Thursday, September 1, 2011

Kill Me If You Can by James Patterson

Kill Me If You CanKill Me If You Can
Little Brown, 384p, Isbn-0316097543

An assassin who calls himself the Ghost, shoots and kills a Russian mobster at Grand Central station in New York. In the resulting mayhem, Matthew Bannon, an impoverished ex-Marine turned art student, stumbles upon the dying mobster and soon walks away with a bag full of diamonds.

Prince, a bigwig in the Diamond Syndicate mob, wants his stolen diamonds back at all costs and the Ghost is re-hired, this time to kill Bannon and get back the diamonds. As a precaution, another expert killer is also set the same task. Who comes out on top and how makes for a somewhat entertaining, if highly predictable, read. Spoiler + Cautionary note to all readers - There are Incest scenes in this story!

Spoiler Alert!

One of the twists in this story involves incest (family members having sex). Too many details of that incestuous lovemaking are repeatedly provided. Frankly, it was enough to make me want to vomit. It added absolutely nothing to the plot. The villain's a very very bad man - I got that loud and clear even without him having sex with his daughter. I'm compelled to say that those particular pages could have been used for some better purpose, like say pick up dog poop or something worse. Those scenes were that stomach-turning.

This story has another (nothing to do with the yucky sex) clever twist in the plot which will not come as a surprise to mystery readers who make it a point to read between the lines. Or in this case, pay attention to what is not mentioned, which is a big giveaway to the pivotal twist. For others, it'll be a total "A-ha!" kind of moment. Unfortunately, once that a-ha is revealed, the suspense is quite gone.

This is not the only weak point of the plot. Re-reading revealed many others. I'd like to mention one of the plot details that was botched. The second killer on Bannon's quest phones one of the bad men, Chukov, about following Bannon to Venice. The killer specifically states she's on her way to the Charles de gaulle airport in Paris at that moment of making that call. And then literally a few minutes later, she's breaking down Bannon's door in Venice. I can't reveal more without giving away key plot points, but take it from me, that's how the timeline plays out. I went back and re-read that part again and again, but it's a fact that the killer reaches Bannon within 10-15 minutes of making that call. I don't think Paris and Venice are that close. Even a security check at an airport would take longer than that!

The high standard I had come to expect from James Patterson after reading his Alex Cross novels is simply not evident in this book and indeed, has not been in any of his recent releases.That's the sad part. The saddest part is that incest was used so much, and without purpose too, in this book.

My sincere recommendation - If you still want to read this book, get it for free from the library instead of paying around $15 for it (Amazon's price for the book at the time of this review).

Note - This book was received for review/feature consideration.
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