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An Ace and A Pair

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Detective John Stone of the NYPD has the best arrest record in the 43rd precinct. But he’s a dinosaur who belongs to another age. Detective Carmen Dehan has such a bad attitude that nobody at the precinct can stomach her. Captain Jennifer Cuevas wants them both out of the way and thinks they make a perfect pair. So she gives them the Cold Cases file – the cases nobody give Detective John Stone of the NYPD has the best arrest record in the 43rd precinct. But he’s a dinosaur who belongs to another age. Detective Carmen Dehan has such a bad attitude that nobody at the precinct can stomach her. Captain Jennifer Cuevas wants them both out of the way and thinks they make a perfect pair. So she gives them the Cold Cases file – the cases nobody gives a damn about. She has no idea just how hot a cold case can get. Ten years back Nelson Hernandez and his four cousins were playing poker in a dive at Hunts Point. Somebody came in, blew them away and beheaded and castrated Nelson, leaving his head and his balls on the table. There was no shortage of suspects, the Jersey Mob, the Triads from Manhattan, or the 43rds own bent cop, Mick Harragan. But nobody was ever charged, and the night of the murder Mick Harragan went missing with Nelson’s wife, Maria. Now Stone and Dehan plan to find him – whatever the consequences…


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Detective John Stone of the NYPD has the best arrest record in the 43rd precinct. But he’s a dinosaur who belongs to another age. Detective Carmen Dehan has such a bad attitude that nobody at the precinct can stomach her. Captain Jennifer Cuevas wants them both out of the way and thinks they make a perfect pair. So she gives them the Cold Cases file – the cases nobody give Detective John Stone of the NYPD has the best arrest record in the 43rd precinct. But he’s a dinosaur who belongs to another age. Detective Carmen Dehan has such a bad attitude that nobody at the precinct can stomach her. Captain Jennifer Cuevas wants them both out of the way and thinks they make a perfect pair. So she gives them the Cold Cases file – the cases nobody gives a damn about. She has no idea just how hot a cold case can get. Ten years back Nelson Hernandez and his four cousins were playing poker in a dive at Hunts Point. Somebody came in, blew them away and beheaded and castrated Nelson, leaving his head and his balls on the table. There was no shortage of suspects, the Jersey Mob, the Triads from Manhattan, or the 43rds own bent cop, Mick Harragan. But nobody was ever charged, and the night of the murder Mick Harragan went missing with Nelson’s wife, Maria. Now Stone and Dehan plan to find him – whatever the consequences…

30 review for An Ace and A Pair

  1. 5 out of 5

    Phrynne

    This one has been sitting on my Kindle for ages and now I wish I had read it sooner. It is really good! An Ace and A Pair is about a couple of detectives put to work on cold cases and the first one they pick up as a team is a doozy! There's lots of top quality police work, plenty of action and, best of all, two talented people working together to solve the crime. Detective John Stone and Detective Carmen Dehan seem at first to have nothing in common but they develop a terrific relationship with a This one has been sitting on my Kindle for ages and now I wish I had read it sooner. It is really good! An Ace and A Pair is about a couple of detectives put to work on cold cases and the first one they pick up as a team is a doozy! There's lots of top quality police work, plenty of action and, best of all, two talented people working together to solve the crime. Detective John Stone and Detective Carmen Dehan seem at first to have nothing in common but they develop a terrific relationship with a great deal of humour! This is a fast paced read made even more intriguing by Stone's methods and abilities. A nice little twist at the end left this reader at least totally happy. Now I have to read book 2.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    This was a quick, fast paced murder mystery with two quirky NYDP detectives paired up for the first time. After 28 years with the NYPD, John Stone is regarded by his Captain, Jennifer Cuevas as a dinosaur who won't use new technology and methods so despite his record in Homicide she assigns him to Cold Cases. She teams him up with Carmen Dehan, an unpopular, short and feisty detective with attitude. What Cuevas didn't count on was that together they make a great team. Their first case is a ten y This was a quick, fast paced murder mystery with two quirky NYDP detectives paired up for the first time. After 28 years with the NYPD, John Stone is regarded by his Captain, Jennifer Cuevas as a dinosaur who won't use new technology and methods so despite his record in Homicide she assigns him to Cold Cases. She teams him up with Carmen Dehan, an unpopular, short and feisty detective with attitude. What Cuevas didn't count on was that together they make a great team. Their first case is a ten year old gang based murder of five men at a poker game. But not your usual gangland killing. All the men were found seated at the table; no scuffle or retaliatory gunfire from the victims, their money gone but a big stash of drugs left at the scene. Was it the Mexicans, Chinese or Mafia or was something else going on here? Despite this being a short book, the plot is well developed with some nice twists as Stone and Dehan put together a plausible scenario. The chemistry between the pair, with a touch of humour thrown in, made it a fun read and I'm glad to discover there are another 22 books in the series.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sandy

