cover image Lion and Lamb

Lion and Lamb

James Patterson and Duane Swierczynski. Little, Brown, $30 (400p) ISBN 978-0-3164-0489-1

This easygoing mystery from bestseller Patterson (the Alex Cross series) and Marvel comics writer Swierczynski centers on rival Philadelphia PIs Veena Lion and Cooper Lamb, both of whom have been hired to investigate the slaying of Eagles quarterback Archie Hughes. Archie was found shot to death in his Maserati on a freezing January night and missing his watch and Super Bowl ring. Chief among the multiple suspects is Archie’s wife, Francine Pearl Hughes, a Grammy-winning singer and film star who’s possibly even more famous than her late husband. Veena has been tapped by the Philadelphia district attorney to help build the case against Francine; Cooper is working on her defense. As their investigations develop, questions about Archie’s own innocence muddy the waters. The expected romance between Cooper and Veena is artfully handled, and Patterson and Swierczynski keep the core mystery breezing along, populating it with endearing characters including Cooper’s two preternaturally clever kids and his Rhodesian ridgeback puppy. Though the final reveal is a bit of a letdown, readers won’t much mind. This is a fun ride. Agent: Robert Barnett, Williams & Connolly. (Aug.)