Large Print Edition
By James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Little, Brown and Company; 2009, 480 pages
Reviewed by Israel Drazin - October 27, 2009
James Pattterson – with 170 million very popular books sold worldwide - could probably be called a franchise author; while he writes most of his novels himself, he co-authors quite a few with other writers. Two of his most popular series are those featuring Alex Cross and the Women's Murder Club. Both sets of books are entertaining, easygoing reading and composed in the same general not thought-provoking popular style, although the Women's books are even more "mystery-lite" – in fact a person who normally reads about 40 pages an hour can finish eighty pages of these books in an hour and end the novels in less than four hours.
The title pages indicate that James Patterson writes the Alex Cross books alone but co-authors the most recent Women's Murder Club series with Maxine Paetro. He is apparently satisfied with Paetro's work because he now co-writes this book with her outside the Women's series.
The book is apparently not titled Swimsuit because it deals with aquatic or clothing matters, but as a sexual tantalizer. All of the women in the volume are stunningly beautiful and the villain is very handsome, and the women are brutalized in a graphic sadistic sexual manner. One can almost say that the book is four or five steps above the basement of pornography. Over 200 people wrote reviews of this novel on Amazon and over half disliked the book because of its "gruesome" details.
Others disliked it because of the "lite" writing – my term. The story is not gripping, but it generally keeps the readers' interest. It lags from time to time, especially when the volume's hero, Benjamin L. Hawkins - a reporter who was once a detective investigating the disappearance of a young girl – a lovely one, of course - is thinking about the case. It does not move slowly in the scenes depicting violence.
While enjoyment of the book does not require it, readers may want to speculate why the killer feels the need to murder his victims. Do the authors reveal the reason, or do they teasingly leave the twisted paranormal psychology to the readers' imagination? The ending of the book certainly shows that the authors want their readers to make up their own minds about what happens. And this is good; it is good to think about a story or, to paraphrase the great Argentinean writer Jorge Borges: co-write a tale with an author.
This book could serve as the introduction to a new Benjamin L. Hawkins series or the authors could have Hawkins join the four women in the Women's series and add some spiciness, zest and content to the women's and the readers' life.
Dr. Israel Drazin is the author of fifteen books, including a series of five volumes on the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible and a series of four books on the twelfth century philosopher Moses Maimonides, the latest being Maimonides: Reason Above All, published by Gefen Publishing House, www.israelbooks.com.