    3.5 stars Good start to the series. Two misfit cops in NYC are paired up & "promoted" to handle cold case files. He's a bit of a dinosaur, she's a woman who *gasp* dares to speak her mind. I really enjoyed their interaction & there's a cracking old mystery to unravel. Solid police procedural with a slight nod towards the hardboiled end of the spectrum & I've already picked up books 2 & 3. 3.5 stars Good start to the series. Two misfit cops in NYC are paired up & "promoted" to handle cold case files. He's a bit of a dinosaur, she's a woman who *gasp* dares to speak her mind. I really enjoyed their interaction & there's a cracking old mystery to unravel. Solid police procedural with a slight nod towards the hardboiled end of the spectrum & I've already picked up books 2 & 3.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kathi Defranc

    Great Cop book, with detectives who are quick-witted and street smart Interesting tale of a couple detectives who the Captain wants out of the way, the male,John Stone, cause he is in the way of new technology, and a female,Carmen Dehan, is not liked by anyone due to her attitude. They are thrown together to be a cold case team, given a box of old cases to choose from. They work together well, using some old-school police investigation to find a 10 year old case to be their first. There is police Great Cop book, with detectives who are quick-witted and street smart Interesting tale of a couple detectives who the Captain wants out of the way, the male,John Stone, cause he is in the way of new technology, and a female,Carmen Dehan, is not liked by anyone due to her attitude. They are thrown together to be a cold case team, given a box of old cases to choose from. They work together well, using some old-school police investigation to find a 10 year old case to be their first. There is police corruption, Mob involvement and several gangs, from Chinese to Mexican. The adventures the two encounter during the investigation are fun, the chemistry between the two perfect and the twists keep the correct answer to the question of who killed a drug dealer from your mind until the end. Those who enjoy detective stories and good adventures will enjoy reading this book. I am definitely looking to read the next.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lynda Kelly

    This just isn't for me at all. I gave it to 15% but gave in then. I thought the premise of pairing these 2 very different police personnel together to form a cold-case squad was great but the first case revolves around the Mob and gangs and Triads and they just hold no interest for me whatsoever. However, I've put the next instalment on my wishlist as that sounds more like the type of story I hoped this one would be. I like both Carmen and John and I'm sure they're going to be a terrific team but This just isn't for me at all. I gave it to 15% but gave in then. I thought the premise of pairing these 2 very different police personnel together to form a cold-case squad was great but the first case revolves around the Mob and gangs and Triads and they just hold no interest for me whatsoever. However, I've put the next instalment on my wishlist as that sounds more like the type of story I hoped this one would be. I like both Carmen and John and I'm sure they're going to be a terrific team but it just wasn't the storyline for me in this instance... As for errors I spotted-this I thought was peculiar English-"I have the best successful arrest record..." then sentences lost words, like 'bags potato chips' or 'into vegetable drink' but nothing really frightful. I'm definitely going to give the next one a try, though. It sounds like a series I'd really enjoy.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rich

    I am fighting to get out of reading slump and hate to say it I am still mired in it after this book. It barley escapes the dread one start rating 2.1. I had many problems with is story and the first one was a big one. I could believe the two main characters were New York Detectives it failed that big test. The case they were working on was a very bad choice. If you were put in charge of a two person cold case team this would be the first case you would go after I have to agree with other reviewe I am fighting to get out of reading slump and hate to say it I am still mired in it after this book. It barley escapes the dread one start rating 2.1. I had many problems with is story and the first one was a big one. I could believe the two main characters were New York Detectives it failed that big test. The case they were working on was a very bad choice. If you were put in charge of a two person cold case team this would be the first case you would go after I have to agree with other reviewers. The story was also chased its own tail too much and the other characters were way to flat and the dialogue weak. I skimmed the last 50 percent of the book-something I only do 1 or 2 percent of the time.I gave him 2 stars because I have read way worse lol. I would say skip this book and give something else a spin.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Joyce

