Mystery Books for Sale

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by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Little, Brown, June 2009
416 pages
ISBN: 0316018775

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Henri Benoit is a psychopath and a serial killer. The only difference between Benoit and other serial killers is that Henri gets paid for his "work." Henri's bosses belong to an international club he calls "The Peepers." These men and women take pleasure from viewing films Henri makes as he slaughters his victims.

Ex-cop Ben Hawkins knows nothing of this when, as a reporter for the L.A. Times, he's sent on assignment to Hawaii. A young model has disappeared during a swimsuit photo shoot. Ben's job is to get a better story than any of the other reporters currently flocking to the island. Ben does exactly that when he hooks up with the missing girl's parents. Levon and Barbara McDaniels are convinced their daughter was kidnapped. Because the police seem to be taking the situation less than seriously, they quickly accept Ben's offer of help.

Kim McDaniels decapitated body is eventually found, but only after her parents also go missing. Ben is horrified when two more young women are found murdered. He agrees with the police announcement that a serial killer is at work in Hawaii. What he doesn't know is that the killer psychopath Henri Benoit now has his sights fixed on Ben. When he returns to L.A., Ben finds Henri on his doorstep with a proposal he can't ignore. Ben must write Henri's biography and sell it to a publisher. If he refuses to do so, Henri will kill both Ben and his girlfriend Amanda.

Should Ben risk going to the police with what he knows, or should he write the book that will surely put him on the bestseller's list? Or, given a third choice, should he hunt down Benoit and kill him? The action ranges from L.A. to Paris and Amsterdam as Ben tries to end what has become a living nightmare for him and his lover.

Short chapters and constant action mark this bloody adventure based on voyeurism and the international flow of pornography via the Internet. The descriptions of decapitation and other forms of female exploitation are gruesomely explicit. Due to the graphic nature of the murders depicted in this book, SWIMSUIT is not recommended for any but the most hard-bitten crime fans. The back cover blurbs tell nothing of the true nature of the book and should not be believed by Patterson's fans. It's unknown how much of the book was penned by Patterson and how much was written by Paetro. The final chapters seem to occur in a blur with little satisfaction gained and no real justice achieved. The ending certainly lacks Patterson's usual wrap-up style, leaving the reader to wonder, "Is that all there is?" The book will sell on Patterson's name alone, but has little of the quality of his earlier works.

Reviewed by Mary V. Welk, June 2009

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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