I've been waiting months for this one, like a kid who knows his Christmas gift is cooling in his folks' bedroom closet. I virtually live from Connelly to Deaver to Lincoln/Child, and the notion of my favorite suspense icons bumping elbows filled me with unbearable, well, suspense.
So far, the waiting pangs have been amply rewarded. The TV crossover has always been a risky proposition, reliant for its success on good writing and an evenhanded plotline that displays the strengths and weaknesses of the dual (or dueling) protagonists. CSI Meets Without a Trace was a meeting of deductive/procedural giants and character insights. Hawaii Five-0 Meets NCIS: Los Angeles not so much. A previous mystery effort, Partners in Crime, was a satisfying but mixed-bag anthology where largely single authors crossed their own creations or featured their existing sleuthing partnerships.
FaceOff is the undiluted real deal. No fast-and-sloppy shorts to meet editorial deadline. No fleeting character cameos to satisfy the crossover criteria. These are genuine team efforts -- full-fleshed, plot-rich stories and novellas.
For me, the prize of the package (and winner for worst title) has to be Rhymes With Prey, Jeffery Deaver and John Sandford's collaboration of serial homicide experts Lincoln Rhyme and Lucas Davenport (a character from whom I drifted years ago for no good reason). The story could have been the fodder for a novel-length treatment by either writer, and the authors wisely divided up the investigating chores between forensic genius Rhyme and behavioral analyst Davenport. Plus, we're offered a new perspective on Amelia Sachs' relationship with Rhyme, insights into how working with the quadriplegic Rhyme has revived Davenport's memories of a past trauma, and a plot melding Rhyme's plot-twisting skills with Sandford's story-propelling sense of suspense.
Red Eye also scores big -- Harry Bosch is one of the last truly great cops in U.S. crime fiction, and Dennis Lehane's troubled Boston P.I. Patrick Kenzie has been gone from the literary scene far too long (save the powerhouse film version of Gone, Baby, Gone and the compelling print sequel Moonlight Mile it inspired Lehane to write). Again, this team-up showcases individual but complementary strengths: Bosch's quest to provide closure in cold cases, Kenzie's no-holds-barred obsession with rescuing lost youth. While the two team up in a fairly straightforward episode, the setup and rationale for their meetup are flawless.
Gaslighted is a wholly different delight. We enter to find Preston-Child's Agent Pendergast in a nightmarish fugue only he could land in, with echoes of past tragedies and cases. We then meet R.L. Stine's sinister Slappy the Ventriloquist's Dummy with an unacknowledged glance. The story resolves in a plot with savory quasi-scientific implications and a hint of supernatural intrusion. Well-done if extremely weird.
There's a sample. All I can say is, hey, guys, how about a sequel? Alex Cross crosses swords with Hannibal Lecter? Matt Scudder shares one of his '80s flashbacks with Kinsey Millhone? Alex Delaware tries his hand at analyzing Stephanie Plum? Well, maybe not that one,