    I don’t know what I was expecting in this book it it definitely wasn’t this. It was an intelligent procedural in which the two protagonists were NYPD homicide detectives, one closer to retirement than not and the other a brash young woman. They were partnered on cold cases by a Captain who wanted to be rid of both of them not because they were not competent but because she preferred to work with the new rising stars. They find a ten year old murder in which four gangsters were murdered at a poke I don’t know what I was expecting in this book it it definitely wasn’t this. It was an intelligent procedural in which the two protagonists were NYPD homicide detectives, one closer to retirement than not and the other a brash young woman. They were partnered on cold cases by a Captain who wanted to be rid of both of them not because they were not competent but because she preferred to work with the new rising stars. They find a ten year old murder in which four gangsters were murdered at a poker game and their sellable stash of drugs was not touched. They also found a bad cop who used their present Captain as an alibi. I won’t go into anymore detail because of spoilers, but it is filled with action and intelligence. Thanks to the Author and Publisher for an e-Galley for an honest review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alexis

    When I get books for free that have muddled, poorly written plots or weak characters, I tend to give them two stars, on a sense of goodwill - becoming an author is grueling work, and I respect that, and I want the best for the author even if the book is a miss. That being said, this book worked very hard to kill any goodwill I had for it. The misogyny in this book was heavy. We cannot meet a character without hearing if she’s attractive to the protagonist, and then if she’s not how she’s villaini When I get books for free that have muddled, poorly written plots or weak characters, I tend to give them two stars, on a sense of goodwill - becoming an author is grueling work, and I respect that, and I want the best for the author even if the book is a miss. That being said, this book worked very hard to kill any goodwill I had for it. The misogyny in this book was heavy. We cannot meet a character without hearing if she’s attractive to the protagonist, and then if she’s not how she’s villainized. The book opened on this, and I admit I read on just to see how much worse it could get - on the first page there is the line, “She had all the right bits in all the right places, but she was somehow unlovable.” I mean, where does one go from there? “Here’s my superior, shes fuckable but like,, a bitch” just sets such a precedent. Similarly, Dehan’s character is not so much a character as she is an accessory for Stone (this is common in detective duos, but his attraction to her /and/ his talking down to her /plus/ the age gap just left a bad taste in my mouth). To make up for that they give her masculine behavior, a clear “see? It’s a strong female character! She likes beer and steak!” instead of actually giving her a sense of personhood. (Note: the characters in this book are obsessed with eating steak. It crops up so often it feels like an overarching theme of the piece. These people ate more steak in a week than wolves do when terrorizing cattle farmers). The text calls her smart several times, but it refuses to let her actually demonstrate it, because were she to do so Stone’s masculinity would be undermined, and the text refuses to even think of doing that. Stone was, quite frankly, a blatant self insert. The entire book felt masturbatory in nature - he’s old and “cool” (to quote Dehan) and the only people who dislike him are villains, and his views on other genders or races aren’t biased, they’re “real.” I’m not asking him to be socially liberated, but could you at least make his behaviors/biases interesting? This archetype has been done a thousand times, and seldom done well. He’s not complicated, he’s a caricature. The piece also adores racial stereotypes, which the protagonist even admits to: “I’m a stereotypic dinosaur. We live up to our stereotypes.” It mostly exaggerates Irish and Hispanic stereotypes, but there’s a brief sprinkle of antisemetic ones too, if memory serves - I was already confident on giving this book a 1 star rating when I reached it so I did not take notes. In specific they love to make fun of people’s accents when pronouncing the word “fuck.” It’s meant to be humorous, but quite frankly I have more respect for a bilingual drug dealer than I do for a man who says “lol it’s fuck not fock, get it right” (paraphrased). How could anyone be sympathetic to this protagonist? (And if the argument is that this is to show he’s flawed, then why are his actions never treated as negative? The tone of the text around this is, “oh, what a badass!” not “wow, okay asshole, how does that help the case?”) To close, my favorite line was “I get deep like that sometimes” in reference to one of the rare uses of simile. It made me outright laugh.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mike Mackey

