Saturday, June 27, 2009

Swimsuit - James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Little, Brown and Company


Ben Hawkins, crime reporter for the LA Times, has stumbled into the story of his life. It was supposed to be a good way to take a Hawaiian vacation on the company tab. During a shot for a national magazine, swimsuit model Kim McDaniels disappeared without a trace. The case was mostly local until her parents got a middle-of-the-night phone call from an anonymous man, telling them that their daughter is in “bad hands.”

During their rush to Hawaii, the case exploded in the media. But no one had any more information than the night she vanished. And the McDaniels can’t get the cooperation of the local police, who post office hours and are apparently unavailable at any other time. Ben meets the McDaniels and uses his paper’s pull to put them in touch with the local cops and a private investigator. In the days that follow, the body of a young girl washes up on a beach, and Kim’s roommate and fellow model, Julia, disappears. Julia’s body is found, horribly murdered, in an exclusive resort. And there are still no witnesses. But the killer has noticed Ben; and he wants Ben to tell his story to the world.

The book is written “by” Ben Hawkins. The reader meets the killer, who calls himself Henri Benoit, very early in the story. We watch him commit several murders. So the identity of the killer and the question of Ben’s survival are never in doubt. Nothing else is a given, though. There were some twists that were very surprising, but made perfect sense in retrospect. The violence is fairly graphic, and the killer is the authors’ scariest creation since KISS THE GIRLS.

The book is written at the customary break-neck pace, utilizing short chapters to propel the reader forward in the narrative. Everything is rock-solid until the last few chapters, which feel incomplete and sketchy. Even with this flaw, this is the perfect summer beach book: thrills, chills, and almost impossible to put down.

Rating: 8 ½
June 2009
ISBN# 978-0-316-01877-7 (hardcover)


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