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A few starting notes:
Having previously read James Patterson books, and found his books entertaining if sometimes a little devoid of depth, and being a sucker for the excellent and always commendable Quick Reads series, I decided to pick this up in my last library haul.
It's Valentine's day. But something is wrong in the Barnes apartments - the block of flats shared by entrepreneur Jack Barnes and his extended family. An awful and gory crime has been committed...could it have been by one of their own?
The locked-room style aspects of the mystery at the heart of this book is always interesting - and for the most part Patterson does justice to the concept.
The other thing that really stands out about this book is the sense of secrets, hidden deep within a well-off family, bubbling beneath the surface until they spill forward. The interplay of the tension is well-used, and the view of rich families as somehow hiding sin and betrayal, though a well-trodden path, is also used to good effect.
Patterson's main appeal is his sheer readability - and there is no difference here. The chapters are short and draw you onwards through the tale, and the whole book is also short - this being the Quick Reads series - so it is handy for those in-between moments, and for the busy reader.
Not so great bits:
The ending feels a little rushed, as if we're sprinting at the finish, and I think it would've benefited from a little more detail at the end. The prose is sometimes clumsy and a little bewildering, though largely it remains clear and readable.
The characters too could have done with a little more development - the standout perhaps being Leila and Ted, who both stand out more than Zee, Jack, or any of the detectives.
This is a quick and entertaining mystery. Yes, it's a little rough around the edges in more than a few places, but it's still pretty readable, and you'll want to read to the end, if only to reach the final answer to the whodunit? question.
This review was previously published on my blog diaryofareadingaddict.blogspot.co.uk under the username Cee Arr
This is a disappointing short novel by the very popular thriller writer James Patterson. It's packaged as a Galaxy sponsored 'Quick Read' and can be worked through in a matter of hours. It would pass the time on a long journey although I personally could not recommend it due to the quality of the writing and story.
The story is based around a man called Jack who experiences a bereavement in his family. A person is murdered along with another victim who witnesses the killer fleeing the scene. The story is supposed to be set in London but the scene and characters are written as though they are American. I think the actual setting and British lifestyle has never been researched. A handful of cardboard cutout personality-less police officers attend the scene and set about trying to solve the case. There are a number of suspects including Jack's own sisters, brother and their partners as well as a host of characters who share the same living space as millionaire Jack.
I thought it was fairly obvious who the killer was within a couple of pages of being introduced to the whole cast of characters. There aren't any clever clues to lead us to this conclusion throughout the book. Instead we arrive at the unveiling of the killer by having a random confession. It feels like a really weak ending to an uninspired 'mystery'.
There is some gore in the book, if you like that sort of thing, although I felt the description of murder was rushed and cliched. It didn't make me feel afraid or sickened as all I could think about was the low quality of the writing.
I thought this might be a decent short novel that I could pass some time reading and I did manage to get to the end despite the fact that I think everything about the novel is terrible. It really surprises me that a writer of such fame could publish something this lousy. I would not recommend to anyone who enjoys the crime thriller genre.