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This was an excellent Read. Detective John Stone of the NYPD Has an excellent Record of Solved Cases. But he is considered an old fashioned, non tech (OLD) Detective. His Boss calls him a Dinosaur and tries to get him to retire. When He says he won’t, She puts him in charge of “Cold Cases” and also gives him as a partner the detective who is most disliked and has the biggest attitude in the Department. Detective Carmen Dehan is as thrilled as Detective Stone is, about this pairing. The First cas This was an excellent Read. Detective John Stone of the NYPD Has an excellent Record of Solved Cases. But he is considered an old fashioned, non tech (OLD) Detective. His Boss calls him a Dinosaur and tries to get him to retire. When He says he won’t, She puts him in charge of “Cold Cases” and also gives him as a partner the detective who is most disliked and has the biggest attitude in the Department. Detective Carmen Dehan is as thrilled as Detective Stone is, about this pairing. The First case they pick has an unsolved murder of Five Gangsters, the disappearance of a local girl, and a Cop on the take!! Did I tell you there also was a collection from the gangsters illegal activities of about 5 million Dollars Missing. This Story takes you all over the United States and into Chinese Triads, Mexican Gangs and the Mob. The Author Blake Banner weaves a Story that you want to finish in One Reading (Don’t Worry, you can’t) and it keeps you busy trying to Figure out Who actually did it! But you Know ......as usual this is all you get so it does not ruin your Read! The Good News is, it is the First Book in the Series “Dead Cold Cases”. Enjoy your Read , I sure did! Santa Mike

  10. 4 out of 5

    Betsy

    This was a free e-book advertised for fans of Harlan Coben. Well, it isn't Harlan Coben, but it isn't bad. A very fast read, it has a few too many moving parts and needs more detail. The plot is complicated and is written in a way that requires too much exposition. It would have been better if the reader was led to see how things developed. The ending was kind of a rabbit-out-of-a-hat, again requiring explanation (not all of which made sense) from the "hero". In spite of these flaws it was still This was a free e-book advertised for fans of Harlan Coben. Well, it isn't Harlan Coben, but it isn't bad. A very fast read, it has a few too many moving parts and needs more detail. The plot is complicated and is written in a way that requires too much exposition. It would have been better if the reader was led to see how things developed. The ending was kind of a rabbit-out-of-a-hat, again requiring explanation (not all of which made sense) from the "hero". In spite of these flaws it was still an enjoyable read. The author claims to be writing a book or two a month. Maybe he should slow down and put more effort into fewer books.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ted Tayler

    "The devil is in the detail" This is the type of thriller I like. Two solid characters thrown together on a series of cold cases. There's mileage in this and I can see it being portrayed on the small screen very soon. Stone and Dehan make a great pairing, proving that opposites attract. The action comes in bursts and it's brutal and painful. The methodology, the motivation and the suspects in the Nelson slaying are analysed in great detail. Theories are explored and cast aside as more evidence is "The devil is in the detail" This is the type of thriller I like. Two solid characters thrown together on a series of cold cases. There's mileage in this and I can see it being portrayed on the small screen very soon. Stone and Dehan make a great pairing, proving that opposites attract. The action comes in bursts and it's brutal and painful. The methodology, the motivation and the suspects in the Nelson slaying are analysed in great detail. Theories are explored and cast aside as more evidence is uncovered. The truth will out; it's just a matter of time. I can't wait to read another one.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ricardo

    Fast-paced, entangling mystery with less police procedures and more deduction work than expected. It probably gets more complicated that it should around mid-point, with way too many stakeholders crowding possibilities and diluting clues. The Chinese Triads, for instance, are frequently mentioned but only appear in a brief cameo. Down the (Texan Desert open) road, the author gets a better grip and dialogues his way through more or less satisfactory explanations. But it's all cool; the characters Fast-paced, entangling mystery with less police procedures and more deduction work than expected. It probably gets more complicated that it should around mid-point, with way too many stakeholders crowding possibilities and diluting clues. The Chinese Triads, for instance, are frequently mentioned but only appear in a brief cameo. Down the (Texan Desert open) road, the author gets a better grip and dialogues his way through more or less satisfactory explanations. But it's all cool; the characters are jewels of cliché, and the whole thing's far better than most "cold case/procedurals" churned out by televised entertainment. Even if I couldn't do more than read it on-and-off during life's brief intervals, finished the book in two days, scoring myself a quick count towards my Reading Challenge. I will most likely read another one in the series, especially if it shows up at a discount rate somewhere.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Quillracer

