Friday, June 22, 2018

Lifeguard by James Patterson ****

Funny story. My book club’s topic for July was summer/vacation/beach. Lifeguard by James Patterson seemed perfect on the face of it. However, Ned Kelly, “like the Australian outlaw”, purported to be a lifeguard, but the only evidence of this was a single scene on the beach. I might be a bit of a cynic, but I’m guessing James Patterson had a different book in mind when he wrote the outline, and writer Andrew Gross got sidetracked when he put the book together.

The story is about an art heist which is staged as a cover for something else, after which the contracted thieves are murdered. Ned Kelly, poor boy gone good, and Ellie Shurtleff, art major turned FBI, band together to solve the mystery and capture the bad guy. Bodies keep piling up and all is wrapped up in the end.

I have one complaint that I have also noticed elsewhere. I think that murders have traditionally been portrayed as people with strong motives that drive them to this ultimate crime, but recently the balance has gone to psychopaths that need little motivation for murder. In this book, the antagonist chooses murder as his first option. The motivation for murder can be a flimsy as a vague paranoid concern that the victim might be a problem. Such psychopathic characters are less interesting and engaging.

Regardless, this is a typical James Paterson book: 120 short chapters. Two sex scenes and four murders in the first four chapters. Lots of action and few surprises. James Patterson fans should not be disappointed.

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