remnants of their romantic tension simmers on the backburner, thankfully never overpowering the case at the forefront.
THE PARTNERS is a respectable entry into the thriller genre, with a fast-paced storyline and a solid cast of characters. Told with a cinematic flair, it’s an entertaining, tense ride into a world of lavish criminals and intrigue.
~Jessica Thomas for IndieReader