    When I started this book, I had trouble getting into it because of the many production errors – missed and wrong words and the like – in it. But as I read further, their frequency went way down and I got caught up in the story. Banner tosses plenty of twists in the story to keep the reader guessing the right outcome. I had a pretty good lock on it about halfway through the book. Banner has a good way with words, creating some interesting imagery. And he avoided that tired old storyline of having When I started this book, I had trouble getting into it because of the many production errors – missed and wrong words and the like – in it. But as I read further, their frequency went way down and I got caught up in the story. Banner tosses plenty of twists in the story to keep the reader guessing the right outcome. I had a pretty good lock on it about halfway through the book. Banner has a good way with words, creating some interesting imagery. And he avoided that tired old storyline of having the main character and his female co-star fall into bed the night of the day they met. There is something there between them, but whether it will evolve into something more remains to be seen. I’ll have my eye out for more books in this series. P. S. Amazon still hasn’t mastered the art of numbering the pages in their downloads. Come on, Amazon, it can’t be that hard.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Chloe Playle

    Would give 0 rating if I could. Ugh, just ugh.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Frank Kelso

    Fun read with great chemistry between the characters. It keeps you guessing about who the real bad guys are, particularly since they debate it between themselves. Liked the way they tied up loose ends at the end. The first in a series with these protagonists. Look forward to reading the others.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Betty Adams

    I didn't like either character so am unsure if I will read anything else in the series. I didn't like either character so am unsure if I will read anything else in the series.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Angela Verdenius

    Really enjoyed this story. I did not see the twist coming at the end, it was a real surprise. Like how the 2 characters interact with each other. A promising series that I'm going to follow! Really enjoyed this story. I did not see the twist coming at the end, it was a real surprise. Like how the 2 characters interact with each other. A promising series that I'm going to follow!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Not a bad start to a crime series. I thought the characters were fairly well written and I liked how the two protagonists slowly bonded as the story went on. Apparently the character of Dehan was not well liked by her fellow police officers but I couldn't really figure out why. I didn't find her character to be overly brash or unlikeable. It would have been good to have a bit more backstory on the two main characters and how they get to the point where the story starts. The mystery behind the st Not a bad start to a crime series. I thought the characters were fairly well written and I liked how the two protagonists slowly bonded as the story went on. Apparently the character of Dehan was not well liked by her fellow police officers but I couldn't really figure out why. I didn't find her character to be overly brash or unlikeable. It would have been good to have a bit more backstory on the two main characters and how they get to the point where the story starts. The mystery behind the story kept me guessing until the very end which is a good thing. However, I found parts of the story were confusing and took giant leaps without really explaining why the main character decided to go there. For example (view spoiler)[ when Stone suddenly decides to drive the countryside to look for an abandoned truck. I just don't know why he decided suddenly that the truck would be out there somewhere, and driving willy nilly all through a large area in search of a vehicle possibly abandoned 10 years earlier seems like a colossal waste of time. At least without having some clue that it was indeed there and a rough idea of where that might be. (hide spoiler)] . All in all, the story was a decent start to a series and I will likely read the next one. I hope that there's a little more connecting of the dots in the next one.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    Really enjoyed this. Older detective and younger (and patience-filled!?!) cop - good and entertaining pairing. Nice to read this kind for a change. Well narrated.

  20. 4 out of 5

    dennis barron

    An Ace and a Pair. Blake Banner This is the first book in this series. It's a classic murder mystery. An epic who dunnit. Detectives Stone and Dehan at first glance are an unlikely pair. Stone is a seasoned New York homicide detective. Set in his ways. Kisses no one's ass regardless of their rank. He's also a dinosaur. He can piss people off with his demeanor. Dehan is short in tenure, but her abilities are respected. Her personality irritates everyone. As a female, it's a shield she uses to keep An Ace and a Pair. Blake Banner This is the first book in this series. It's a classic murder mystery. An epic who dunnit. Detectives Stone and Dehan at first glance are an unlikely pair. Stone is a seasoned New York homicide detective. Set in his ways. Kisses no one's ass regardless of their rank. He's also a dinosaur. He can piss people off with his demeanor. Dehan is short in tenure, but her abilities are respected. Her personality irritates everyone. As a female, it's a shield she uses to keep the sharks at bay. So in actuality they quickly gel. They are a perfect match for each other. This is a cold case investigation with enough twists and turns to get you dizzy. An excellent read! Enjoyed immensely!!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Vicki Ceara

