Swimsuit: It’s to Die For
by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Published by Little, Brown and Company, 2009
Margot’s rating: C+ / Jay’s rating: A-
Swimsuit is basically a story about two different men who don’t officially meet until halfway through the book.
First there is the story about Ben, an ex-cop turned writer. He’s had a few books published but none of them blockbusters. He’s now working as a crime reporter for the L.A. Times. His boss sends him to Hawaii to cover the story of a supermodel who’s missing from a swimsuit photo-shoot. There, Ben becomes involved in the lives of the model’s parents. Local police don’t take the case seriously and the parents ask Ben to help them find their daughter.
Swimsuit is also the story of Henri, the killer. Henri is a special kind of killer. From the first lines of the book, here’s what Ben has to say about Henri:
I know things I don’t want to know. A true psychopathic killer is nothing like your everyday garden-variety murderer.
That line at the beginning grabbed me. However, a third of the way through the book, I knew things about psychopathic killers I didn’t want to know either. This particular psychopathic killer didn’t kill for for revenge or because he was mad. He killed for money; he killed because he enjoyed it and, he was very good at it. He made a Hollywood style production out of his killings.
My husband and I both read this book. This is not a book for readers with light stomachs or tender sensibilities. That would be me. This IS a book for readers who like hard-hitting crime novels and don’t mind the graphic violence. That would be my husband. He and I talked about this book.
Margot: You and millions of other people really liked this book. It’s a bestseller. I don’t know why.
Jay: People like me are drawn to tales of violence, the graphic details of crime. It’s why I like to watch CSI. The complexity of murder like this is intriguing. It’s something I’m never going to be involved in nor do I want to know anyone who is. It’s enough for me to stand way back and observe; to try to know someone else’s mindset.
Margot: The descriptions of the death scenes were really creepy. They didn’t bother you?
Jay: Repeat after me: This is FICTION! It’s not real. It’s a story. Yes, it’s a very realistic story and is explicit in the details. There were times when I thought it was almost like a textbook. But for me, the authors didn’t go out of their way to make it ‘creepy’. It was just factual enough to make you see and feel the action. That’s good fiction.
Margot: It seemed so real to me that I thought James Patterson was actually telling us about his own personal experience. I thought he was the main character, Ben.
Jay: James Patterson (and Maxine Paetro) know how to write a good story. They made you believe that. Although it’s a fairly big book (391 pages), it was fast-moving at a quick pace.
Margot: I’ll agree with that. The chapters are short and I just kept reading. Even though I was creeped-out during parts of the book, it was compelling enough for me to keep going to the end.
Thanks to Miriam at Hachette Book Group for letting us read this book.
You can purchase Swimsuit at Amazon