Saturday, January 9, 2010

Review: Swimsuit by James Patterson

Title: Swimsuit
Author: James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Pages: 391
Challenges: Take Another Chance Challenge (#6 - Genre Switch-Up); Read 'n' Review Challenge

From Publishers Weekly:

A serial killer with an urge to break into print propels this thriller from bestseller Patterson and collaborator Paetro (4th of July). Ben Hawkins, a former L.A. cop turned reporter and author, travels to Hawaii to look into the disappearance of model Kim McDaniels, who has fallen victim to a sadistic fiend who calls himself Henri Benoit. Ben meets with Kim's distraught parents, but the investigation soon runs into dead ends, even as the body count rises. Back in Los Angeles, Henri gets in touch with Ben, and offers the story of his life and the reasons he continues with his murderous spree. As part of the deal, Henri asks the reporter to write his tell-all book. Ben can't refuse given the killer's threat to his life as well as his girlfriend's. In just one of many clever twists, Henri proves to be the consummate storyteller. Patterson fans will devour this one in a single sitting.

My Two Cents:

Since this book fulfills the "genre switch-up" portion of the TAC Challenge, I will just start out by saying I am not a fan of thrillers. Never have been and never will be.

I know James Patterson is a really popular author (If he weren't, he wouldn't come out with a novel every other month! But I digress...), and he can tell a good story, but there were some glaringly annoying things about this book. Mainly, I wasn't too fond of the way his main character, Ben Hawkins, wasn't particularly consistent.

Sure, people have their public personas, the ones we show when we're on-duty at work, but the thought process going on behind all that doesn't change that dramatically. Or, it shouldn't. Ben is all business while at work, and it shows in his narration -- Taught sentences, quick images. Then, when he talks about his girlfriend, Amanda, it's suddenly a big Ben puddle of love. His thoughts get sloppy and he fawns constantly. Yeah, you could chalk it up to the whole "crazy in love" thing, but it bugged me.

That being said, this was an engaging story. If I had been able to sit down and read it straight through, I think I could have pounded it out in a couple of hours. As it is, I finished it in less than a whole day. And the psychopathic killer, Henri Benoit, is very believable as a delusional killer. He really did creep me out.

I like Patterson's young adult series, Maximum Ride and Daniel X, and I went into this book hoping to see much of the same funny, snappy narration. I didn't really get that, and I was disappointed. But, I do have to give the man a lot of credit: He can tell a really compelling story.

Part of my prejudice against thrillers comes in that they are just so popular. They're full of action and suspense, so they make great movies. I prefer a little more cerebral work with my reading, thank you, so I have never thought twice about picking up a thriller. They fly off the shelves at my library, but I usually just smile and say I haven't read it when someone asks.

If you're a fan of thrillers, you'll love this. As for me, I think I'll stick to Patterson's young adult series and steer clear of anything with the thriller label from now on.

My rating: 5/10


Alyce said...

Thrillers are not my normal reading either, so I totally understand where you're coming from. I haven't read any of Patterson's thrillers. For me about once or twice a year I will be in the mood to read one, and then it's like junk food or candy for the mind. :)

bermudaonion said...

I haven't read this, but my husband did and he enjoyed it.

Michelle said...

I tried sooo hard to have an open mind about this one, but it was just so cliched I couldn't stand it!

Jenners said...

I do think thrillers are designed to do that: "thrill" you -- not make you think. It is hard to compare them to works of great literature. I just have a thing against James Patterson as a whole!

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