    Great for mystery lovers that like hardboiled detectives and a little noir! I love almost any kind of mystery. But load me up with more of these please! Two detectives that barely get along with anyone are thrown together and the antics begin. From a case that truly seemed unsolvable to me ( and that's a feat in itself), to the joys of eating a perfect steak-- this book never let me down for a minute. I'm sure I didn't put it down for very long either. Kudos to you, and your quirky team of detect Great for mystery lovers that like hardboiled detectives and a little noir! I love almost any kind of mystery. But load me up with more of these please! Two detectives that barely get along with anyone are thrown together and the antics begin. From a case that truly seemed unsolvable to me ( and that's a feat in itself), to the joys of eating a perfect steak-- this book never let me down for a minute. I'm sure I didn't put it down for very long either. Kudos to you, and your quirky team of detectives!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jim A

    Assigned to the cold case squad because he's a 'dinosaur', John Stone is teamed up with Carmen Dehan who is thought to be a 'smart ass'. They dig into a murder case from 10 years earlier. While investigating the case they run into crooked cops, Mexican Cartel, Italian Mob, and Chinese Triad. Many twists and turns to this. Many false trails the detectives try to sort out. Excellent story. One of the better police thrillers I've read in a while. Assigned to the cold case squad because he's a 'dinosaur', John Stone is teamed up with Carmen Dehan who is thought to be a 'smart ass'. They dig into a murder case from 10 years earlier. While investigating the case they run into crooked cops, Mexican Cartel, Italian Mob, and Chinese Triad. Many twists and turns to this. Many false trails the detectives try to sort out. Excellent story. One of the better police thrillers I've read in a while.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alexia Dvorak

    Loved the dynamic between the two detectives. The book took on many twists and turns and ended up at a place I wasn't really expecting. Intriguing. Loved the dynamic between the two detectives. The book took on many twists and turns and ended up at a place I wasn't really expecting. Intriguing.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bruce Perrin

    An Enjoyable Police Procedural with a Few Convenient Discoveries If you’re a fan of police procedurals, chances are you’ll enjoy An Ace and A Pair. The story hits the ground running, with the ‘dinosaur’ of an NYPD detective, John Stone, partnered with attractive, but generally disliked Detective Carmen Dehan. They’re relegated to cold cases, and after shuffling through boxes of them, Stone picks the ten-year old, Nelson Hernandez file with the well-reasoned justification of “This one always inter An Enjoyable Police Procedural with a Few Convenient Discoveries If you’re a fan of police procedurals, chances are you’ll enjoy An Ace and A Pair. The story hits the ground running, with the ‘dinosaur’ of an NYPD detective, John Stone, partnered with attractive, but generally disliked Detective Carmen Dehan. They’re relegated to cold cases, and after shuffling through boxes of them, Stone picks the ten-year old, Nelson Hernandez file with the well-reasoned justification of “This one always interested me.” Soon, the list of suspects from that gangland-style execution looks like a who’s who of the criminal world with the New Jersey Mob, a Chinese gang (the Triads), a Latino gang (the Angeles de Satanas), and one or more bent NYPD cops all making appearances. As Stone and Dehan track down leads, it becomes apparent that someone believes the score still needs to be settled – their ‘persons of interest’ start to die. It all ends with a finale that caught me by surprise…and I was sure I knew. The downside to An Ace and A Pair is that Stone’s detective work involved some quite improbable deductive leaps. For example, at one point the New York detective comes to the barren plains of Texas and finds an abandoned car that no one seems to have noticed in ten years. Really? A lot of his discoveries are passed off as old-fashioned detective work, but details aren’t given, making them seem much too convenient. But I liked the concept of the old-school detective. And as characters, Stone and Dehan worked, showing a mix of humor and begrudging admiration for each other. Overall, you’ll need to accept some deductive leaps that might clear the Grand Canyon, but otherwise, it’s a fast and enjoyable read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    I came across this book my accident. Literally, I accidentally opened it up in my iBooks and decided to give it a go. I was far from disappointed. What a book. We start our story with Detective John Stone, who’s basically getting demoted for being too old school by the captain. He’s paired with Detective Carmen Dehan, another fan favorite of the department, who’s “why are you so stupid?” attitude hasn’t made her many (okay, any) friends. As an excuse to get them both out of the way, they are ass I came across this book my accident. Literally, I accidentally opened it up in my iBooks and decided to give it a go. I was far from disappointed. What a book. We start our story with Detective John Stone, who’s basically getting demoted for being too old school by the captain. He’s paired with Detective Carmen Dehan, another fan favorite of the department, who’s “why are you so stupid?” attitude hasn’t made her many (okay, any) friends. As an excuse to get them both out of the way, they are assigned a bunch of unsolvable cold cases. This case in particular was a real doozy. Ten years ago, Nelson Hernandez, along with four of his nefarious friends, are blown to bits while playing poker. Nelson, who was unliked by literally EVERYONE wasn’t just shot, but beheaded and castrated as well (get it? An Ace and a Pair? GENIUS!) Now who did it? Was it the Jersey Mob? Chinese Triads? The Mexican Gangs? The corrupt Irish cop? Just when you think you’re getting close SURPRISE...another player has joined the game. I also want to add that the conclusion to this mystery wasn't blatantly obvious to start with. As you read, you’d get a feel as to what had happened, but with new information and suspects coming in, you’d start questioning who did what and why. I’ve read very few mysteries where I haven’t pegged the killer, knew his or her motive, and figured out exactly what happened in the first few chapters, so this was a fun, quick read for me. I’m happily anticipating the continuation of this series. Stone and Dehan are both smart, snarky, and perfectly matched. I have a feeling (or hope) that they will end up romantically involved at some point, but who knows? Bring on the next case!!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tommy McQuillan

    Terrific read An Ace and a Pair by Blake Banner is the first in a series of detective novels featuring John Stone and Carmen Deehan. The two detectives are wanted out of the precinct by their captain as she thinks Stone is a dinosaur and Deehan has a reputation of being a maverick and difficult to work with, so she puts them in charge of the Cold Case files. Can they work together or will they bring their police careers to a crashing halt? Their first case is to work out who killed a group of drug Terrific read An Ace and a Pair by Blake Banner is the first in a series of detective novels featuring John Stone and Carmen Deehan. The two detectives are wanted out of the precinct by their captain as she thinks Stone is a dinosaur and Deehan has a reputation of being a maverick and difficult to work with, so she puts them in charge of the Cold Case files. Can they work together or will they bring their police careers to a crashing halt? Their first case is to work out who killed a group of drug dealers led by a guy called Nelson at a card game without any of them having drawn their weapons in defence of themselves. Nelson's had body parts removed and left on the card table. There was also two young people who hadn't been seen since that night a young Jewish boy from a good family and girl of Latin-American descent. Was their disappearance connected to the murders or something more sinister. The main protagonist's for the murders and disappearance are the Mob, the Triads and two other gangs vying for the drugs and prostitution hierarchy in Brooklyn. Throw in a bent cop trying to make money for his retirement and you have the recipe for a really good story. I've read a few other books in the series but this helps to get the background of how two ragtag cops are thrown together. I really loved this book and the others in the series and I'd recommend them to anyone who likes police procedural thrillers. Stone and Deehan have

  27. 4 out of 5

    Carl

    "An Ace and A Pair" is a new detective/ mystery by Blake Banner, and for a new entry to a detective series. The plot was well crafted, and the characters were fairly well developed. The protagonist was from the "stone age," a "dinosaur" of an NYPD detective, John Stone, who the Captain does not seem to like. Regardless, Detective John Stone of the NYPD has one of the best arrest records in the 43rd precinct. But the Captain decides to get him out the way by assigning him to Cold Cases with Detec "An Ace and A Pair" is a new detective/ mystery by Blake Banner, and for a new entry to a detective series. The plot was well crafted, and the characters were fairly well developed. The protagonist was from the "stone age," a "dinosaur" of an NYPD detective, John Stone, who the Captain does not seem to like. Regardless, Detective John Stone of the NYPD has one of the best arrest records in the 43rd precinct. But the Captain decides to get him out the way by assigning him to Cold Cases with Detective Carmen Dehan who has such a bad attitude that nobody at the precinct can stomach her. Using some "old-school" police investigation, Stone and Dehan decide on a 10 year old cold case to be their first. From there the story spins in several directions. There is police corruption, mob involvement, several gangs -- from Chinese to Mexican -- and a good read. One weakness to "An Ace and A Pair" is that Stone’s "stone age" detective work at times gives us some unrealistic deductive leaps, but they still contribute to a good story. If you are strongly a logical thinker, then this book may not be for you; however, if you are willing to suspend a degree of reality for a while, then this is still a good story with likeable characters. I especially enjoyed how the chemistry between the two protagonists evolved. Give it a try!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Jr.

    This is a cracking good mystery, if just a tad convoluted. John Stone and his partner Carmen Dehan are a couple of misanthropes in the NYPD who are assigned by a vindictive captain to a cold case squad as a prelude to being shown the door. Stone and Dehan take the challenge and choose a grisly, ten year old gangland slaying as their first endeavor. What I liked The author masterfully spun theory after theory of the case via discussions by the partners as they ran down one false trail after anothe This is a cracking good mystery, if just a tad convoluted. John Stone and his partner Carmen Dehan are a couple of misanthropes in the NYPD who are assigned by a vindictive captain to a cold case squad as a prelude to being shown the door. Stone and Dehan take the challenge and choose a grisly, ten year old gangland slaying as their first endeavor. What I liked The author masterfully spun theory after theory of the case via discussions by the partners as they ran down one false trail after another, each time coming closer to the real solution. What could have been done better Some of the detectives' important deductions seemed to come from thin air, and there were some less than believable feats - tracking down a car that had been missing for ten years in the wilds of Texas comes to mind. Also, much of the book read more like a TV script than a novel, meaning there was lots of dialogue and a paucity of description, although when the author chose to describe the settings, he did a creditable job. However, these shortcomings did cause me to drop the rating by one star. I look forward to reading more books in the series.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Robb

    It took a long time for me to get into this novel. Stone and Dehan both get exiled to cold cases for various reasons. (In fact, I think the two of them are the entire cold case unit.) They find a case where a gang was shot while playing cards. Various theories surface: it was the mob, it was the triads, it was a dirty cop...eventually Stone and Dehan (but mostly Stone) figure out the truth. I don't know enough about cards to know if the reference about an ace and a pair is common knowledge. I'd n It took a long time for me to get into this novel. Stone and Dehan both get exiled to cold cases for various reasons. (In fact, I think the two of them are the entire cold case unit.) They find a case where a gang was shot while playing cards. Various theories surface: it was the mob, it was the triads, it was a dirty cop...eventually Stone and Dehan (but mostly Stone) figure out the truth. I don't know enough about cards to know if the reference about an ace and a pair is common knowledge. I'd never heard it or read it before if so. It took me a long time to get a handle on the characters--I'm still not sure I like them to the point that I'm rooting for them to succeed or at least not die. I thought there was no time limit on prosecuting for murder--yet in the end, the killer is left free. There were extenuating circumstances, and it is possible that a jury or judge might have decided it was self-defense. . .but Stone makes the call instead. I'm not sure that sits well with me--Stone is sworn to uphold the law and he doesn't in this case--and Dehan, who is also sworn to enforce the law, lets him.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    I bought this book based on all of the reviews I'd seen on Amazon and Goodreads. It looked like an easy buy, and it was as far as it went. It was a pretty quick read. Took me like four days (I'm a slow reader. Others will go faster). The plot flowed smoothly with a key antononist decided upon fairly early in the book, a few suspects to keep it interesting, and a protagonist to save (though the individual isn't completely known at the time). It had everything it needed, including false starts and I bought this book based on all of the reviews I'd seen on Amazon and Goodreads. It looked like an easy buy, and it was as far as it went. It was a pretty quick read. Took me like four days (I'm a slow reader. Others will go faster). The plot flowed smoothly with a key antononist decided upon fairly early in the book, a few suspects to keep it interesting, and a protagonist to save (though the individual isn't completely known at the time). It had everything it needed, including false starts and half-wins. I liked it as far as that went. One downfall, unfortunately, is that the main character seemed to know all along what was going on, which required him to make his partner feel like an idiot if she was wrong (she didn't always, but he was patronizing anyway, in a way that should have bothered her more if she was truly her character), and made the reader (me) feel that way too. I didn't like being jerked around. It's the only knock against the book, but it's a fairly big on in my opinion. Otherwise, good book. Not sure if I'm interested in the rest of the series, but it's a good story.

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